MOSCOW, July 28 (RAPSI) – There’s less need now for the Obama administration to make a deal to allow Edward Snowden to return home than there was after his wave of surveillance disclosures began more than a year ago, NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett said during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum.

The New York Times wrote in April this year that Snowden had hired a prominent Washington defense lawyer, Plato Cacheris, hoping for a plea deal with federal prosecutors that would allow him to return to the US and spare him significant prison time.

A deal would depend on what information Snowden can give in return.

Cacheris has represented defendants in some of the highest-profile cases involving Espionage Act charges against Soviet and Russian informers, including Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen and Lawrence Franklin.

In the summer of 2013, Edward Snowden, a computer specialist and former contractor for the US National Security Agency, leaked classified evidence of US government surveillance programs to The Washington Post and The Guardian.

He then fled to Hong Kong. On June 14, 2013, US authorities charged Snowden under three articles, each of them stipulating punishment of up to 10 years in prison. Two of the charges were brought under the 1917 Espionage Act.

Snowden was in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport from June 23 to August 1, when he was granted temporary asylum. He is now living at an undisclosed location in Russia.