Former NSA head opposes amnesty for Edward Snowden

Dec. 15, 2013 at 2:37 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Former NSA Director Michael Hayden said Sunday he "strongly" opposes an amnesty deal for Edward Snowden.

In an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," when' asked if he thought there should be an amnesty deal for Snowden, an ex-NSA contractor who was responsible for a massive leak of classified documents, Hayden said "I would strongly oppose that."

Hayden said he doesn't think the United States will ever know if Snowden has more documents as he says he does.

"The repercussions are that he seems to have a negotiating edge on us because he can hold this overhang over us, in terms of negotiating.  But I wouldn't do it.  And I understand the attraction ... but I wouldn't do it because that simply motivates future Snowdens to do these kinds of things," Hayden said.

Obama administration officials told the New York Times Saturday investigators have spent "hundreds and hundreds of man hours" piecing together Snowden's digital footprints in the months prior to his massive leak of classified documents to a group of reporters. But because tracking software ordered installed on all government computers hadn't been put in place at the Hawaii office where Snowden worked, much of his document gathering can't be traced.

Snowden is living and working in Russia where he's been granted one-year asylum. Thus far, the Russian government has refused to extradite Snowden back to the United States, where he faces charges of espionage and stealing government property.

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