December 16th, 2013
10:40 AM ET
9 months ago

NSA official: Snowden amnesty 'worth having a conversation about'

Washington (CNN) - The top NSA official tasked with assessing the damage from Edward Snowden's leaks says he would consider amnesty for the former contractor in exchange for a halt to the flow of top secret information about U.S. spying.

Snowden, currently in Moscow evading a U.S. warrant for his arrest on espionage charges, leaked information on widespread data collection that's spurred outcry and forced President Barack Obama to review the spy agency's powers.

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Filed under: Edward Snowden • NSA
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    The conversation should be very short, and consist of one word: no.

    December 16, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. tcaud

    This could only mean something very serious is about to be released...

    December 16, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. Woman In California

    Great. Let's not let this "little thing" prevent snowden from coming back and being a hero and when others follow in his footsteps, do me a favor and save the faux outrage.

    December 16, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Try this on for size: You broke the law and are going to go to jail for it!

    December 16, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    What Snowden revealed, needed to be known. He did the right thing, as far as I am concerned. Our government cannot be allowed to do just anything they want, in spying on our citizens, including political spying, on citizens, like any dictator would do, with impunity. This country has a history of freedom........and infringing on those freedoms, in dangerous and reckless ways.......as has been the case with Obama, is simply unacceptable.

    December 16, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ The Real Tom Paine

    Co-sign.

    December 16, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. Sniffit

    No dice. You can't put the turds back in the dog.

    December 16, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rick McDaniel

    What Snowden revealed, needed to be known. He did the right thing, as far as I am concerned. Our government cannot be allowed to do just anything they want, in spying on our citizens, including political spying, on citizens, like any dictator would do, with impunity. This country has a history of freedom........and infringing on those freedoms, in dangerous and reckless ways.......as has been the case with Obama, is simply unacceptable.
    *************
    So, that is unacceptable, but seceeding from the union a la 1861 is acceptable. Still blaming Lincoln for that one?

    December 16, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. Tampa Tim

    I think Snowden and the GOP can find their new home in Russia to their liking.

    December 16, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    What Snowden revealed, needed to be known. He did the right thing, as far as I am concerned. Our government cannot be allowed to do just anything they want, in spying on our citizens, including political spying, on citizens, like any dictator would do, with impunity. This country has a history of freedom........and infringing on those freedoms, in dangerous and reckless ways.......as has been the case with Obama, is simply unacceptable.
    ____________________________________
    I rarely agree with you, but here I do and to just some extent. First, "spying' is a somewhat loaded term. The GOP would have us believe that our very phone conversations and e-mail are being recorded and read- and that isn't the case- and what really is happening is likely no worse than what the telecommunications industry does with the data themselves. Our connections are in fact available for retention (prior to deletion by phone/Internet companies) and study. One must assume that this connection data sans content is generally useful in fighting terrorism- just as the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA law mandated. That warrants need to be employed to go deeper to the actual phone conversation/e-mail content is a no-brainer, and that there needs to be greater oversite, and civilian participation a certainty. The FISA courts have issued 100% of the requested supoenas, meaning virtually no full assessment.
    That you ascribe all that you do above to the President is simply childish and curlish. I think that what motivates so many on the Right to lie about specific NSA actions is the hope to cripple the agency prompting another attack- with which you (all) will whine about the President causing. Another "no-win" situation for our duly elected President.

    December 16, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Sniffit

    "including political spying"

    Which, of course, is the only thing that has your dander up....the tinfoil hatted conspiracy theory that it was being used against conservatives, the GOP, the Teatrolls, etc., despite there being absolutely ZERO evidence to support the accusation. This is, of course, why you no doubt had no problem with it when Bush/Cheney started the entire program and started collection all these billions of pieces of data in the first place...and why you told the rest of us "yer either with us or agin' us" and "don't you realize we're in a war here?" when we criticized it back then. The reality is, the only thing the GOP/Teatrolls are concerned about here is that the program is under the control of someone that's not them. They had no problems whatsoever when potential abuses would have worked in their favor.

    December 16, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. mickey 1313

    If yout are part of the government, and know it is breaking the law, it is there duity to expose it. Just like a soulder who folloed orders they know to be unjust, they are to blame. You people who think that the government has a right to treat its people the way America has treated its people since 911, you are flat out wrong.

    December 16, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. rs

    As for Mr. Snowden- that he is in Russia, and managed to pretty much steal everything in the NSA databases means that ship has sailed. We're not getting that data back. At the very least China and Russia already have it, and quite likely the rest of the world will soon in any event.
    What Mr. Snowden's actions ought to cause is the swift and abrupt end of using so-called "private contractors" in military, security or intelligence functions of the federal government. The background checks are simply insufficient and there is little recourse the government can take when it goes bad. This "Halliburtonization" of government (for profit, naturally) is a failure. It is time to close shop on these functions and give them back to the agencies who can best run and police their operations. Naturally, this means Congress will have to step away from some of their campaign contributors and lobbyists, and they'll actually have to fund these agancies to appropriate levels.
    As for Mr. Snowden, I wonder if he has ever heard of the Rosenbergs?

    December 16, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. mickey 1313

    Sorry about typos, this new phone keybord sucks.

    December 16, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    mickey 1313

    If yout are part of the government, and know it is breaking the law, it is there duity to expose it. Just like a soulder who folloed orders they know to be unjust, they are to blame. You people who think that the government has a right to treat its people the way America has treated its people since 911, you are flat out wrong.
    --------------------–
    There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Unlike your soldier who followed orders, Snowden enlisted for the express purpose of conducting a fishing expedition into U.S. intelligence gathering, both at home and abroad, for the express purpose of exposing as much as he could collect.

    Do not forget, he's exposed intelligence gathering techniques on overseas allies and enemies, too. Too many libertarians loose site of that fact. Snowden decided for himself to be judge, jury, and prosecutor, which is why I regard him a traitor.

    December 16, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Thomas

    @Rick McDaniel
    What Snowden revealed, needed to be known. He did the right thing, as far as I am concerned. Our government cannot be allowed to do just anything they want, in spying on our citizens, including political spying, on citizens, like any dictator would do, with impunity. This country has a history of freedom........and infringing on those freedoms, in dangerous and reckless ways.......as has been the case with Obama, is simply unacceptable.

    ========

    What about GW Bush who started the ball rolling ?

    Your hate for Obama , blinds you to the reality of history , bad info in , bad info out .

    December 16, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    Ummmmm, nah, don't think so.

    Besides, the dude isn't stupid enough... the authorities would renege the minute he stepped on any US land or that of an ally with extradition agreements.

    December 16, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Obamacare = Democrats = EPIC FAIL

    Obama administration is negotiating with terrorists, why not Snowden? He would have to agree to never leave the country and never have contact with foreign governments. They have to stopp the bleeding somehow. He might just have them over a barrel. If he has the jewels to the kingdom, they need to do whatever they can to make sure he doesn't sell them to our enemies.

    December 16, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. Tampa Tim

    To the brain dead baggers, Snowden is a hero. Remember the wingnuts cheering when Brazil got the 2016 Olympics? See how unhappy they are that we haven't started a new war with Iran? They think international diplomacy means shoe ducking and giving world leaders back rubs. There is something anti American about the GOP.

    December 16, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |