Former Attorney General Eric Holder said the "possibility exists" for the Justice Department to cut a deal that would allow former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to return to the United States. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, July 7 (UPI) -- Former Attorney General Eric Holder said the "possibility exists" for the Justice Department to cut a deal that would allow former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to return to the United States.
Holder, who stepped down in April, told Yahoo News, "I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with" to return Snowden from his current asylum in Moscow. "I think the possibility exists," he added.
Holder recently began a new job as a private lawyer at the elite Washington law firm Covington & Burling and said "we are in a different place as a result of the Snowden disclosures" and that "his actions spurred a necessary debate" that prompted lawmakers to change policies on the bulk collection of domestic phone records.
Snowden, who has been living in Moscow since June 2013, faces up to 30 years in prison for allegedly stealing and leaking classified information about the U.S. National Security Agency's practice of collecting America's domestic cell phone records. After the disclosure, Holder led a crackdown on government leakers, including charging Snowden with three felony violations of the Espionage Act for turning over thousands of government documents to journalists.
Last month, President Obama signed surveillance reforms prompted by the leak. Justice Department spokeswoman Melanie Newman said the U.S. has not changed its stance on Snowden.
"This is an ongoing case so I am not going to get into specific details but I can say our position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed," she told Yahoo News.
Holder had previously told MSNBC the U.S. would be willing to "engage in conversations" with Snowden and his attorneys, but ruled out clemency.