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Snowden won't return to US without amnesty - legal adviser

26 January 2014, 22:23

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 US 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Project - a whistleblowers' organization - said Snowden has already suffered because his U.S. passport revoked has been revoked.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 theUnited States on a website called 'Free Snowden'.

'Returning to the US, 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 US 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 toRobert 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 government.

'Mr. Snowden publicly chatted with the US 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.

First interview while in Russia: Snowden talks to German NDR - reports

Former employee of US special services Edward Snowden, who revealed thousands of secret documents, has given his first interview since coming to Russia, the website of the German TV company NDR says.

The site says that Snowden, in strict secrecy, talked with journalist Hubert Seipel.

During the interview, Snowden particularly, said that the US National Security Agency also engages in industrial espionage. If there is information about, for example, the Siemens company, which is not linked with issues of national security, NSA would also use it, Snowden said.

Edward Snowden also said that at present, he has no confidential documents on his hands. He has already handed everythinhg he posessed over to journalists.

The full version of Snowden's interview will be broadcasted by the NDR TV channel on Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

In July 2013, Edward Snowden gave several secret materials concerning the NSA's secret surveillance activities to reportets from The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers. The NSA claims that up to 20,000 secret documents may have come into journalists' hands.

After handing over the papers, he flew to Hong Kong. From July 23, 2013, Snowden stayed in the transit zone at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport until August when the Russian government granted him temporary asylum for one year.

Voice of Russia, RIA Novosti, Reuters

Source: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_01_26 /Snowden-wont-return-to-US- without-amnesty-legal-adviser-4112/

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