(THE GUARDIAN) — National Security Agency officials are considering a controversial amnesty that would return Edward Snowden to the United States, in exchange for the extensive document trove the whistleblower took from the agency.

An amnesty, which does not have the support of the State Department, would represent a surprising denouement to an international drama that has lasted half a year. It is particularly unexpected from a surveillance agency that has spent months insisting that Snowden’s disclosures have caused vast damage to US national security.

The NSA official in charge of assessing the alleged damage caused by Snowden’s leaks, Richard Ledgett, told CBS News an amnesty still remains controversial within the agency, which has spent the past six months defending itself against a global outcry and legislative and executive proposals to restrain its broad surveillance activities.

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.