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White House says Snowden should still face charges in U.S.

A banner supporting Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is displayed at Hong Kong's financial Central
A banner supporting Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is displayed at Hong Kong's financial Central

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed the suggestion on Monday that the United States could grant amnesty to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden if he were to turn over the documents in his possession.

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

Documents leaked by Snowden have revealed details of widespread surveillance by the NSA and ignited a furor over the agency's spying.

Snowden has been granted temporary asylum by Russia.

Rick Ledgett, who is supervising the NSA task force doing a damage assessment of the Snowden leaks, said on the CBS program "60 Minutes" on Sunday that it was "worth having a conversation about" granting Snowden asylum if he were to turn over the information he had taken.

"My personal view is, yes, it's worth having a conversation about," Ledgett said. "I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured and my bar for those assurances would be very high."

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal and Steve Holland; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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