Report: Plea deal in the works for Edward Snowden

posted at 5:31 pm on June 10, 2014 by Allahpundit

Best line here: “The former contractor is viewed by supporters, many of them anti-American leftists and anarchists, as a whistleblower…”

Discussions on Snowden’s return were held in the past several weeks between prosecutors in the Justice Department’s National Security Division and Plato Cacheris, a long-time Washington defense lawyer who in the past represented several U.S. spies, including some who reached plea bargains rather than go to trial…

No details of the discussions could be learned. But the talks focused on a plea deal that would result in Snowden returning to the United States to face lesser charges in exchange for returning the large cache of secret documents, said officials familiar with some aspects of the talks…

Snowden indicated he is prepared to talk to the U.S. government. Asked when he decided to flee with the documents, Snowden told NBC: “I think given the ongoing investigation, that’s something better not to get into in a news interview, but I’d be happy to discuss these things with the [U.S.] government.”

Two things about this. One: Imagine how much life in Russia must reek for this guy to want to come home to certain jail time and deep hostility from something like one-third to one-half of the population. Two: The fact that plea negotiations are happening isn’t the newsy part. That’s been widely assumed since last summer, when Snowden first hired Cacheris to talk to the DOJ for him. (ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner, a member of Snowden’s legal team, said flatly at the time that he was interested in coming home.) Just a few months ago, Eric Holder himself said that he’d be happy to consider some sort of deal after Snowden has returned with the intent to plead guilty to some charges. No dice, said Wizner. The terms of a plea bargain need to be hashed out before he gets on a plane in Moscow. After all, what kind of fugitive surrenders to authorities before they’ve agreed to the terms of his captivity? That may be the point the two sides are stuck on. And it’s almost certainly the DOJ that’ll have to cave, as Snowden’s long said that the reason he didn’t follow whistleblower protocol in the first place is because he doesn’t trust the feds to treat him fairly. If he gives himself up without a deal in place, they could turn around and demand hard time.

But as I say, that’s not the newsy part. The newsy part is the condition — lesser charges if he hands over the documents he has. If you believe Snowden, though, and maybe you shouldn’t, those documents are long gone. Watch the clip below. He told NBC that he didn’t bring a single page with him to Russia for fear that the FSB would bribe or beat it out of him. So where are the documents now? Quote: “The solution that I came up with was to destroy it. To take it out of my hands and entrust it fully to the institutions of the press.” He destroyed them — by entrusting them to the press? Huh? Maybe he means he destroyed the most sensitive ones and handed the rest, which have civil liberties implications for U.S. citizens, to Greenwald, Bart Gellman, et al. Either way, that doesn’t solve the DOJ’s problem of trying to negotiate with him over something he claims he no longer has. In fact, how could they ever trust Snowden to be honest with them about which documents he still possesses? There have been rumors since the beginning that Snowden built a de facto intelligence “doomsday machine” by uploading the stolen cache to a server somewhere online, encrypting it, and then sending the password to a few trusted confidantes to be used in case he suddenly disappears. A guy smart enough to abscond with the crown jewels of intelligence is probably smart enough to retain some control over what he took, even after he allegedly shed himself of all the evidence. How do you deal with that if you’re a federal negotiator?

Exit question one: For Obama, this is a little bit like the Bergdahl swap, no? Politically, it’s no-win. If he doesn’t make a deal with Snowden, he’s gambling that this loose cannon will keep his word and not reveal the most dangerous things he knows. If he does make a deal, he’s encouraging future Snowdens to steal as much as they can for leverage in plea negotiations. Exit question two: What if the DOJ offers him a light sentence in exchange for Snowden convincing Greenwald, Gellman, and other reporters to whom he’s given documents not to publish anything further? A truly independent journalist would say no dice; the truth about NSA surveillance is more important than Snowden’s comfort, a point Snowden himself has made repeatedly. It’s going to be weird, though, if leaks are still being published in the Guardian and WaPo long after Snowden’s made nice with the feds.


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Best line here: “The former contractor is viewed by supporters, many of them anti-American leftists and anarchists, as a whistleblower…”

Uh oh. This won’t go over well with the Snowden apologists on this site.

Bitter Clinger on June 10, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Snowden in exchange for 5 more Taliban from Gitmo?

portlandon on June 10, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Snowden will be dropping the soap every change he can get…

Blake on June 10, 2014 at 5:33 PM

But the talks focused on a plea deal that would result in Snowden returning to the United States to face lesser charges in exchange for returning the large cache of secret documents

What are the odds Putin lets him leave with the documents?

Bitter Clinger on June 10, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Yeah, that self righteous move out of the country doesn’t seem so good anymore, eh Eddie? America is the best place to live

jake49 on June 10, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Trading him for Tsarnev?

tdarrington on June 10, 2014 at 5:37 PM

** The Crucification of Snowden ***********!!
(sarc)

canopfor on June 10, 2014 at 5:37 PM

I see Obama is going to rescue another traitor.

rlwo2008 on June 10, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Trading him for the identities of all CIA agents in russia?

tdarrington on June 10, 2014 at 5:38 PM

That must be some really good shyt.

WryTrvllr on June 10, 2014 at 5:38 PM

If Snowden takes it, he gets whats coming to him. There is no sympathy for people who come back to die by the people who cast him out.

nobar on June 10, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Trading him for our nuclear launch codes? Maybe sending 100 warheads to Iran?

tdarrington on June 10, 2014 at 5:39 PM

I’ll trade him for Obama.

tdarrington on June 10, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Throw in Biden for free.

tdarrington on June 10, 2014 at 5:39 PM

What are the odds Putin lets him leave with the documents?

Bitter Clinger on June 10, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Ummm none. So he’s coming back because…..

-an apologist

WryTrvllr on June 10, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Since this touchs upon the USSR,
the Hopey/Puty AwkWard run in:
==============================

Frank Thorp V @frankthorpNBC · Jun 6

*saves video to harddrive before WH has French take it down* RT @OKnox: Video of Obama/Putin chat via @Elysee https://vine.co/v/MD5Lu5LKvrT

https://vine.co/v/MD5Lu5LKvrT

canopfor on June 10, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Oh, I forgot, he’s up for assistant Secretary of State!!!

WryTrvllr on June 10, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Let me guess, we get Snowden – Russia gets Eastern Ukraine…

Odie1941 on June 10, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Is Obama going to trade Poland to get him back?

gwelf on June 10, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Trade announcement: Edward Snowden will go to the U.S. of A. for 10 of the baddest Taliban held at Gitmo plus three other jihadist to be announced at a later date…

ujorge on June 10, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Russia gets Eastern Ukraine…

They already have it. Make it western, and you have a deal!Would you also like Poland, Mr Putin, sir?

tdarrington on June 10, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Trading him for the identities of all CIA agents in russia?

tdarrington on June 10, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Names for Obama’s next presser?

WryTrvllr on June 10, 2014 at 5:44 PM

A Plea Deal means entering a “Guilty” plea for lesser charges and normally serving some kind of punishment. I am unconvinced that Snowden will agree to that, since he’s on the record saying he’ll serve no jail time.

BigGator5 on June 10, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Let him rot in communist land.
After a few months in the hellhole, American jail doesn’t look bad after all.

weedisgood on June 10, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Exit question: What is Obama giving Putin in exchange for Snowden?
Everything east of Kiev and north of the Black Sea?

Steve Z on June 10, 2014 at 5:49 PM

I’m picturing Obama’s side of the negotiation going something like “If you like your freedom, you can keep it.”

alchemist19 on June 10, 2014 at 5:52 PM

If Snowden disclosed sensitive information to the Chinese or Russians (which I believe he did) the win-win is to put a bullet in his, Greenwald’s and Poitras’ head.

DJ Rick on June 10, 2014 at 5:52 PM

What I find amusing is some of the so called “”conservatives”” aka Krispy Kremers are all on board the Lindsey Graham train that the First Amendment needs to be regulated, and not concerned at all with the NSA spying on every aspect of our lives

Brock Robamney on June 10, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Blindfold & brick wall should be all he ever sees (heh).

CaptainNed on June 10, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Throw in Biden for free.

tdarrington on June 10, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Like a faux pearl necklace? Shiny but worthless?

I’m picturing Obama’s side of the negotiation going something like “If you like your freedom, you can keep it.”

alchemist19 on June 10, 2014 at 5:52 PM

You are 100% correct. Snowden’s a fool if he comes back.

Judge_Dredd on June 10, 2014 at 5:59 PM

If Snowden wants to live, he better not return while obama is president.

If he does, he dies. He has no clue how thin-skinned obama really is.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2014 at 6:00 PM

You are 100% correct. Snowden’s a fool if he comes back.

Judge_Dredd on June 10, 2014 at 5:59 PM

That implies he would have been a fool not to leave.

WryTrvllr on June 10, 2014 at 6:04 PM

What I find amusing is some of the so called “”conservatives”” aka Krispy Kremers are all on board the Lindsey Graham train that the First Amendment needs to be regulated, and not concerned at all with the NSA spying on every aspect of our lives

Brock Robamney on June 10, 2014 at 5:55 PM

A. What “conservatives” have supported Graham’s 1st Amendment idiocy?

B. I don’t like the NSA spying on us, but Snowden went beyond just exposing that to giving our enemies classified intel.

Bitter Clinger on June 10, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Next book deal…talk show circuit…run for office.

*blech*

workingclass artist on June 10, 2014 at 6:05 PM

That implies he would have been a fool not to leave.

WryTrvllr on June 10, 2014 at 6:04 PM

He’d be dead if he didn’t leave. Trusting Obama on anything is pure foolhardiness.

Judge_Dredd on June 10, 2014 at 6:06 PM

a plea deal that would result in Snowden returning to the United States to face lesser charges in exchange for returning the large cache of secret documents

What’s this traitor got in his possession? Evidence that Ambassador Stevens was hung out to dry-and die? The NSA is spying on all Americans? The IRS is targeting TEA Party PACs? The VA is willfully destroying documents and denying care to Veterans? The Federal Government has been supporting Al Qaeda (probably all along for all we know)? The WH lied about Assad using chemical weapons? Homeland Security is more about making the government more secure and not really U.S. citizens? Certain interests are robbing trillions from the U.S. via the Federal Reserve and the IRS?

Really, now. People who expose stuff like this are un-American and should be shot.

/s

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 10, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Let me guess, we get Snowden – Russia gets Eastern Ukraine Europe

Odie1941 on June 10, 2014 at 5:41 PM

They already effectively have eastern Ukraine. Putin really wants a coast-to-coast Russia, and his step after reconstituting the Soviet Union is to get Finland and Poland back.

Steve Eggleston on June 10, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Maybe this is Obama’s latest brilliant strategem to distract us from the most recent publicity disaster (in this case, the Bergdahl fiasco)???

RedPepper on June 10, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Maybe this is Obama’s latest brilliant strategem to distract us from the most recent publicity disaster (in this case, the Bergdahl fiasco)???

RedPepper on June 10, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Comment of the Day™.

Steve Eggleston on June 10, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Bitter Clinger on June 10, 2014 at 6:04 PM

See, I keep hearing people saying he disclosed top secret info to this country or that country, but nobody can say what info he has. So how do you know? Another thing is, how did he get a hold of thousands of documents without somebody catching on unless he has help? I don’t trust a government who to this day still blames Benghazi on a video no one has ever seen

Brock Robamney on June 10, 2014 at 6:16 PM

It’s really a shame that American history is Re-written by the libtards in death grip control of academia because it will be agonizing to read the lies about Dear Leader’s eight year romp against the Constitution.

Tard on June 10, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Throw in Biden for free.

tdarrington on June 10, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Like a faux pearl necklace? Shiny but worthless?

Well, the kind that 0bozo prefers will likely liquefy and run down his neck pretty soon.
Just sayin’

Tard on June 10, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Let me guess, we get Snowden – Russia gets Eastern Ukraine Europe…

Odie1941 on June 10, 2014 at 5:41 PM

They already effectively have eastern Ukraine. Putin really wants a coast-to-coast Russia, and his step after reconstituting the Soviet Union is to get Finland and Poland back.

Steve Eggleston on June 10, 2014 at 6:08 PM

I think Russia’s recent “get NATO troops back” from our border is the warning shot, coupled with US NATO troops getting killed in Afghanistan… Putin is going forward with Eastern Ukraine – adding to Crimea.

Poland, Finland… I think we have seen this movie before.

Odie1941 on June 10, 2014 at 6:29 PM

What are the odds Putin lets him leave with the documents?

Bitter Clinger on June 10, 2014 at 5:35 PM

We’re not talking about 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper in filing cabinets. It’s extremely likely that anything of that sort has already been gone over by Russian intelligence. What there is, is in the digital ether and apparently was/is available to at least one journalist.

They’ll have to offer a really sweet deal to Snowden, e.g. a suspended sentence. I suspect he’s not planning on coming back just so he can be locked up in a Federal pen for years or executed.

whatcat on June 10, 2014 at 6:35 PM

Maybe this is Obama’s latest brilliant strategem to distract us from the most recent publicity disaster (in this case, the Bergdahl fiasco)???

RedPepper on June 10, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Comment of the Day™.

Steve Eggleston on June 10, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Steve Eggleston: Lol:0

Results for #DontDoStupidShit

https://twitter.com/hashtag/DontDoStupidShit

canopfor on June 10, 2014 at 6:41 PM

whatcat on June 10, 2014 at 6:35 PM

So then if he gave too secret information to Russia that harms the us, knowing he may be executed or locked in a cell with 4 walls and no windows, then why is he negotiating?

Brock Robamney on June 10, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Maybe King Barack will hold a Rose Garden ceremony and welcome Snowden back.

GarandFan on June 10, 2014 at 6:47 PM

The story about plea bargaining is so filled with logical inconsistencies (well covered here) that the sensible thing to do is dismiss it out of hand.

PersonFromPorlock on June 10, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Report: Plea deal in the works for Edward Snowden

…this time…he’ll inform Congress?

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2014 at 6:58 PM

I think Russia’s recent “get NATO troops back” from our border is the warning shot, coupled with US NATO troops getting killed in Afghanistan… Putin is going forward with Eastern Ukraine – adding to Crimea.

Poland, Finland… I think we have seen this movie before.

Odie1941 on June 10, 2014 at 6:29 PM

The question is will the reaction be like the last time or the time before that? My money is not on a repeat of 1939.

Steve Eggleston on June 10, 2014 at 6:59 PM

So then if he gave too secret information to Russia that harms the us, knowing he may be executed or locked in a cell with 4 walls and no windows, then why is he negotiating?

Brock Robamney on June 10, 2014 at 6:46 PM

I haven’t seen anything yet that says he gave “top secret information to Russia”.

The purpose of negotiation is to get the best deal you can. If the Feds just wanted revenge, they could have him whacked by overseas operatives.

What US intel wants to know is what info is floating in the cloud.
I expect the gov will make him a generous offer for that info by way of a slap on the wrist.

whatcat on June 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM

I’ve said all along (before the interview where he said he destroyed it) that he lost control of the data and I think greenwald has control.
and snowden didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know.
he did me no good.

dmacleo on June 10, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Make the deal.

Snowden surrenders all keys and stolen documents, and gets life without parole in the cell next to Bradley Chelsea Manning.

Glenn Greenwald surrenders and is given the death penalty.

Not a perfect solution, which would be a triple hanging with music, food vendors, souvenirs, and games for the kiddies. But in the interests of national security, perhaps one we could live with.

If that’s not enough, we could send Obama, Holder, and Reid to Russia to sweeten the deal.

Adjoran on June 10, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Interesting, as I noted that Snowden might consider using the Bergdahl scandal as an opportunity to cut a deal and come home.

Christien on June 10, 2014 at 9:15 PM

How many gitmo detainees will we give up to get him back?

Herb on June 10, 2014 at 9:34 PM

Wow, these democrats sure do love traitors don’t they?

Dollayo on June 11, 2014 at 2:33 AM

Snowden is a hero. He should not be punished at all. We wouldn’t know anything about the criminal activity of the NSA if it was not for him. Everyone at the NSA are the real criminals and traitors. They should all be executed for violating the rights of every single Amerikan.

earlgrey on June 11, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Mr. Snowden is and was a great whistleblower and I pray he will not accept anything like forgiveness because suddenly on our soil he will disappear/die in a freak incident, etc. He is a hero and this administration and many hang onto my office until I die politicians are not happy. We are! thank you again Mr. Snowden for aiding us in seeing how foolishly blind we have been. Sadly, many in this country are still politically blind until the noose hangs them.

Roselle on June 11, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Sadly, many in this country are still politically blind until the noose hangs them.

Roselle on June 11, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Most of the comments on this post prove just how true that is.

earlgrey on June 11, 2014 at 1:15 PM