Attorney General Eric Holder would reportedly consider a deal with spy secrets-leaker Edward Snowden – but said clemency for the ex-National Security Agency contractor is out of the question.
The White House wants Snowden brought back to the United States from Russia, where he’s obtained a year’s asylum,
to stand trial for leaking details of government surveillance programs, but President Obama told the New Yorker magazine he didn’t have “a yes/no answer on clemency for Edward Snowden,” according to the Washington Post.
Still, the attorney general told MSNBC Thursday that the idea "where we say, no harm, no foul" would be going too far, adding at his University of Virginia speech: “We've always indicated that the notion of clemency isn't something that we were willing to consider.
"Instead, were he coming back to the United States to enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers,” NBC News
Holder also rejected labeling Snowden as a whistleblower, insisting: "I prefer the term defendant. That's the most apt title,” NBC News reported.
Meanwhile, a federal privacy review declared Thursday the NSA’s mass data collection program is illegal and should be ended – though White House press secretary Jay Carney said the White House disagreed with the finding, Fox News
Also Thursday, Snowden, charged by the Justice Department with theft of government secrets, took part in an online question-and-answer session
sponsored by advocacy groups funding his defense.
He didn’t immediately talk about the review board's report – or Holder’s remarks – but said the United States would weather the NSA scandal, the New York Daily News
"We can correct the laws, restrain the overreach of agencies, and hold the senior officials responsible for abusive programs to account," Snowden wrote, according to the newspaper.
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