Opinion: If Snowden wants leniency, he should return to the U.S. and make his case

Edward Snowden seen via live video link from Russia in June of 2015.
(Frederick Florin / AFP / Getty)

To the editor: Luke Harding’s “The Snowden Files,” the inspiration for the Oliver Stone film “Snowden,” reveals Edward Snowden’s personality to be a confused mix of ardent patriotism and self-absorption. And it leaves Snowden now in a self-created limbo in Russia. (“Make a deal to bring Edward Snowden home,” editorial, Oct. 5)

What Snowden deserves for revealing classified information is pretty clear under the law. His defense is that he patriotically exposed National Security Agency procedures that illegally intrude on Americans’ privacy. In “Playing to the Edge,” Michael V. Hayden’s book on his years as head of the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency, he tells definitively of many national and international troubles caused by Snowden’s leak.

It’s hard not to convict Snowden, but his punishment needs to be determined in court. If he chooses not to face that trial, he is left where he is.


Jim Gould, Burbank


To the editor: The primary reason Snowden isn’t in the U.S. is the virtual torture of Chelsea Manning. Before her 2013 trial, Manning was kept in a barren cell with the lights kept on all day and night. This September, Manning staged a hunger strike to protest current mistreatment.

Snowden left behind a six-figure salary, his girlfriend and a Hawaiian lifestyle to be able to release his NSA data. That he would return to Manning-like treatment for even a reduced charge is preposterous thinking.

Bob Munson, Newbury Park


To the editor: The difficulty with the Snowden case is that a contractor violated his classified standing by his actions, disclosing wrongdoings while damaging our intelligence network.

But judges should have had oversight of the surveillance, but they did not stop unconstitutional action. Is the judiciary being held accountable?


Snowden may deserve prison time for the damage he has done, but not for exposing the judicial negligence that was committed.

Tony Schaffer, Los Angeles

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