Edward Snowden US return: Government hints at possible plea bargain to see fugitive NSA contractor come back from Russia
But the whistleblower says he cannot go home when there’s ‘no chance to have a fair trial’
The US has hinted that a plea bargain could to struck to see the fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden return from Russia.
The Attorney General Eric Holder said he would be willing to “engage in conversation” with the agency whistleblower, whose revelations showed the extent to which the National Security Agency was collecting data spying on its own people.
Speaking from Virginia in an interview with MSNBC, Mr Holder admitted that the government would not consider offering the man he called the “defendant” a full amnesty.
Granting clemency “were we say no harm, no foul… would be going too far”, he said.
But Mr Holder added: “If Mr Snowden wanted to come back to the US, enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers. We'd do that with any defendant who wanted to enter a plea of guilty.“
The interview coincided with an online question-and-answer session given by Mr Snowden, in which he hit out once more at the “indiscriminate mass surveillance” carried out by governments, and condemned the alleged threats to his life made by unnamed US intelligence officials in the media.
Mr Snowden, living in temporary asylum in Russia after stealing and disclosing US government secrets on surveillance programs and other activities, faces criminal charges in the US after fleeing last year first to Hong Kong and then Moscow.
In his online session, Mr Snowden was asked to explain the conditions he needed to return to the US.
“Returning to the US, I think, is the best resolution for the government, the public, and myself, but it's unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws, which through a failure in law did not cover national security contractors like myself,” Mr Snowden wrote.
He said the law under which he was charged “was never intended to be used against people working in the public interest and forbids a public interest defence”. He added that as things stand “there's no chance to have a fair trial, and no way I can come home and make my case to a jury”.
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 3 How much sex should I be having?
- 4 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, reveals new look on Vanity Fair cover
Russian military jets and US destroyer clash in Black Sea 'posing danger to stability'
Ed Miliband returns to the backbenches but it's all a bit awkward as he tries to avoid eye-contact with fellow Labour MPs
Photographer who performed naked shoot in China's Forbidden City sparks outrage
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£25000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a leading supplier of bu...
£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative, fast growing f...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking for a Jun...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...