Snowden’s best ploy: surrender

July 2, 2013 

The following editorial appeared in the July 2 Washington Post.

The costs of the Edward Snowden affair continue to mount for the Obama administration — though so far the visible damage is primarily political, rather than national security-related.

The administration appears to be making little headway in its efforts to gain custody of the fugitive contractor.

However, rulers ranging from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to the Chavista socialists of Latin America appear to be holding Mr. Snowden at arm’s length, lest his unpredictable behavior and mounting toxicity contaminate their relations with Washington.

Venezuela and Cuba recently have been trying to reach out to the Obama administration, while Ecuador must consider the hundreds of thousands of workers whose jobs are linked to U.S. trade preferences.

Stopping potentially damaging revelations or the dissemination of intelligence to adversaries should take precedence over U.S. prosecution of Mr. Snowden — which could enhance his status as a political martyr in the eyes of many both in and outside the United States.

The best solution for both Mr. Snowden and the Obama administration would be his surrender to U.S. authorities, followed by a plea negotiation.

It’s hard to believe that the results would leave the 30-year-old contractor worse off than living in permanent exile in an unfree country. Sadly, the supposed friends of this naive hacker are likely advising him otherwise.

The Washington Post

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