U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden retained a lawyer who specializes in spying cases in hope of making a deal with U.S. authorities to return to the country, a news report said.
Attorney Plato Cacheris, who previously represented CIA double agent Aldrich Ames among others, was retained by Snowden last summer, The New York Times
Cacheris declined to comment on the report when contacted by The New York Times.
Snowden fled the U.S. and eventually received a year's asylum in Russia after he leaked information to journalists detailing widespread surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies. U.S. authorities subsequently charged Snowden under the Espionage Act, a World War I era law that could see him get up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who also represents Snowden, said that his client "is interested in returning home. … He would cooperate in extraordinary ways in the right circumstances. But he does not believe that the 'felon' label is the right word for someone whose act of conscience has revitalized democratic oversight of the intelligence community and is leading to historic reforms."
The New York Times said it is unlikely that any deal for Snowden's return would involve a lengthy prison sentence.
While Snowden's revelations and the ensuing outrage have led U.S. President Barack Obama to call for some of the National Security Agency's programs to be curtailed, Justice Department officials have repeatedly said that Snowden would face prosecution if he returns.