White House: No amnesty for Snowden

The White House on Monday tamped down on suggestions the administration could offer Edward Snowden amnesty.

There has been talk that the former contractor for the National Security Agency could get amnesty in exchange for returning documents outlining the government’s top-secret surveillance programs.

But White House spokesman Jay Carney said at his press briefing that the administration’s position on Snowden’s need to return home to face justice had not changed “at all.”

“Mr. Snowden has been accused of leaking classified information and he faces felony charges here in the United States,” Carney said.

{mosads}”He should be returned to the United States as soon as possible, where he will be accorded full due process and protections in our system. So that’s our position and it has not changed.”

Richard Ledgett, who heads an NSA task force handling unauthorized disclosures, suggested in a “60 Minutes” interview the government should consider such a deal.

“My personal view is, yes, it’s worth having a conversation about,” Ledgett said in the interview that aired on Sunday. “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.”

Ledgett is expected to take over as deputy director of the spy agency in January, following the retirement of John “Chris” Inglis. He was previously director of the NSA’s Threat Operations Center and director for collection/national intelligence manager for cyber at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

But Carney said Ledgett was merely expressing “his personal opinion.”

“These decisions are made by the Department of Justice, and I would refer you there for more,” Carney said. “But there’s been no change in our position.”

Separately, Carney said the White House had received an outside review commissioned by the president examining the NSA’s surveillance program against privacy considerations. The report includes more than 40 recommendations in light of the Snowden disclosures, which the administration is now evaluating.

“I think the president has made clear that in the reviews that he has asked for, that we are looking at the entire system of intelligence gathering and evaluating it through the lens of whether we are doing everything that we can and should in order to protect Americans and protect the United States and our allies, or are we doing — more than that, are we doing things just because we can, because we have the tools and capabilities to do that. So that process remains underway,” Carney said. 

Tags Edward Snowden Jay Carney
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