NYT: Snowden hired Washington defense attorney last summer

posted at 10:41 am on April 29, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Not just any defense attorney either, but one of the most high-profile defenders of those charged under the Espionage Act. Edward Snowden spent his summer on the run, fleeing to Hong Kong and then to Russia, but he also spent some serious cash on Plato Cacheris, hoping to arrange a deal for his return. Nearly a year later, that hasn’t panned out, the New York Times reports:

Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who provided journalists a trove of classified documents, retained a well-known Washington defense lawyer last summer in hopes of reaching a plea deal with federal prosecutors that would allow him to return to the United States and spare him significant prison time.

The lawyer, according to people familiar with the investigation, is Plato Cacheris, who has represented defendants in some of the highest-profile cases involving Espionage Act charges, including the convicted spies Aldrich Ames andRobert Hanssen and the convicted leaker Lawrence Franklin.

But nearly a year after Mr. Cacheris became involved, no agreement appears imminent, and government officials said the negotiations remained at an early stage.

The officials and others who discussed the case and Mr. Cacheris’s involvement in it spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the talks.

Doug Mataconis says that both sides could gain from a deal:

For Snowden, of course, there’s the obvious advantage of ending nearly a year of living as an international fugitive, most of which has been spent in Russia, where things can’t be entirely pleasant at this point. For the government, there’s the potential advantage of being able to determine exactly what Snowden absconded with, and how he did it. Perhaps even more importantly, avoiding a trial in the Snowden matter would alleviate the potential that prosecutors would have to make a choice between aggressively prosecuting their case and potentially revealing national security secrets.

Yes, but the benefits for prosecutors and the government decline over time and with continued exposure from Snowden’s cache. Of course, there may be more that they’d like to keep quiet, but how can prosecutors know that Snowden hasn’t shared it with others already? They could cut a deal and still have it leak out. Presumably Snowden was smart enough to structure the data so that he could make a deal eventually, but the government may never be able to verify that they’ve plugged the leak. In that case, they may be better off using Snowden as a cautionary tale as to what happens to those who abscond with national-security secrets, in terms of deterrence anyway.

This does put a little different twist on the narrative, although hardly a surprising one. Snowden got a lot of criticism for fleeing the US for Russia and China rather than stay in the US and make a deal with prosecutors. It appears now that Snowden tried working both tracks at the same time, or perhaps one shortly after the other. That makes good sense for Snowden, but the impasse suggests that either he wants too much for his return, or the government wants to prosecute him too much for a deal to get struck.

The question now will be whether recent events in Russia will further incentivize both sides to cut a deal. Snowden’s position as speaker-of-truth-to-power looks more absurd the longer he stays in Putin’s Russia, especially when he acts as a straight man for Putin himself. The US may be more keen to retrieve Snowden and his cache with Putin’s aggression so clearly on display now, too. That may be why Cacheris declined to talk to the media about his relationship with Snowden — to avoid risk of upsetting an applecart or two.


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Hope he never returns…

OmahaConservative on April 29, 2014 at 10:43 AM

That may be why Cacheris declined to talk to the media about his relationship with Snowden — to avoid risk of upsetting an applecart or two.

Or the fact that Cacheris can’t really represent someone who is actually a person who has committed treason so publicly?

upinak on April 29, 2014 at 10:47 AM

but how can prosecutors know that Snowden hasn’t shared it with others already?

Isn’t that what he said he did? He gave over the entire archive to reporters and no longer has direct control? Maybe I’m remembering that wrong.

Fenris on April 29, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Hope he never returns…

OmahaConservative on April 29, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Yup, god forbid you are ever told anything uncomfortable, like you are being spied on illegally, better to just surrender all of your constitutional right to the government, because, hey, that has never ever turned out bad.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 10:49 AM

For Snowden, of course, there’s the obvious advantage of ending nearly a year of living as an international fugitive, most of which has been spent in Russia, where things can’t be entirely pleasant at this point.

The heart bleeds.

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 10:49 AM

I wonder if NSA found that out!!

canopfor on April 29, 2014 at 10:49 AM

I can’t make up my mind about this guy. He didn’t give up any assets, like Bradley did. He exposed a patently un-Constitutional government activity. He had the right intentions.

Then again, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Seeking refuge in Russia was a big mistake a true patriot should never make. Not continuing to make his case to the American people, about the abuses of the American citizens rights, is also a mistake.

In the end, I think this guy bit off more than he could chew.

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Putin will never let him go. They’ll find some excuse for keeping him, broke some laws, stole something from them… whatever. He’s going to have a LONG stay there, whether he likes it or not.

Walter L. Newton on April 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

I can’t make up my mind about this guy. He didn’t give up any assets, like Bradley did. He exposed a patently un-Constitutional government activity. He had the right intentions.

