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Government Crime Privacy United States

Eric Holder Says DoJ Could Strike Deal With Snowden; Current AG Takes Hard Line 194

cold fjord writes with the report at Yahoo that Former Attorney General Eric Holder said today that a "possibility exists" for the Justice Department to cut a deal with ... Edward Snowden that would allow him to return to the United States ... Holder said "we are in a different place as a result of the Snowden disclosures" and that "his actions spurred a necessary debate" that prompted President Obama and Congress to change policies ... "I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with. I think the possibility exists." A representative of current Attorney General Loretta Lynch, though, said that there has been no change in the government's position ("This is an ongoing case so I am not going to get into specific details but I can say our position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed."), Holder's musings aside. As the article points out, too, "any suggestion of leniency toward Snowden would likely run into strong political opposition in Congress as well as fierce resistance from hard-liners in the intelligence community."
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Eric Holder Says DoJ Could Strike Deal With Snowden; Current AG Takes Hard Line

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  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @10:29AM (#50062553) Journal
    Especially when the queen of asset forfeiture [forbes.com] is in charge. If I was Snowden, I wouldn't take any deal from this administration, because you can't trust them. No honor among thieves, as the saying goes.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Eric Holder does have some legitimacy in the "Too Big to Jail" arena, so the idea of not prosecuting isn't completely foreign to him .

      https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/06/eric-holder-returns-law-firm-lobbies-big-banks/

      • That involves people with lots of money, who also have a bunch of friends with lots of money.

        Snowden has neither, therefore he must face the death penalty.

    • if you base it on what had happened to others who had brought up wrongdoings of the government... odds are he wouldn't get a fair trial, and would be lucky to see life outside of prison if he were to come back.

    • Snowden would be crazy to ever return to the U.S. again. Any deal they offered would be rescinded or "modified" the second he was in U.S. custody.

      • Exactly. Even if Holder is earnest and really means to get Snowden home safely, he will either be up on some other charge by some other agency (state level? civil?) or a short time from now the administration changes or someone with enough pull gets around Holder's decision or otherwise influences him to change his mind.
        tl/dr; He can never come home.
      • I even wonder what the status of any deal would be over the course of an administration change. Let's say Obama and AG Lynch do a 180 and decide to grant Snowden a deal: Return to the US, sit in on some Oval office and congressional meetings regarding everything that took place, and no charges will be filed. For the sake of argument, let's say Snowden accepts the deal and returns to the US. Now, the 2016 elections take place and new President takes office. How bound would this new President (and his AG

        • Title 18, part V, chapter 601 of US code. If he had a real grant of immunity from the Attorney General, there's nothing a future AG could do about it.

          As the AC says, though, the better option is a presidential pardon. Those are magic. Can't do shit, and you don't need to be convicted, tried, indicted, charged, or even suspected to receive one.

          Now, that would only cover things he's already done. If I were Snowden, I would be very wary about ever living in the US again. Obviously get immunity or a pardon so y

          • What other nations information did he compromise?

            There is no way to guarantee they won't be able to charge him somewhere with something.

      • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @12:26PM (#50063487) Homepage Journal

        Darth Vader: I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further. ...

  • Oh, really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @10:33AM (#50062591)

    "his actions spurred a necessary debate" that prompted President Obama and Congress to change policies

    So, which policies did they actually change? And were any of the changes for the better?

    Frankly, I can't think of any off the top of my head....

    • Re:Oh, really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by digsbo ( 1292334 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @10:41AM (#50062669)
      I'm sure there are new policies in place that probably deal with people like Snowden extrajudicially.
    • Didn't they just recently have to alter their data collection policies, because Congress wasn't able to pass the law to extend the current practices? Yes, they're still collecting data, and you might not feel the changes are sufficient, but there have been changes in policy.

