Ed Snowden's backers say without a deal, he won't be returning to the U.S. anytime soon

Most of the Sunday morning public affair shows on the broadcast and cable news networks looked back on Sunday on the two biggest stories of the year in American politics - the disastrous rollout of Obamacare and the reverberations from the disclosures made by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Snowden has resurfaced publicly in the last week, giving an interview with the Washington Post (in which he said "the mission's already accomplished") and an alternative message to the people of Britain via England's Channel 4 on Christmas Day. He remains in Russia, where he was granted asylum earlier this year after the U.S. government announced felony charges against him for his disclosure of classified documents.

Ben Wizner, Snowden's attorney told David Gregory on NBC's Meet The Press that the U.S. government could gain a lot by having conversations with his client, but that could not happen unless they drop the espionage charges against him and allow him to return to the U.S.

On CBS' Face The Nation, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden said he had soured on Snowden over the past two weeks, saying that he originally called him a defector, but now is willing to say he's a traitor. He said it was "treasonous" that Snowden has offered to reveal more U.S. secrets to the leaders of Brazil and German government in return for asylum.

Later on that program former senior NSA executive and whistleblower Thomas Drake strongly dissented with Hayden, saying that Snowden has actually done Americans a great favor by his leaking documents.

The U.S. government went after Drake in 2010, alleging that he mishandled documents. He ultimately pled to one misdemeanor count for exceeding authorized use of a computer. He said that whistleblowing under the Obama administration is now a criminal act.

Jessyln Radack with the Government Accountability Project told Face host Major Garrett that Snowden is a patriot and would love to come back to the U.S. "if the conditions were right." When challenged by Garrett that Snowden should return to face the charges against him in court, Radack said no way.

"Because of the very fact that he's been charged under the Espionage Act shows that it would not be a fair process. Those trials take place largely in secret....you don't use a law meant to go after spies to go after whistleblowers," Radack said.

She added that Snowden has very real concerns about his physical safety if he were to get back to the states, quoting a comment from former CIA Director James Woolsey that the NSA leaker "should be hanged by his neck until he is dead," if found guilty of treason.

Radack said she doesn't think that Snowden can get a fair trial in America and that's the main reason that she's been given asylum in Russia because he has a reasonable fear of political persecution "predicated on the very Espionage Act charges with which he faces."

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.