We have a hard time believing that the U.S. government would ever consider a deal to let Eric Snowden back into the country and grant him immunity from prosecution.
It seems unlikely to us, for example, that Snowden has been given asylum in Russia without the Russians somehow gaining access to the documents he stole from U.S. files. In that respect, Snowden's escape to Russia has to rank with the defection of Kim Philby as one of the great intelligence disasters of all time (or coups if you're Russian).
No, if Snowden ever returns to the U.S., he needs to face the music for what he's done. Some of it has genuinely hurt, especially in terms of intelligence gathering and foreign policy.
He claims to be a whistleblower, and in that respect, he's right, although what he did went far beyond that.
As a whistleblower, he's managed to embarrass the current and two previous administrations with his revelations of domestic spying. Finally, we had a court his week rule that what the NSA is doing to your phone calls and e-mails (etc.) is an invasion of privacy and a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The average man in the street could figure that out, but someone three presidents and their attorney generals couldn't.
That ruling is a start, but somehow this genuinely needs to be brought under control. We are supposed to be a nation of law in which every person is granted the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, not assumed to be a suspect until proven otherwise. Widespread domestic spying on everyone looks a lot more like what Russia used to be than what America ought to be.
When you add in the fact that private business can now do a lot of the same things, in order to focus their advertising at you, it's time to bring this massive invasion of privacy to a halt. It's time for Congress to step in and lay down some clear guidelines about what constitutes privacy and what steps over the line.
-- Kelly Everitt