Edward Snowden could be granted amnesty to return to the United States, the NSA official who is in charge of assessing the damage of the whistleblower's leaks, has hinted.
Richard Ledgett, told CBS News that an amnesty, in his “personal view" is "worth having a conversation about.”
“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,” he continued.
Snowden has been granted asylum, for 12 months, in Russia. He is subject to criminal charges in the US, of theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and “wilful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person”.
The Guardian reported that it would have to be approved Justice Department, which did not respond to a request for comment from the newspaper.
And the NSA's director, General Keith Alexander, told the same programme that, in his view, an amnesty would be a green light to potential whistleblowers. "This is analogous 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," he said.
Snowden has revealed in previous interviews that the intelligence documents he leaked are no longer in his possession, but in the hands of his trusted journalist partners Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, and that he did not take any intelligence material with him when he flew from Hong Kong to Russia.