NSA officials divided on Snowden amnesty

A top National Security Agency official said in an interview broadcast late Sunday that it was “worth having a conversation about” granting Edward Snowden amnesty in exchange for the return of all of the documents stolen by the former contractor.

“I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured and my bar for those assurances would be very high,” Rick Ledgett said on “60 Minutes.” “It would be more than just an assertion on his part.”


Ledgett, who’s in charge of the task force assessing damage from Snowden leaks, added that the opinion among other NSA officials regarding amnesty for Snowden was “not unanimous.”

Ledgett said that he would not dispute an estimate that Snowden took 1.7 million documents.

“He did something that we call scraping. Where he went out and just went, used tools to scrape information from websites, and put it into a place where he could download it,” Ledgett added.

“It's an exhaustive list of the requirements that have been levied against -- against the National Security Agency,” he said. “And what that gives is, what topics we're interested in, where our gaps are. But additional information about U.S. capabilities and U.S. gaps is provided as part of that.”

Ledgett said the documents, which he called the “keys to the kingdom,” could give foreign governments “a roadmap of what we know, what we don't know, and give them -- implicitly, a way to -- protect their information from the U.S. intelligence community's view.”

--This report was updated on Monday at 7:07 a.m.