July 07, 2015

Will Edward Snowden ever return to the U.S.? It’s a “possibility”, says Eric Holder

Rebel Staff
 

Former Attorney General Eric Holder has said the “possibility exists” for the U.S. Justice Department and Edward Snowden to cut a deal allowing the whistleblower to return to the United States. 

During an interview with Yahoo News, Holder was asked if the Justice Department might be open to a plea bargain that would allow the former NSA contractor to return to the country of his birth from his self-imposed exile in Moscow.

Holder, who recently returned to the Washington-based law firm Covington and Burling, where he was a partner from 2001 to 2009, said: “I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with. I think the possibility exists.”

Having left the Obama administration in April this year, Holder also revealed his personal view that Snowden’s revelations “spurred a necessary debate” that prompted lawmakers to change policies regarding the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records.

“We are in a different place as a result of the Snowden disclosure,” Holder said.

According to investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, Holder had previously told MSNBC viewers in a January 2014 interview that the U.S. would be willing to “engage in conversation” with Snowden and his legal representatives provided he was prepared to face the charges of espionage and theft of government property brought to him in 2013.

But, as Isikoff suggests, Holder’s remarks go beyond what any current or former Obama administration official has said so far, implying that Snowden’s disclosures had a positive impact.

Praising Holder’s comments, Snowden’s lawyer, Ben Wizner, told Yahoo: “This is significant […] I don’t think we’ve seen this kind of respect from anybody at a Cabinet level before.”

Countering the contention that the Obama administration is softening its position, a spokeswoman for Holder’s successor, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, told Yahoo News the current regime has not altered its stance.

“This is an ongoing case so I am not going to get into specific details but I can say our position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed,” Melanie Newman said in an email to Yahoo News.

Snowden, 31, has been in Russia since 2013, having fled to Moscow from Hong Kong following his leaking of classified documents to journalists, and is currently waiting on asylum decisions from 21 different countries. His lawyers have previously told reporters that he has expressed his wish to return home.

As quoted by Russian state media outlet TASS in March, his Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said: “Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial […] He is thinking about it. He has a desire to return and we are doing everything we can to make it happen.”

Comments
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commented 2015-08-25 12:49:59 -0400
Snowdon is a hero. In revealing the colossal scale of the U.S. government’s eavesdropping on Americans and other people around the world, he has performed a great public service that more than outweighs any breach of trust he may have committed. Like Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who released the Pentagon Papers, and Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear technician who revealed the existence of Israel’s weapons program, before him, Snowden has brought to light important information that deserved to be in the public domain, while doing no lasting harm to the national security of his country.The powers that be: like Ellsberg, Vanunu, and Bradley Manning before him, uncovered questionable activities that those in power would rather have kept secret. That’s the valuable role that whistle-blowers play in a free society, and it’s one that, in each individual case, should be weighed against the breach of trust they commit, and the potential harm their revelations can cause. In some instances, conceivably, the interests of the state should prevail. Here, though, the scales are clearly tipped in Snowden’s favor. http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/why-edward-snowden-is-a-hero
commented 2015-07-08 07:04:37 -0400
Glen,
“Exposing people to peril”… Is that not what the CIA and the American Government do every day with their underhanded, antagonistic covert schemes and pursuits?

The CIA motto inscribed on its corner, stone “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”, is a verse from scripture that I definitely agree with and aspire to. The CIA’s aberration of that “truth” I can do without. Secretiveness is conducive to slavery.
commented 2015-07-08 01:03:22 -0400
I remember ………
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_whistleblowers

What I hold against Snowden is exposing people to peril of their lives…..but if we are ever to hold ourselves to a high standard for the performance evasion of history….Then God love the whistle blower…..“ye l snow the truth and the truth shall make you free”…..is embedded in tile in the front vestibule of the CIA headquarters.

Something I honestly miss on the internet was the ruling that because taxpayers paid for the intelligence gathered by the CIA….it should be publicly available…..The CIA website ten years ago was a wealth of information….now they got stingy with that information again
commented 2015-07-07 21:37:16 -0400
Ken, I am sad to say, I agree with you, at least to a point. There is growing corruption in bureaucracy and government, not just in the US but also in Canada, and, I suspect, throughout Western democracies.

I agree with Liza that Snowdon would be stupid to think he can return to the US and avoid prosecution and conviction. He made the choice he did. It was stupid. He needs to live with it and maybe, over the next 50 years or so, things will change enough for him to return home and live freely in society. In the meantime, he should accept amnesty in whatever country will take him and set his mind to pursuing a writing career. Marry a local girl, make a family, and get on with things, wiser.

In democracies, we elect governments to represent our interests, not to screw us with deceit and coercion. Whistleblowers are pariahs in our society. If someone decides to go public with secrets of corruption or, like Snowdon, with secrets the government simply did not want its citizens or the world to know for a variety of reasons, not all of which were legitimate, s/he has to be ready and willing to pay the price of integrity which, admittedly, is extremely high. Ex-patriation, in Snowdon’s case.

Still, I applaud whistleblowers and hope we grow in numbers, strength and influence. Because the greatest threat to western democracy, freedom, human rights and rule of law is not terrorism but internal corruption, rot from within. We have sleepers in all our communities ready to exploit every hint of rot they detect. And they’ve done a good job so far so that we are heavily infiltrated. It’s a mess. We need more whistleblowers, even if sometimes it inconveniences our leaders.
commented 2015-07-07 21:16:27 -0400
We need more Edward Snowden’s in order to expose the growing level of fascism within bureaucracy and government.

For those who make light of or sneers at the idea of a conspiracy, should consider this Fast Track bill, (known as the Trade Promotion Authority or TPA) that was recently passed by the US senate on June 24. The bill gives the President of the US free reign to negotiate and finalize free trade deals in complete secrecy.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/06/senate-passes-fast-track-we-can-still-prevent-tpp-train-wreck
commented 2015-07-07 19:35:56 -0400
It is only right that he faces the charges, "of espionage and theft of government property brought to him in 2013. " But where is Treason? Does anybody think giving Russia et al, classified info didn’t and doesn’t put people and the whole country in danger? He is stupid and naive if he returns. It is 50/50 at best that he could stay out of jail given the system. I suppose if he is thinking of returning he had better do it before a Republican gets in. As far as I am concerned he should be charged with treason , go to jail and never get out.