Edward Snowden wants to come home.
The former National Security Agency analyst says he has volunteered “many times” to cut a deal with the U.S. government that would allow him to return to the U.S. from Russia in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. “So far, they’ve said they won’t torture me,” Snowden said, “but we haven’t gotten much further than that.”
Snowden faces up to 30 years in prison for exposing details of the NSA’s massive domestic spying program two years ago. The intelligence files he leaked to the press revealed the government was keeping records of nearly 2 billion phone calls, text messages, and emails every day. The Patriot Act of 2001 opened the door to this sort of program.
Despite the fact that some Americans labeled Snowden a “traitor,” a massive public uproar against the government spurred by Snowden’s revelations pushed President Obama to terminate the spying program in June 2015.
Yet the charges against Snowden remain, charges filed under the old Espionage Act, used in World War I to throw critics of the war in prison.
The U.S. is willing to cut a deal with Snowden, but it remains to be seen what sort of reduced sentence the government will accept.