“There's been no change in U.S. policy on this issue,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said. “Mr. Snowden is charged with a felony and he should return home to face those charges, where he will be afforded all due process.”
Richard Ledgett, leading an NSA review of the Snowden episode, stoked chatter of possible amnesty for the former government contractor, telling CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he believed officials should consider offering Snowden a deal in exchange for his cooperation.
“My personal view is, yes, it’s worth having a conversation about,” Ledgett told the news program. “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.”
For months, Snowden has been living in Russia, watching from afar as U.S. officials deal with the fallout of the ex-government contractor’s disclosures about controversial NSA surveillance techniques.
The Justice Department would have to sign off on amnesty for Snowden, an unlikely development since he faces a trio of espionage charges in the United States.
And others with deep ties to the NSA scoffed at the suggestion of helping Snowden.
“I wouldn’t do it. That simply motivates future Snowdens,” Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency and CIA, said in a separate interview with NBC.
Last Friday, President Obama received a report from an outside group tasked with making recommendations about how to reform the NSA surveillance methods.
Obama will not make a decision on changes to the NSA programs until January, the administration announced last week.