      My recollection is that now they're not allowed to collect all of our data and then get a warrant to officially use it. Instead, they have to get a warrant to gather the data from phone companies in the first place. Or something alon

  • People get into the "hero" vs. "traitor" camps, but actually he looks like a bit of both.
    Hero for revealing the illegal activities of the NSA and its stooges both inside and outside the USA.
    Traitor for (allegedly) revealing information about agents, assets etc. active in "hostile" countries.

    If he'd kept back the latter, he *might* have had a chance of bargaining his way back into the US, (if he wants to come; discuss).
    Unfortunately, it was probably a requirement of Putin giving him shelter in Russia, despit

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's funny how the "hero" part is backed by now undeniable evidence, while the evidence for the "traitor" part seems to be more hypothetical and imaginary?

  • Deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @10:40AM (#50062659)

    The only reasonable deal would be for the US government to drop all charges, award Edward Snowden the highest national honours and hire him as a consultant to help them gain useful intelligence without the immoral and illegal practices that were revealed. At the same time, everyone directly responsible for any of the fundamental breaches of human rights committed should be put to trial, as should everyone who had the power to stop it but did not.

    Anything less would be an insult to Edward Snowden and a huge missed opportunity for all victims of data theft by the American government, in the U.S. and elsewhere.

    • The only reasonable deal would be for the US government to drop all charges, award Edward Snowden the highest national honours and hire him as a consultant to help them gain useful intelligence without the immoral and illegal practices that were revealed. At the same time, everyone directly responsible for any of the fundamental breaches of human rights committed should be put to trial, as should everyone who had the power to stop it but did not.

      @@ . . . . yeah, that might happen . . .

      Anything less would be an insult to Edward Snowden ...

      Is he playing the part of the ever humble Julian Assange now?

  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @10:44AM (#50062713)

    Snowden might belong in a prison cell for some of the things he's done but that "hardline opposition" definitely deserves life in prison at minimum for what they've done.

  • I cared what he thought when he was able to effect anything. Now he's just another jerk on the street... like you or me or that guy over there picking his nose.

    So why do I give a flying fuck what he has to say now? Useless.

    • If you think that the people who hold office are the ones with the power, then I have a red and a blue pill for you to choose from.

      • If you think that the people who hold office are the ones with the power, then I have a red and a blue pill for you to choose from.

        And no matter which one you take, you wake up drugged and sore.

      • The president could pardon Snowden in a heartbeat if he wanted to. That the administration takes this tone is because they're told to by the head of it.

        • Exactly. Holder may be a smart, reasonable man but he is not able to act that way when in a position of "power". He may very well be more influential now in certain ways than he was while in office. We can't know how influential he was with Obama, but clearly we can see that he wasn't very influential as far as Snowden is concerned.

          • I just don't think his opinions are newsworthy anymore.

            • They are very newsworthy. Now we get to find out where he disagrees with the administration and how influential he really was. He clearly disagrees strongly with the President on this issue and this will put pressure on him. He did not wait long to "step out of line".

  • Those bastards need to be sent to prison.

    • After all the backstabbing and being thrown under the bus, who would want to be a member of that community?! You get fucked by all sides.

  • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @10:50AM (#50062769)

    like anyone is going to trust that deal....

  • Despite The Need (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @10:58AM (#50062839)
    Obviously we need intelligence agencies as part of our national defense. But our agencies have become too dangerous to allow them to continue to exist. Maybe it is time to shut down the CIA, NSA and FBI completely and start new agencies that are required to follow much stricter and very public oversight. Our laws have become so complex that often the motive for a law is hidden while some other need for the law gets it promoted into place. A simple example is when law enforcement becomes a tax collector instead of a law enforcement agency. In many places the police force simply exists to rake in fines for the town or county. Traffic laws should be about public safety and not about raising money. Another example : You get into a shouting match with your partner. The cops come and arrest one or both of you for the loud argument. The judge fines you and orders marriage counseling weekly for two years at the public clinic at $75. per week for you and another $75. per week for your wife. Then he also fines each of you $500. for the police being involved. So you have $1000 in fines as well as $150 a week times 104 weeks for the counseling which all flows back to the county's bank account. This type of thing is happening commonly in our legal system.
    • Maybe it is time to shut down the CIA, NSA and FBI completely and start new agencies that are required to follow much stricter and very public oversight.

