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White House: We Will Not Offer Amnesty To Snowden

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In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (credit: The Guardian via Getty Images)

In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (credit: The Guardian via Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – White House Press Secretary Jay Carney denied rumors regarding the potential for amnesty to be offered to former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden during Monday’s briefing.

“Our position has not changed on that matter at all. Mr. Snowden has been accused of leaking classified information and he faces felony charges here in the United States,” Carney said. “He should be returned to the United States as soon as possible, where he will be accorded full due process and protections in our system.”

Carney made the comments in response to suggestions that the Obama administration could offer Snowden amnesty in order to facilitate his return to the U.S., as well as the return of sensitive documents.

While on “60 Minutes,” Richard Ledgett, the head of an NSA task force responsible for dealing with unauthorized disclosures of information, said that the idea is “worth having a conversation about.”

Carney, however, refuted the notion.

“These decisions are made by the Department of Justice, and I would refer you there for more,” he said. “But there’s been no change in our position.”

A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records violates the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches, but put his decision on hold pending a near-certain government appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon granted a preliminary injunction sought by plaintiffs Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, concluding they were likely to prevail in their constitutional challenge.

Leon, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, ruled Monday that the two men are likely to be able to show that their privacy interests outweigh the government’s interest in collecting the data. Leon says that means that massive collection program is an unreasonable search under the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.

The collection program was disclosed by Snowden, provoking a heated debate over civil liberties. The Obama administration has defended the program as a crucial tool against terrorism.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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