Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Thursday that the United States was willing to discuss how the criminal case against Edward J. Snowden would be handled, but only if Mr. Snowden pleaded guilty first.
….The attorney general reiterated that the United States was not willing to offer clemency to Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has leaked documents that American officials have said threaten national security. “Instead,” Mr. Holder said in response to a question at the university’s Miller Center, “were he coming back to the U.S. to enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers.”
That’s neither the clemency nor the amnesty that Snowden’s supporters want, and Holder gave no indication of just what kind of plea the Justice Department might accept. It’s also notable that a guilty plea would preclude a trial in which Snowden could mount a public case for his actions.
Still, this seems like a slight softening of the government’s stand. Maybe.