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Amnesty appears unlikely for Snowden

Amnesty appears unlikely for Snowden

The White House does not appear to be interested at this time in the possibility of an offer of amnesty for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, according to comments Monday from a National Security Council spokeswoman.

From The Hill:

The White House on Monday said there had been “no change in U.S. policy” toward Edward Snowden, after a top National Security Agency official suggested the administration have a “conversation” about offering the former NSA contractor amnesty in exchange for the return of a cache of top-secret documents he stole.

“Mr. Snowden is charged with a felony and he should return home to face those charges, where he will be afforded all due process,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

During an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday night, Richard Ledgett, who heads an NSA task force handling unauthorized disclosures, said officials should weigh offering amnesty to prevent further disclosures.

“My personal view is, yes, it’s worth having a conversation about,” Ledgett said. “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.”

(see also USA Today, White House: No amnesty for Snowden)

General Keith Alexander, the current director of the NSA, also doesn’t necessarily share the same view as Ledgett.  In the aforementioned 60 Minutes interview, Alexander said that people need to be held accountable for their actions.

Among those who think making a deal is a bad idea is Ledgett’s boss, Gen. Alexander.

Gen. Keith Alexander: 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?

John Miller: It’s a dilemma.

Gen. Keith Alexander: It is.

John Miller: Do you have a pick?

Gen. Keith Alexander: I do. I think people have to be held accountable for their actions.

Gen. Keith Alexander: Because what we don’t want is the next person to do the same thing, race off to Hong Kong and to Moscow with another set of data knowing they can strike the same deal.

The surveillance policies of the NSA have been the subject of criticism after documents were taken from the agency by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and some of the information revealed by several media outlets.

Earlier this month, The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger told a British parliamentary committee that the outlet had published only a very small percentage of the material it had received from Snowden.  The Guardian was one of the first to publish stories from the material, along with the Washington Post.

Edward Snowden currently remains in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum.

You can view video or read a transcript of the full segment from 60 Minutes about the NSA at CBS News.


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Remember Daniel Ellsberg was special, he is a liberal.

    SeanInLI in reply to OldNuc. | December 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    I believe it had more to do with Ellsberg betraying a Republican president, whereas Snowden dared embarrass jug-eared Jesus.

This will become an issue in the next presidential election, for both parties. Nobody much likes the NSA programs.

    OldNuc in reply to caseym54. | December 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    The more they learn about the government snooping and data collection the less they like about it. The Fed Government has already been caught lying like an Armenian rug dealer in regards to the NSA programs.

Given what has been disclosed the General is right, people do deserve to held accountable for what they have, and I fully support the General’s right to fair trial from a Jury of his peers.

O.K., so Alexander opposes giving Snowden amnesty in return for ensuring that the 99.5% of material Snowden has not yet made public does not become public because Alexander is worried that someone else might do the same thing Snowden has done and expect the same deal. What does that tell us about Alexander’s confidence in the integrity of his agency’s security system? Moreover, the NSA has no idea as to which materials Snowden downloaded and has hidden in various places because the NSA facility in Hawaii where Snowden “worked” did not have the means to track who did what with their data. To not give Snowden amnesty is beyond stupid!

Alexander said that people need to be held accountable for their actions

ROFLMAO – Alexander needs to CLARIFY that certain ‘actions’ require no accountability …. Fast and Furious, IRS targeting Tea Party applications, Benghazi, etc.

On the idea that one would give Snowden amnesty in exchange for his turning over all the documents that he stole: how would you ever know that he turned them all over? What if Mr. Greenwald (or others) decides that ‘certain’ documents are excluded from the deal?

Was it just me, but I seemed to notice that the White House issuing it’s statement of “no amnesty ” for Snowden came just after a federal judge ruled that that the NSA’s collection of phone metadata probably will be found unconstitutional, proving Snowden correct.

The one they need to be talking to/pursuing is Laura Potrias. Here’s why:
Snowden has said he doesn’t have anything of what he stole and no longer has access. Taking him at his word, let’s review the history.
Snowden first contacted Greg Greenwald in trying to publish the stolen data. GG brushed him off and didn’t respond to his emails, so Snowden contacted Laura Potrias. She contacted GG, not knowing that Snowden had already contacted him. GG then got interested and communications were set up between ES and GG. However, GG was not trained in security measures and so ES relied on LP for security, including securing the documents. GG also published an article in which he admitted to telling his ‘husband’ that he was sending him information but hi
GG and LP met with ES in Hong Kong. It was after this point that ES started saying he didn’t have access to the documents. It was also after this meeting that ES had the meeting between him and Hong Kong news agencies as well as a Chinese representative. Soon after ES fled to Russia, maintaining he didn’t have access to the documents and later basically promising to sit down and shut up in order to receive asylum for one year.
It was while he was in limbo that it was revealed he had a Lavabit account. Subsequently Lavabit shut down to prevent US government access to his (or Potrias’s) account.
Moving down the timeline, the Guardian UK lost it’s copies of any Snowden documents due to the UK making them destroy hard drives they were stored on. (Note that they didn’t ask GG for new copies. I’ll address that later.) The Guardian hired GG’s husband to be a document mule from LP in Berlin. He was stopped at the airport and everything confiscated by GHQH, the UK’s NSA, leaving the Guardian still without any copies of the stolen documents.
Along with the NYTimes, the Washington Post, Der Speigel and Brazil’s news paper of record (whose name escapes me at the moment) Glenn Greenwald appears to have limited and possibly temporary access to the documents (see Guardian UK needing new copies).
Around a month ago Lavabit opened up for a limited time to allow people to rescue their documents from their servers. Snowden is in Russia with a Russian handler (read Russian intelligence) so would not have downloaded anything to his personal computer. That leaves Laura Potrias as being the logical one to have complete possession of the documents and doling them out as she sees fit.

Typo/lost words in post.
From here “but hi” the sentence should read: but he said his laptop was stolen. Snowden and Potrias would have been pretty naive to entrust secret documents to GG or his husband at that point.

Haven’t been following this…Did Snowden ask for amnesty?

It seems a little strange to me that NSA is being put forth as the amnesty grantor. Do they have the legal authority to grant pardons???