In a letter sent Friday from Attorney General Eric Holder to his Russian counterpart, Alexander Vladimirovich Konovalov, the United States government offers certain assurances in its effort to have NSA leaker Edward Snowden return to face criminal trial. The government will not seek the death penalty. The government will not torture Snowden. And contrary to his claims, Snowden can travel with a U.S. passport — if he's traveling back to the United States.
The letter, obtained by the Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly, appears at the bottom of this article. The point of the letter is clear: The United States wants Snowden back, and any asylum claim Snowden might make is unwarranted.
Snowden filed such a request two weeks ago. It reads, in full, "I hereby request your considering the possibility of granting me temporary asylum in the Russian Federation." For Russia to grant such a request, there are a series of qualifications under its Law on Refugees that ostensibly must be met. Those include that he fears persecution due to "political convention." A lawyer reportedly working for Snowden stated to a Russian TV network that Snowden "faces persecution by the U.S. government and he fears for his life and safety, fears that he could be subjected to torture and capital punishment," according to the Associated Press.