NSA Debates Granting Snowden Amnesty if He Keeps His Mouth Shut
December 16, 2013 1:17 PM
It is believed that Snowden had access to about 1.7 million files and only 1 percent have been published
The U.S. National Security Agency (
) is reportedly considering granting Edward Snowden an amnesty deal. However, the NSA's director isn't onboard, saying too much damage has already been done.
, Richard Ledgett -- head of the NSA taskforce looking into the Snowden leaks -- said he would be open to granting Snowden amnesty as long as the now-famous NSA leaker stops revealing the agency's secrets.
"I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high, would be more than just an assertion on his part," said Ledgett.
This would be great news for Snowden, who began leaking details on top secret NSA surveillance programs to the media earlier this year. Snowden is a former NSA contractor who gained access to the surveillance program documents and downloaded them illegally.
Despite Ledgett's views, NSA Director Gen Keith Alexander made it clear that he does not agree with the possibility of an amnesty deal.
"This is analogous to a hostage taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10, and then say, 'if you give me full amnesty, I'll let the other 40 go'. What do you do?" said Alexander.
For it's part, the White House has maintained that there should be no amnesty provided for Snowden. "Mr. Snowden is accused of leaking classified information and faces felony charges here in the United States," said Security Council spokesman Caitlin Hayden
. "He should be returned to the U.S. as soon as possible, where he will be accorded full due process and protections."
It is believed that Snowden had access to about 1.7 million files, and only about 1 percent of those files have been published by the media. Recognizing that a lot more could roll down the pipeline, Ledgett is likely trying to prevent further catastrophe for the NSA.
So far, the U.S. has charged Snowden with theft of government property and unauthorized communication of national defense information as well as willful communication of classified communications intelligence. Each of these charges comes with a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
Last week, it was reported that a a presidential review panel is working on
that aim to change how the NSA collects and accesses Americans' data such as phone records. They were to be turned in to the White House yesterday.
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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