Politics

Holder floats possibility of Snowden deal, DOJ says position ‘has not changed’

Former Attorney General Eric Holder reportedly said Monday that the Justice Department could offer a deal to ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden that would permit him to return to the United States. 

"I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with. I think the possibility exists," Holder told Yahoo News, when asked about the possibility of a plea bargain allowing him to return from Moscow. 

But asked for comment on Tuesday, the Justice Department signaled nothing has changed in the case allowing that. 

"This is an ongoing case so I am not going to get into specific details but I can say our position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed," spokeswoman Melanie Newman told Fox News. 

Snowden has been in hiding in Russia since June 2013, after it emerged he was behind the leak of documents exposing the extent of NSA surveillance and other programs. He faces felony charges for the leak. 

Holder, though, gave credit to Snowden for starting a "necessary debate" that has since led to changes in surveillance policy. 

Despite speculation about a deal allowing Snowden to return, the leaker still has many critics in Congress and the intelligence community for exposing classified documents. 

Snowden's lawyer also told Yahoo News that Snowden "should not be reporting to prison as a felon and losing his civil rights as a result of his act of conscience." 

Michael Hayden, former director of both the NSA and CIA for President George W. Bush, has said Snowden should only return to "meet a jury of his peers." 

Snowden's outcome would not be decided by Holder. The former attorney general currently works for Washington, D.C., law firm Covington and Burling. 

Fox News' Matthew Dean contributed to this report.