A National Security Agency official said in an interview released Friday that he would be open to cutting an amnesty deal with intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden if he agreed to stop divulging secret documents.
Rick Ledgett, who heads the NSA’s task force investigating the damage from the Snowden leaks, told CBS’ “60 Minutes” program that some but not all of his colleagues share his view.
“My personal view is, yes, it’s worth having a conversation about” a possible deal, said Ledgett, according to excerpts of the interview due to air Sunday.
But Snowden would have to provide firm assurances that the remaining documents would be secured.
“My bar for those assurances would be very high… more than just an assertion on his part,” said Ledgett.
But NSA chief General Keith Alexander rejected the idea of any amnesty for Snowden.
“This is analogous to a hostage-taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10 and then say ‘You give me full amnesty and I’ll let the other 40 go,'” Alexander told “60 Minutes.”
According to the 60 Minutes report, the latest Snowden document tally is 1.7 million! Ledgett said he “wouldn’t dispute” that figure.
Glenn Greenwald originally said that he and Laura Poitras received 9,000-10,000 top-secret documents from Snowden in Hong Kong, and NSA chief Keith Alexander recently said Snowden took as many as 200,000. According to Guardian’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, the news organization received approximately 58,000 files.
Now the NSA tells CBS that it believes Snowden obtained 1.7 million classified documents, leaking 200,000 to journalists he met in Hong Kong, and still has access to 1.5 million.
See also, contradictory NYTimes report: Officials Say U.S. May Never Know Extent of Snowden’s Leaks 12/15