NSA Debates Granting Snowden Amnesty if He Keeps His Mouth Shut
December 16, 2013 1:17 PM
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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.
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Doesn't make any sense
12/17/2013 3:58:28 PM
First of all the NSA doesn't have anything to do with an amnesty offer. That's a DOJ issue.
It's also clear that Snowden has already turned over large amounts of documents to the press and that the press is now dictating when they are released. There's really not much benefit in demanding Snowden keep his mouth closed at this point.
It seems that Snowden wasn't an analyst and didn't have first hand access to most of these programs and databases anyway. He got other people with access to documents to give him their passwords so he could steal documentation, but he doesn't seem to have much inside insight into the programs themselves despite some of his early claims.
What he had were documents, and he has already passed those on. He really doesn't have anything to bargain with anymore. At the same time there's not any urgency to silence him.
Some of what he released demonstrated how the government is getting out of hand even if they are operating within the law. Some seemed to just be released out of spite to make the US government look bad. He did a lot of damage to the credibility of the US and lessened the pressure on the Chinese and others who have much more aggressive programs.
The problem with him being a whistle blower is that he didn't keep his leaks narrow and focused. There's also the problem that most if not all of what he revealed doesn't appear to be illegal. You don't generally get immunity from prosecution for revealing legal classified programs. Our government can't simply let each individual decide it's OK to expose classified programs they don't like, and especially with such a large number of documents about programs being leaked.
I don't think the government can offer him immunity.
RE: Doesn't make any sense
12/19/2013 12:47:14 PM
[quote]Some of what he released demonstrated how the government is getting out of hand even if they are operating within the law. Some seemed to just be released out of spite to make the US government look bad. He did a lot of damage to the credibility of the US and lessened the pressure on the Chinese and others who have much more aggressive programs.
The problem with him being a whistle blower is that he didn't keep his leaks narrow and focused. There's also the problem that most if not all of what he revealed doesn't appear to be illegal. You don't generally get immunity from prosecution for revealing legal classified programs. Our government can't simply let each individual decide it's OK to expose classified programs they don't like, and especially with such a large number of documents about programs being leaked.[/quote]
That's a bit of a jump, you sound like you have first hand knowledge of Snowden has got his hands on and will or will not release.
RE: Doesn't make any sense
12/19/2013 7:38:38 PM
I'm surprised that the US government doesn't just make it really illegal for any media source to discuss any classified information it may be given. Sure other countries media could release it but if US media couldn't talk about it I'm betting most Americans would never hear about it.
It would violate necessary freedom of the press but the way the US is going I can see them trying this.
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