      That sounds like a bad idea to me. Sort of like saying, "I feel like my operating system has become bloated, so let's build a new one from scratch." Sure it sounds great, and you might solve some of your problems, but you're going to have to re-solve a lot of the same old problems, and you'll also introduce more new problems.

      So you have $1000 in fines as well as $150 a week times 104 weeks for the counseling which all flows back to the county's bank account. This type of thing is happening commonly in our legal system.

      I agree that this is a huge problem.

    • Maybe it is time to shut down the CIA, NSA and FBI completely

      The president felt it was time in the early 60's; we can see how well that went.

  • by Cafe Alpha ( 891670 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @11:21AM (#50063029) Journal

    because of Snowden. They didn't stop collecting bulk data, they just changed the legal ownership of that data which has no effect on anyone's rights. It's all technical changes.

    Also, if I were Snowden I'd consider staying away no matter what he's offered. Corrupt Russian intelligence doesn't have the MOTIVE to off him that American leaders do.

    • They didn't stop collecting bulk data, they just changed the legal ownership of that data which has no effect on anyone's rights.

      The data is phone bills. I'm pretty sure the phone companies already owned them. The change is that the intelligence agencies won't get a copy of them but instead will have to go through a process to get them.

      • The real significance of that is that the NSA isn't allowed to data-mine without limit. I'm fine with having a formal process to get small numbers of records at a time.

  • by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @11:56AM (#50063267)

    "any suggestion of leniency toward Snowden would likely run into strong political opposition in Congress as well as fierce resistance from hard-liners in the intelligence community."

    Political opposition in Congress is relevant. Fierce resistance from the "intelligence community" is irrelevant; government employees may advise Congress and the president, but they have no business "resisting" political decisions.

    • That was my thought too. Its like when the police start pontificating, its like 'Dont you work for us, arent we supposed to be telling you what the deal is?'
    • 'but they have no business "resisting" political decisions'

      They do have means, motive, and opportunity.

  • by tchdab1 ( 164848 ) on Tuesday July 07, 2015 @12:00PM (#50063293) Homepage

    No matter the sincerity, or lack of it, from the "current administration" or any previous one, when negotiations are on-going with an entity that believes it holds all the cards (yet needs finds itself 'negotiating'), it will demand no concessions and maintain a hard line while implying that some kind of compromise is possible. Germany and Greece.

  • Why should he return? Let's even assume for the moment and for shits and giggles that the government would be honest for a change with its promises and even grant him full amnesty. Would you wanna come to a country where the media and even some of its officials spent the better part of the last decade telling every redneck that it would be a blessing for 'murrica if you were killed, preferably painfully? Where you can't even really rely on police and other legal forces to defend you if you were attacked by

  • fierce resistance from hard-liners in the intelligence community

    Meaning, a hateful violent response from people whose sense of power is threatened by the truth.

  • I'm wondering if he could make a case for time served in Russia as part of his prison sentence?

    I mean Russian Exile isn't prison, but it's no cake walk either I don't doubt.

    Perhaps a way to save face. Sit in Russia awhile, come back to the US, get "convicted" of something like the inappropriate use of government IT assets with the equivalent of a NDA...

  • Seriously, I wouldn't trust ANYTHING from Holden, this (or probably) any administration. Snowden publicly and undeniably exposed, humiliated and embarrassed (rightfully so) the US govt -- there's no way in h-ll this would end well for him.

  • The IC is comprised almost entirely of hard liners, and they hate Snowden. Vehemently. He's viewed as a traitor, like a family member airing dirty laundry in public. They will cite potential or actual damage as a rationale for why his actions were wrong, and they probably believe that, but it doesn't matter to them whether those are outweighed by the public's need to know. Indeed, they're paid not to think about the public's need to know at all. The real sin is that he broke ranks and made them look ba

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