He was the fugitive who went on a whirlwind tour across the globe, settling in Russia, albeit not by choice — but now Edward Snowden wants return to America. A Russian lawyer speaking on Snowden's behalf says that the ex-NSA contractor wants to go home, but just how likely is Snowden to get on a plane bound for his native country? His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said at a news conference Tuesday:
Edward Snowden is ready to return to the US, but on the condition that he will be given a guarantee on receiving a fair and impartial trial.
Kucherena said so far Snowden has not been guaranteed a fair trial, he has only received a guarantee from a U.S. attorney general that he will not face the death penalty if he returns back to the United States. And on that note, his lawyer states, the attorney general "cannot even influence court decisions according to law." If Snowden does want to return to his home country, it won't be too hard. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf responded on Tuesday:
We're certainly happy for him to return to the United States to face a court in the very serious charges. So he absolutely can and should return to the United States to face the justice system that will be fair in its judgment of him. But he is accused of very serious crimes and should return home to face them.
If Snowden chooses to return to the United States, he will very likely be tried for his crimes, but we now know Snowden has some conditions should that happen. Kucherena referred to the news that David Petraeus reached a plea deal with federal authorities for giving classified information to a woman with whom he was having an affair. Kucherena said:
Snowden would be amenable to coming back to the United States for the kind of plea bargain that Gen. Petraeus received.
There is a bit of a difference between publicly releasing classified data and sharing highly sensitive information with your lover. Let's be clear, neither is good. But Snowden's actions would probably come with much more than the maximum one-year prison sentence Petraeus could receive.
But as to whether Snowden is serious about a trial, questions remain. He said during an interview with Brian Williams:
[I wouldn't] give myself a parade. ... But neither am I going to walk into a jail cell — to serve as a bad example for other people in government who see something happening, some violation of the Constitution and think they need to say something about it.
The reality is that if Snowden went to trial he would likely face some form of a jail sentence. But given his past comments, we know that Snowden doesn't want to spend any time in a cell. Unless he receives a pardon or full clemency, we probably won't be seeing Ed on the streets of America anytime soon.
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