In Defense of Snowden, Part 4: Obama Administration Blinks

Posted by Bob Lord

Very interesting development in the Snowden case. From Huff Po:

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday he would "engage in conversation" with National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden in search of some sort of resolution for his case. But he stopped short of considering clemency, telling MSNBCthat "would be going too far."

Holder's carefully phrased remarks come after both the New York Times and The Guardian published editorials in favor of granting Snowden clemency from the Espionage Act charges the Justice Department laid against him following Snowden's revelations last June about the NSA's widespread surveillance programs. Some members of Congress — mostly liberal Democrats — have also said they would welcome a deal.

So, Holder wants a resolution, but clemency would be "going too far." And he would "engage in conversation." That's called blinking in a negotiation. It happens when one side recognizes it must make a concession in order to avoid an unfavorable result. 

The "conversation," which I'll bet will take place, will start along these lines:

Holder: "Edward, we can't offer clemency, and we need you to acknowledge some wrongdoing in order for us to save face, but we're not seeking retribution, so here's what we have in mind…."

This is a welcome development. Stay tuned.