National Security Adviser Susan Rice kept her cards close when asked Sunday on “60 Minutes” whether the United States would consider granting secrets leaker Edward Snowden amnesty if he promised to stop revealing classified information.
But she didn’t sound very open to the idea.
“We don’t think that Snowden deserves amnesty. We believe he should come back, he should be sent back, and he should have his day in court,” Rice told CBS’s Lesley Stahl.
Snowden is believed to still have 1.5 million classified documents he has yet to share.
Snowden, who’s living in Russia under temporary asylum, said he stole and leaked the documents to let Americans know that their personal phone calls and emails were being collected and stored as part of the National Security Agency’s fight against terrorism.
Stahl asked Rice if it wasn’t worth giving Snowden something to prevent the release of more documents.
“Lesley, you know I’m not going to get into a negotiation with you on camera about something that sensitive,” Rice answered, adding that she is not aware of any proposed arrangement for amnesty from Snowden.
Pressed by Stahl about the fact that members of the intelligence community have been untruthful to the public both in congressional hearings and in the secret FISA court, Rice responded that in some cases false statements have been made inadvertently, but were corrected once the errors were discovered.
Rice was United States ambassador to the United Nations on Sept. 11, 2012, when the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, were attacked, leaving Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.
It was Rice who was given the task of appearing on all five Sunday morning talk shows todefend the administration’s position that the attacks were the result of spontaneous riots sparked by an anti-Muslim video.
The talking points from which Rice spoke, reportedly written by the CIA, were wrong. President Barack Obama intended to name her secretary of state to replace Hillary Clinton, but her role in the Benghazi scandal squelched that. Instead, she was named national security adviser, and works from Henry Kissinger’s old office just up the hall from the Oval Office.
Rice told “60 Minutes” she agreed to step in for Clinton on the talk shows because the secretary had just gone through a stressful week.
“Secretary Clinton, as our chief diplomat, had to reach out to the families, had to greet the bodies upon their arrival at Andrews Air Force Base,” Rice said.
Rice also defends the administration’s controversial deal to ease sanctions against Iran in exchange for the country cutting back on its nuclear capabilities. Critics have said the deal allows Iran to remain near nuclear status.
“Let’s be clear,” Rice said. “There’s no trust. There’s no naivety. The question is if a policy designed to put maximum economic pressure on them actually has come to the point where they are choking.”
Iran’s currency and oil revenues are down 50 percent, Rice said, and inflation is up
“They’re hurting,” Rice said, “And the question is are they hurting enough so that they are going to be willing to make some very difficult decisions that they’ve resisted making thus far and give up in a verifiable way this nuclear program? The answer is we don’t know. But the other half of the answer is we have every interest in testing that proposition.”
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