WASHINGTON Jan 26 Edward Snowden would be
willing to enter talks with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to
negotiate his return to the United States but not without a
guarantee of amnesty, his legal adviser said on Sunday.
Jesselyn Radack said she was glad Holder indicated last week
he would talk to lawyers for the former U.S. spy agency
contractor to negotiate his return from Moscow, but that Snowden
would need better protection.
"It's a little disheartening that he (Holder) seemed to take
clemency and amnesty off the table, which are two of the
negotiating points," said Radack, who was interviewed via
satellite from Moscow by NBC's "Meet the Press".
"But again, none of us have been contacted yet about
restarting negotiations," the legal adviser said.
Holder said in an interview on MSNBC on Thursday the United
States would not consider the idea of amnesty for Snowden "where
we say, no harm, no foul".
Radack, who is the director of national security and human
rights at the Government Accountability Project - a
whistleblowers' organization - said Snowden has already suffered
because his U.S. passport revoked has been revoked.
"He has been punished quite a bit already and while we are
glad to dialogue and negotiate, he is not going to come back and
face an espionage prosecution," she said.
Snowden himself on Thursday discussed what conditions would
be necessary if he were to return to the United States on a
website called "Free Snowden".
"Returning to the U.S., I think, is the best resolution for
the government, the public, and myself, but it's unfortunately
not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection
laws, which through a failure in law did not cover national
security contractors like myself," Snowden wrote.
Michael Chertoff, former secretary of homeland security
under President George W. Bush, who appeared after Radack on
"Meet the Press," said Snowden could get a fair trial if he
returns to the country but was unlikely to be granted amnesty.
"If he decides he wants to tell the U.S. government
everything he stole he may be able to bargain for some kind of
reduced sentence," he said, adding Snowden was potentially
facing a life sentence, or 25-30 years in jail.
Chertoff added that the government has "done deals in the
past with spies" - comparing Snowden to Robert Hanssen, a former
FBI agent who spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services
from 1979 to 2001.
Radack said allegations Snowden was a spy were
unsubstantiated and the result of a smear campaign by the
"Mr. Snowden publicly chatted with the U.S. this week to
deny being a spy but if people don't want to take my word for it
or Mr. Snowden's word for it, you can ask the FBI, which decided
and still believes he acted alone," she said.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Jim Loney and