Is Eric Snowden coming home?
Former deputy national security adviser Juan Zarate urged the Trump administration to be cautious in accepting any Snowden offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin.There don't seem to be a lot of options for Snowden either way...
"For Russia, this would be a win-win. They've already extracted what they needed from Edward Snowden in terms of information and they've certainly used him to beat the United States over the head in terms of its surveillance and cyber activity," Zarate said.
"It would signal warmer relations and some desire for greater cooperation with the new administration, but it would also no doubt stoke controversies and cases in the U.S. around the role of surveillance, the role of the U.S. intelligence community, and the future of privacy and civil liberties in an American context.
"All of that would perhaps be music to the ears of Putin."
The White House had no comment, but the Justice Department told NBC News it would welcome the return of Snowden, who currently faces federal charges that carry a minimum of 30 years in prison. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said talk about returning Snowden is "nonsense."
If he were returned to American soil, Snowden — a divisive figure in America who is seen by some as a hero and others as treasonous — would face an administration that has condemned him in the strongest terms.
"I think he's a total traitor and I would deal with him harshly," Trump said in July. "And if I were president, Putin would give him over." In October 2013, Trump tweeted: "Snowden is a spy who should be executed."
CIA Director Mike Pompeo has also called for Snowden to face American justice. "I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence," Pompeo said last February.