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Should the US offer amnesty for Edward Snowden to stem the leaks?

Edward Snowden, seen during a video interview with <em>The Guardian</em>.
Edward Snowden, seen during a video interview with The Guardian.
Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras /EPA/LANDOV

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Richard Ledgett, who runs a U.S. National Security Agency task force responding to information leaks, told 60 Minutes in an interview that he believes that the National Security Agency should consider whether it makes sense to offer former contractor Edward Snowden amnesty in exchange for the return of the vast amount of secret data he downloaded.

"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."

Ledgett went on to say that others at the NSA share a similar view. However, the agency’s director Gen. Keith Alexander rebuked the suggestion, likening a possible pardon to "a hostage taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10 and then say 'You give me full amnesty and I'll let the other 40 go.'"

Snowden is currently living in Russia under temporary asylum.


Robert Turner, Law Professor and Associate Director of the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia.

Marc Thiessen, Fellow, American Enterprise Institute and former speechwriter for then President George W. Bush and then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld