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Ask Slashdot: What Does Edward Snowden Deserve? 822

Nerval's Lobster writes "U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made government whistleblower Edward Snowden a very peculiar offer last week: plead guilty, and the U.S. government would consider how to handle his criminal case. That seems an inverted way of doing things—in the United States, the discussions (if not the trial) usually come before the guilty plea—but Holder's statement hints yet again at the conundrum facing the government when it comes to Snowden, a former subcontractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) who leaked secrets about that group's intelligence operations to a number of newspapers, most notably The Guardian. It's unlikely that the U.S. government would ever consider giving full clemency to Snowden, but now it seems that various officials are willing to offer something other than locking him in a deep, dark cell and throwing away the key. If Snowden ever risked coming back to the United States (or if he was forced to return, thanks to the Russians kicking him out and no other country willing to give him asylum), and you were Holder and Obama, what sort of deal would you try to strike with everybody's favorite secrets-leaker?"
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Ask Slashdot: What Does Edward Snowden Deserve?

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  • by The123king ( 2395060 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:52PM (#46081553)
    but a pardon for his crimes, a pack of beers and a a badge that says "I stated the obvious"
    • by RailGunner ( 554645 ) * on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:59PM (#46081661) Journal
      More popular then you think. Mr. Snowden is a whistleblower who pointed out that the NSA was breaking the law.

      Full pardon.
      • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:12PM (#46081859) Homepage

        If they're offering deals then I think they're worried about what else he knows.

        Maybe he's saving the good stuff 'til last.

        • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:00PM (#46082563)

          Snowden has repeatedly stated that he gave everything he has to the journalists and he no longer has the material.
          The journalists (Greenwald, Guardian, etc.) are in control of the material and they decide what to release and when.
          So... I don't think he has any leverage to release or not release any information.

          • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:56PM (#46083361)

            "Snowden has repeatedly stated that he gave everything he has to the journalists and he no longer has the material."

            Unless I am mistaken, he has also repeatedly stated that he has many more documents he has been holding back "for insurance".

            It is possible I got mixed up, and he turned over that "insurance" in his last batch of revelations, but I thought not.

            • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @03:10PM (#46083555)

              I think you are confused on this point. He has made it clear numerous times that he does not have control of any of the documents. He has also explicitly stated that he is not holding back anything for "insurance" since that would be an invitation to others to kill him to reveal these documents.
              Hard to prove one way or another here so you just have to take his word on this (or not).

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:16PM (#46081921)

        See, I have mixed feelings about this. For the revelation about the domestic spying I would classify him as a whistleblower and say full pardon, but then he went and divulged a bunch of information on foreign spying programs which makes me feel like he should be classed as a criminal.

        Spying on allies is a thin excuse for outrage on the part of the average US citizen. Everyone does this, we know it, but you're not supposed to get caught. However by divulging this external spying (which I fully expect the NSA to do) I feel he's actually crossed the line from whistleblower to criminal.

        Like I said, mixed feelings. In the end, I don't think a full pardon is warranted, but I think most of the major charges, especially all charges related to revealing the wiretapping scheme, should be dismissed.

        Also, a pardon is not really applicable here, as he has not been convicted of any crimes. He is technically still innocent under the eyes of the law, though I'm sure the government doesn't care.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        + financial compensation for his loss.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by prefec2 ( 875483 )

      I support this. In addition he should get the next Peace price, as his doing weakened the US and made it less able to force things at the present. Maybe it will help that the US administration learns to talk and negotiate on equal terms which will make the world a safer place. Also there are other states, like the UK, Russia or China, who need to be humbled as well.

    • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:06PM (#46081797)

      Full Pardon, and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

      Anything less is a travesty.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:12PM (#46081863)

      He didn't just state the obvious, people have been stating the obvious for years, Snowden provided evidence.

    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:21PM (#46082019) Journal

      He deserves a ticker tape parade and to be listed among the great patriots who sacrificed personal safety and comfort in the name of liberty.

    • by Arker ( 91948 )

      If this was in any way about crimes, he would have been offered immunity to testify at all those trials that are resulting from his disclosures.

      Oh, wait, you say no one else has even been charged?


    • by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:31PM (#46082143)

      and a a badge that says "I stated the obvious"

      He didn't just state the obvious like many people before him did - he had the balls to gather evidence that the most powerful nation on the planet was spying on its own citizens, spying on allies, spying on international corporations, and outright abusing its power in dozens of previously unknown manners. The evidence is what separated him from every other person that attempted to blow the whistle on these activities before and the process of methodically gathering that evidence over a long period of time took balls of titanium. If he was smart, he would never attempt to step foot in the U.S. again because he made a ton of powerful people look really bad and I'm sure they can't wait to greet him.

    • Snowden's guilt (if you can call that) was to point out how NSA is guilty of violating the Constitution of the United States of America.

      And because NSA is part and parcel of the government of the United States of America, whatever crime that NSA has committed, the government of the United States must be the one liable.

      In other words, Snowden is a witness to a crime, and he opted to share the evidence of that crime to the world than to keep it a secret.

      If I were to use an analogy - Snowden witnessed and took

  • At the very least... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:52PM (#46081555)

    The Presidential Medal of Freedom [].

    Shoot, he deserves it 100x more than the FEMA directory to whom W. awarded it in response to Hurricane Katrina.

  • What kind of idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:52PM (#46081565)
    Would agree to terms before they even tell you what the terms are?

    And lets be fair, it isn't like the Obama Admin could be trusted to live up to the terms of the agreement anyway.
    • by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:01PM (#46081703) Journal

      "But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it – away from the fog of the controversy."
        - Nancy Pelosi

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:33PM (#46082179)
        I'm no fan of Nancy Pelosi but I believe she was referring to the fact that the House and Senate much each pass their versions of a bill before reconciliation and a final vote. If one body of congress has passed a bill and the other has not, it is true that you won't know what may be in the final bill. She's a life long politician and should've known better than to say something like that. I'm sure to her, the difference between bills and laws is evident but she should've known the general population wouldn't construe it that way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The kind of idiot who makes deals with Eric Holder. That guy is so shady and such an inept lawyer; this offer does not surprise me in the slightest. Even a freshly minted law school graduate would tell Snowden not to take this deal. Expect nothing to come of this except more embarrassment and proof of Holder's incompetence.

    • Oh no, no, they would completely live up to the promise of not prosecuting him for leaking the docs. However, his taxes would get audited every year, he'd be on the no-fly list, a UAV would circle his house 24/7. They'd get him on something, mark my words, because Snowden committed the one unforgivable crime in the US: he embarassed politicians.

    • Goes to show the lawyer mentality. All that matters is that Edward gets a guilty plea. He gets that and it shows that he was right. Another mark in the victory column. The reality is only a complete idiot would even consider the offer made for more than a moment. It's basically the equivalent of being held at gun point and telling the gunman, "If you give me your gun now, I'll consider not shooting you."
  • Pardon (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stargoat ( 658863 ) <> on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:53PM (#46081569) Journal

    A Presidential Pardon, issued at 11:58 am on January 20, 2017.

    Seriously, Snowden's a hell of a guy and did a real good thing - they even recognize this by their claims for the need to limit the actions of the NSA. But the administration cannot condone his actions. Hence, a last minute presidential pardon is the only politically viable option.

    • Hard to accept that deal if you're Snowden. "I promise I'll let you go once I have you in jail." hmm.
  • by jobsagoodun ( 669748 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:55PM (#46081593)

    Some nut-job will.

  • Assassination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:55PM (#46081601) Journal

    The alternative could be assassination, and I don't mean by the USA. There are many groups active in Russia who would kill Snowden simply to make the USA look bad (if he dies, regardless of the circumstances, most people will assume he was killed by the US). Returning to the US would alleviate living under that kind of fear (assuming he recognizes it).

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:56PM (#46081615) Homepage Journal
    At least not during this administration. Probably not during the next either, way too many entrenched political interests want to see him dead.

    I can just see the return now.
    Obama: Half of my cabinet wants to give you the Medal of Freedom, the other half wants you shot on the spot as a traitor. Maybe we should compromise and do both.
  • at this point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hypergreatthing ( 254983 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:57PM (#46081635)

    a plea deal is not different than jailing him indefinitely. Basically it's stating please treat me the same way as Bradly Manning, keep on doing all the evil/illegal things you are currently doing and please do not jail any of the real traitors.
    Whistle blowers are not committing crimes. They are just the messengers.

  • Full Pardon. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:59PM (#46081657) Homepage

    Full Pardon. Presidential Medal of Freedom. Full stop.

    (a) It's time to highlight the oft-neglected Presidential power of pardon and what it's meant to be used for. (b) The Obama White House contact webpage still claims that "President Obama is committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history." It's time put up or shut up on that BS. []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2014 @12:59PM (#46081667)

    Maybe Obama can give him his, since he's not using it.

  • by GlobalEcho ( 26240 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:01PM (#46081707)

    This guy cost the government untold fortunes -- not only in dollars but in goodwill. He poisoned relationships with the international community, undermined the confidence of the citizenry in our institutions and ignored the democratic process. He should be in jail, no question.

    Oh, whoops! I thought you were asking about Dick Cheney!

  • by ravenswood1000 ( 543817 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:02PM (#46081721)
    He deserves a full pardon, nobel prize, ignobal prize, several million dollars, some firm handshakes and "atta boys" and the job as CEO at Microsoft.
  • A fucking medal. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by therealkevinkretz ( 1585825 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:04PM (#46081743)

    that's what.

  • Presidency? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Celtic Ferret ( 1336711 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:04PM (#46081755)

    I wonder if Mr. Snowden, with an appropriate team of advisors, would have the skill required to lead the United States onto a moral path? I'm unaware of his management/administration qualifications, but he certainly has the high ground. The bug would certainly be in the "appropriate team of advisors" departments, and I'm afraid he'd end up like JFK.

  • Let us not forget... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jmd ( 14060 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:04PM (#46081761)

    The other whistleblowers. Manning, Assange, Jeremy Hammond..etc etc.

    Whether or not you like their methods these people are effectively doing the same thing. Uncovering and making known actions of the US (and other gov'ts) that are in direct conflict with humanity and the exisiting legal framework.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:06PM (#46081793) Journal
    Snowden uncovered crimes being committed on a daily basis against the citizens of the United States, and knowing that his own chain of command was just as guilty and would silence him (probably permanently) he took it upon himself to make these crimes known to the world, and did so at the ultimate personal risk: His life. Don't sit there and tell me that at some point, they considered sending someone after him to kill him. Regardless he's now an exile. If you ask me, he deserves a medal for what he did, but I'd be just as happy if they left the man alone.
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:07PM (#46081805) Journal
    It's always the same: "What does Edward Snowden deserve?". How about "what should we do about NSA's over reach?". Lost in this discussion seems to be any kind of seriousness about reigning in NSA. At least in the 70s when the CIA was caught engineering coups they had to have congressional oversight placed upon them.
  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:10PM (#46081837) Homepage Journal

    He deserves his right to speak freely without fear of government retribution.

    He deserves his right to a fair and speedy trial, by a jury of his peers.

    He deserves his right to face his accusers, the accusations they make, and the evidence being presented against him.

    He deserves his right (and duty) to out traitors to the American People, so they may be tried for their crimes as well.

    Unfortunately, the government authorized by the Constitution doesn't seem to agree with anything the aforementioned document says, so neither Snowden, nor the traitors, nor any of the rest of us will be getting what he/they/we deserve.

    So it goes, as Vonnegut would say.

  • Civil Vigilante (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SirLoper ( 827094 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:14PM (#46081897)
    He did the right things, but in the wrong way. No matter his intentions or the results, both of which are good, it doesn't change the fact that he broke the law. My opinion on this would be to acknowledge that he broke several laws, including espionage and other serious offenses, but keep his punishment light (as in non-existent) an call it "time served" for whatever incarceration/detention is needed to get his case in front of a judge that agrees to rule like this. We need to be careful not to praise the acts only because the results were good. Certainly the current whistle-blower laws need heavy reform; they can take that into consideration when handing down sentencing.
  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:21PM (#46082013) Journal
    Make him the President, then he can see how much it costs to put up with people of his ilk. On the flip side, we'll find out the truth about the Kennedy assassination, Roswell, and Area 51.
  • by Roskolnikov ( 68772 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:40PM (#46082267)

    pleading guilty might make a case for extradition stronger and the case for extended clemency weaker? a convicted felon versus a suspected felon might have different standing in regards to who would accept him.... IANAL but it sounds like the game of checkers has just been moved to chess.

  • If I were Obama? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Archon V2.0 ( 782634 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @01:52PM (#46082467)

    "If... you were Holder and Obama, what sort of deal would you try to strike with everybody's favorite secrets-leaker?"

    I'd offer him pardon on almost everything, leaving only a trivial (1-2 months) jail sentence left over. Then I'd have him murdered while he was in prison.

    The intelligence community is happy because I've sent a clear message of what happens to whistleblowers, and I can continue to play innocent and act pro-whistleblower as I have for ages, letting accusations of it being an assassination fade into conspiracy theory while most of my voting base continues to ignore the problem or is glad I got rid of another "terrorist lover". Seriously, what are the pro-privacy advocates going to do? Vote against me on this issue by voting for a Republican who wants to peek into their bedrooms to make sure there's no sinning going on? Ha!

    What? It's not what I personally want to see done, but then I'm not hypocritical, power-hungry, interest-beholden, and immoral enough to ever want to be President. If I were President, obviously that would not be the case.

  • by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:05PM (#46082627)

    Snowden has proved over and over that he is going to take the moral high ground no matter what. Give him the US Presidency and allow the corruption to be completely exposed and made vulnerable. This country is being run by criminals - and 'business as usual' is looking more and more like fascism every day.

    Pardon Snowden.. give him a medal.. and then get behind him and ask him to run for President.

  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bmajik ( 96670 ) <> on Monday January 27, 2014 @02:41PM (#46083135) Homepage Journal

    ok, if the US government had _any_ credibility that they weren't just going to off this guy the second they could...and there was ANY credibility in the courts..

    heres what SHOULD happen

    He should get charged with whatever crimes he is alleged to have committed.

    In the course of his trial, he should name all of the official channels he tried to use to "whistleblow" the "right" way. His superior? His superioer-superior?

    Each person he names should charges brought against them, and subsequently be put on trial.

    Snowden should have a full trial, and the people he implicates in that trial should all be followed up on for prosecution.

    The methods he used to do what he did should be revealed in court and handed back to appropriate govt agencies, who should improve their internal security.

    The people and practices that prevented him from whistleblowing in the "right" way should be removed from service.

    Ultimately, snowden will probably be convicted of something or other via this trial. And then immediately after the conviction, he should be pardoned by the president, owing to the fact that the greater good he did for the American people by exposing the systematic law breaking by its own government greatly exceeds any legal wrong he might have done.

    He should have his voting/firearm rights restored in the event that the charges against him were felony charges; the net result is that not felony should appear on his record.

    None of this will happen because our government is shit.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun