Make a deal with Edward Snowden

Snowden faces lots of jail time. He has been charged with two violations of the Espionage Act and with stealing government property. Each of these can get him 10 years in prison — and, knowing the government, accusations galore that have not been revealed may be waiting for him upon his return to the United States. Why anyone would want to come back to 30 or so years in jail is beyond me. Apparently, Snowden thinks the same. He will remain a man without a country, living out his life as did the protagonist in Edward Everett Hale’s 19th-century short story, “The Man Without a Country.” Russia, in more ways than one, is a cold, cold place.

Snowden is something new under the sun. He defies categorization. He is not a spy and not a conventional traitor. The old remedies and punishments do not fit. Some sort of deal should be made — reduced jail time in exchange for his cooperation. A deal would be to our advantage. The United States would get back Snowden as well as his information (apparently it’s still not clear what he took) — and he would get back some of his life.