DEVELOPING: U.S. May Grant Edward Snowden Amnesty
If Edward Snowden turns over the remaining documents he has, should the U.S. grant him amnesty?
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That is the current question that the NSA is debating internally at the moment.
Many reports suggest that Snowden has a lot more information to leak.
Regardless of how you feel about Snowden, the information he has is very interesting. What do you all think.
National Security Agency officials are considering a controversial amnesty that would return Edward Snowden to the United States, in exchange for the extensive document trove the whistleblower took from the agency.
An amnesty, which does not have the support of the State Department, would represent a surprising denouement to an international drama that has lasted half a year. It is particularly unexpected from a surveillance agency that has spent months insisting that Snowden’s disclosures have caused vast damage to US national security.
The NSA official in charge of assessing the alleged damage caused by Snowden’s leaks, Richard Ledgett, told CBS News an amnesty still remains controversial within the agency, which has spent the past six months defending itself against a global outcry and legislative and executive proposals to restrain its broad surveillance activities.
“My personal view is, yes, it’s worth having a conversation about,” Ledgett, who is under consideration to become the agency’s top civilian, said in an interview slated to air Sunday evening on 60 Minutes. “I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high. It would be more than just an assertion on his part.”
Snowden is in Russia, having been granted a year-long asylum that has sparked international intrigue. In June, the Justice Department filed a criminal complaint charging the 30-year old former contractor with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and “wilful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person”, although he has not yet been indicted.
Any amnesty would have to come through the Justice Department, which did not respond to a request for comment.
The NSA’s director, General Keith Alexander, told CBS that granting Snowden amnesty would reward the leaks and potentially incentivize future ones. But Alexander is retiring in the spring, joining his civilian deputy John C Inglis, and Ledgett is rumored to be a top candidate to replace Inglis.