Then again, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Seeking refuge in Russia was a big mistake a true patriot should never make. Not continuing to make his case to the American people, about the abuses of the American citizens rights, is also a mistake.

In the end, I think this guy bit off more than he could chew.

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 10:50 AM

How do we know that?

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Hope he never returns…

OmahaConservative on April 29, 2014 at 10:43 AM

OC: Its starting up again:)

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/severe-weather-outbreak-in-central-us-expected-april-26-27-2014/

canopfor on April 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Then again, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Seeking refuge in Russia was a big mistake a true patriot should never make. Not continuing to make his case to the American people, about the abuses of the American citizens rights, is also a mistake.

In the end, I think this guy bit off more than he could chew.

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Hmmm, Obama uses drones to kill American Citizen that he designates as terrorists, think about that for a couple of seconds, then tell me Snowden was stupid or foolish to flee to Russia.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

The grass is not greener it seems.

weedisgood on April 29, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Killary:

Defense
Hillary Clinton: Edward Snowden’s Leaks Helped Terrorists
She is “puzzled” and found it “odd” that Snowden fled the country.
April 25, 2014
**************

http://www.nationaljournal.com/defense/hillary-clinton-edward-snowden-s-leaks-helped-terrorists-20140425

canopfor on April 29, 2014 at 10:55 AM

How do we know that?

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Didn’t Snowden mention via email that he had a terabyte of information on him?

captjoe must not realize that was an asset? hmm

upinak on April 29, 2014 at 10:55 AM

…I still haven’t made up my mind about him…despite all the discussion we have had here… in the past.

KOOLAID2 on April 29, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Why doesn’t Snowden just come home and face the consequences of his actions. I’m mean he’s a hero, right? Aldrich Ames and Robert Hannssen were not whistleblowers! What’s he have to fear from the American justice system when he was simply acting in the best interests of us all?

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 11:01 AM

He didn’t give up any assets, like Bradley did. He exposed a patently un-Constitutional government activity. He had the right intentions.

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 10:50 AM

What the hell are you talking about? The Guardian and WaPo didn’t print classified material they got off the internet. Snowden provided full information to the world on NSA’s methods and capabilities and the funding mechanisms behind them. If those are not assets, I don’t know what you would call them.

And, BTW, I’d hold my judgement on the traitors intentions if I were you.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 11:06 AM

What’s he have to fear from the American justice system when he was simply acting in the best interests of us all?

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Are you forgetting about Obama’s drones?

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:11 AM

then tell me Snowden was stupid or foolish to flee to Russia.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Snowden has shared everything he stole with both China and Russia. And contrary to what Ed speculates above, I bet NSA knows exactly what he stole. What they want to know is exactly what level of exposure that information received.

Snowden stole the keys to the kingdom. American lives could well be lost in the future because of Snowden’s actions. If I were President, the CIA would be working out an operation to “extradite” Snowden from his Russian captors. He’d have the distinction of being the only non-Muslim prisoner in Gitmo or some other undisclosed location.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 11:13 AM

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Snowden has shared everything he stole with both China and Russia. And contrary to what Ed speculates above, I bet NSA knows exactly what he stole. What they want to know is exactly what level of exposure that information received.

Snowden stole the keys to the kingdom. American lives could well be lost in the future because of Snowden’s actions. If I were President, the CIA would be working out an operation to “extradite” Snowden from his Russian captors. He’d have the distinction of being the only non-Muslim prisoner in Gitmo or some other undisclosed location.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 11:13 AM

So, you love talking sh!t, because you don’t actually know any of what you assert, and you love being a slave, spied on illegally by your government. Nice to see the fiction of your being a conservative finally blown all to he11. Honestly, you are no different than libsfree, just the opposite side of the political isle.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:18 AM

what I find funny is how many people are saying they knew nothing about these programs before and snowden told them stuff they didn’t know about.
many people have been saying the nsa did this stuff yet were ignored.
so snowden is a hero for telling us stuff we already knew….

dmacleo on April 29, 2014 at 11:19 AM

What? Putin’s not good company?

Rot, traitor.

Philly on April 29, 2014 at 11:20 AM

So, you love talking sh!t, because you don’t actually know any of what you assert, and you love being a slave, spied on illegally by your government. Nice to see the fiction of your being a conservative finally blown all to he11. Honestly, you are no different than libsfree, just the opposite side of the political isle.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:18 AM

I don’t like being spied on and I’m not certain of the best way for that to come to light while not harming our spying of other countries. But Snowden’s way wasn’t the right way.

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

So, you love talking sh!t, because you don’t actually know any of what you assert, and you love being a slave, spied on illegally by your government. Nice to see the fiction of your being a conservative finally blown all to he11. Honestly, you are no different than libsfree, just the opposite side of the political isle.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Interesting. So you say that anyone who believes that Snowden isn’t innocent, is a push over and knee jerking?

I am sorry, this is pretty serious. No matter what people speculate, the NSA I am sure knows what is going on, it isn’t like copying over data doesn’t leave some markers, no matter how good a computer genius you are.

And just remember, we as the public put the people in who made the NSA what it is… because of security. At the time, it was I don’t want another terrorist attack (9/11)… now everyone so quickly forgets, and thinks the NSA is overboard. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

upinak on April 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

So, you love talking sh!t, because you don’t actually know any of what you assert, and you love being a slave, spied on illegally by your government. Nice to see the fiction of your being a conservative finally blown all to he11. Honestly, you are no different than libsfree, just the opposite side of the political isle.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Ah! You’re of the opinon that Snowden is a national hero who deserves a statue in the US Capitol and the highest medals that world governments can offer. I have a word for you people. Idiots.

You’d think that if all that you blather out is so irrefutably true you’d want the filthy bastard back on American soil so that NSA’s actions would be exposed in his trial for stealing classified information and handing it over to third-parties.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 11:26 AM

What? Putin’s not good company?

Rot, traitor.

Philly on April 29, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Let’s not forget that Snowden’s treason isn’t over with. Remember when he was trying to negotiate with Venezuela (or some South American nation) for asylum in exchange for “helping” them to find out what the US had on them?

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM

And just remember, we as the public put the people in who made the NSA what it is… because of security. At the time, it was I don’t want another terrorist attack (9/11)… now everyone so quickly forgets, and thinks the NSA is overboard. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

upinak on April 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM

They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM

They already did; it is called the majority of the U.S.

I guess you don’t see it that way. I feel sorry for you.

upinak on April 29, 2014 at 11:33 AM

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM

They already did; it is called the majority of the U.S.

I guess you don’t see it that way. I feel sorry for you.

upinak on April 29, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Be a good little slave and run along. Your master is calling you.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Be a good little slave and run along. Your master is calling you.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:36 AM

It’s called being real. I am not delusional by calling Snowden a traitor, for working with confidential information in a facility that we as voters, elected people in to make people feel safer. Maybe you should open your eyes. Admit the fact you got pwnd in this thread and a few others.

Have a nice day.

upinak on April 29, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Be a good little slave and run along. Your master is calling you.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:36 AM

It’s called being real. I am not delusional by calling Snowden a traitor, for working with confidential information in a facility that we as voters, elected people in to make people feel safer. Maybe you should open your eyes. Admit the fact you got pwnd in this thread and a few others.

Have a nice day.

upinak on April 29, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Be a good little slave and run along. Your master is calling you.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Be a good little slave and run along. Your master is calling you.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:36 AM

You know, for all your bluster, what exactly has changed since Snowden turned traitor? Has the NSA been shuttered? Was Alexander fired? Was Clapper held in contempt for lying to Congress? Has the metadata collections on Americans stopped?

Bottom line- were this the Revolutionary War you’d be guy cheering Benedict Arnold. Calling him a hero when he betrayed the nation because of personal ambition.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 11:49 AM

The question now will be whether recent events in Russia will further incentivize both sides to cut a deal. Snowden’s position as speaker-of-truth-to-power looks more absurd the longer he stays in Putin’s Russia, especially when he acts as a straight man for Putin himself. The US may be more keen to retrieve Snowden and his cache with Putin’s aggression so clearly on display now, too.

Putin obviously realizes that Snowden is a goldmine of intelligence information, and would probably hold him as a hostage and demand a hefty price for his return to the US. With the US already in a weak bargaining position against Russia regarding Ukraine, what would the US have to offer Putin to get Snowden back?

At one time, Snowden may have thought he was a hero as a whistle-blower, but since he was stupid enough to sell out to the Russians, he could end up in the Gulag after he runs out of information useful to Putin. Let the Russians give him what he deserves.

Steve Z on April 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

With all due respect:

Let it go.

corona79 on April 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Hope he never returns…

OmahaConservative on April 29, 2014 at 10:43 AM

I wouldn’t if I were him. It isn’t safe.

crankyoldlady on April 29, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Snowden, even if he were as guilty as some here think, is only a distraction from the NSA’s misbehavior. Let’s not chase the squirrel.

PersonFromPorlock on April 29, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Snowden, even if he were as guilty as some here think, is only a distraction from the NSA’s misbehavior. Let’s not chase the squirrel.

PersonFromPorlock on April 29, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Lotsa luck launching a debate of the NSA’s behavior.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 12:45 PM

You know, for all your bluster, what exactly has changed since Snowden turned traitor? Has the NSA been shuttered? Was Alexander fired? Was Clapper held in contempt for lying to Congress? Has the metadata collections on Americans stopped?

And what exactly would have happened if he hadn’t turned “traitor” against a government that has turned traitor against its own people? Would the acronym NSA even register in the public consciousness?

There was a great USA Today video interview a while back with several former NSA employees who had previously attempted to draw public attention to NSA snooping, by going through the “right” channels. All to no avail … until the “traitor” Snowden decided to make an international spectacle of himself.

Who knows what he intended or intends. If his intentions were honorable, he’s done all he could. If his intentions were dishonorable, he’s still done us a favor. It’s now up to us citizens.

We have not yet begun to fight!

John Paul Jones on April 29, 2014 at 1:07 PM

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 10:50 AM

I’m reserving my opinion as well. Some instinct says he gave up a lot to the Russians for them to give him refuge. That isn’t just whistleblowing territory. People were too quick to jump on the hero bandwagon with Manning, and he was a whiny, petulant narcissist who didn’t do it for anything but to get back his superiors. People died..not sure yet what Snowden has given up or what that info has led to. I won’t condemn him, but I am not lionizing him either.

melle1228 on April 29, 2014 at 1:07 PM

0b00ba hired one too…

Akzed on April 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Let him rot in Russia.

GarandFan on April 29, 2014 at 1:29 PM

How do we know that?

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM

The leftist media would have screamed bloody murder if he did. It didn’t take but days for the human damage of Bradley’s treason to be revealed. Snowden’s leaks have always been characterized as methods and capabilities, systems, and remotely gathered information.

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 1:36 PM

captjoe must not realize that was an asset? hmm

upinak on April 29, 2014 at 10:55 AM

An “asset” in espionage is a human being, a spy or informant. Data is referred to as… data.

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Why doesn’t Snowden just come home and face the consequences of his actions.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Good question. I am sure he feels he will get a fair trial from Holders DOJ.

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 1:40 PM

What the hell are you talking about? The Guardian and WaPo didn’t print classified material they got off the internet. Snowden provided full information to the world on NSA’s methods and capabilities and the funding mechanisms behind them. If those are not assets, I don’t know what you would call them.

And, BTW, I’d hold my judgement on the traitors intentions if I were you.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 11:06

See definition above. If your so damn smart about this topic, I would expect you to at least be familiar with the lingo.

Save your vitrolic sarcasm for the trolls. BTW, my judgement of his intentions is drawn from listening to his several interviews, where he tries to explain his actions. If you don’t agree, then please point out in his interviews where you get your assumptions.

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Snowden has shared everything he stole with both China and Russia.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2014 at 11:13 AM

How do you know that?

You don’t. Your talking out your ass.

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 1:47 PM

An “asset” in espionage is a human being, a spy or informant. Data is referred to as… data.

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 1:38 PM

And espionage, who give data over to the wrong people.. create Treason.

If you want to play this game I can come back and just keep playing. I personally don’t care if you think Snowden is the next coming of Christ… he is a traitor, whether YOU want to believe it or not.

upinak on April 29, 2014 at 3:44 PM

I would at least wait until the next presidential administration before returning.

stuartm650 on April 29, 2014 at 4:37 PM

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:46 AM

The only slave here is you to your talking-points.

You are a disgrace to your namesake.

thebrokenrattle on April 29, 2014 at 4:45 PM

He’ll probably get the ticker-tape parade reception that our veterans from Iraq/Afghanistan/Vietnam/etc got screwed out of.

So, you love talking sh!t, because you don’t actually know any of what you assert, and you love being a slave, spied on illegally by your government. Nice to see the fiction of your being a conservative finally blown all to he11. Honestly, you are no different than libsfree, just the opposite side of the political isle.

oscarwilde on April 29, 2014 at 11:18 AM

If you want your allowance this week you are going to have to do some raking. Go wash up, there’s a hot pocket in the microwave.

V7_Sport on April 29, 2014 at 11:01 PM

And espionage, who give data over to the wrong people.. create Treason.

If you want to play this game I can come back and just keep playing. I personally don’t care if you think Snowden is the next coming of Christ… he is a traitor, whether YOU want to believe it or not.

upinak on April 29, 2014 at 3:44 PM

+++++++++++++++++++++++

rlwo2008 on April 30, 2014 at 5:57 AM

captnjoe on April 29, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Some instinct says he gave up a lot to the Russians for them to give him refuge.

melle1228 on April 29, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Not too sure of that. Putin has a sense of humor, even if it’s the humor of a cat with a mouse. It may have pleased him to give refuge to Snowden just to make life harder for Obama, who he probably despises as a fumbling amateur at autocracy.

PersonFromPorlock on April 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Whoops, try again:

Some instinct says he gave up a lot to the Russians for them to give him refuge.

melle1228 on April 29, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Not too sure of that. Putin has a sense of humor, even if it’s the humor of a cat with a mouse. It may have pleased him to give refuge to Snowden just to make life harder for Obama, who he probably despises as a fumbling amateur at autocracy.

PersonFromPorlock on April 30, 2014 at 12:33 PM