America's attorney general, Eric Holder suggested the US may allow NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to return to the States.
Holder told MSNBC he was willing to "engage in conversation" with Snowden, who claimed asylum in Russia after he leaked information about the US secret service's mass surveillance programme.
However, the attorney general ruled out a full pardon, as this would be "going too far".
Snowden has been declared a suspected felon by the Obama administration, who want him extradited from Russia to the US.
The whistleblower was charged in June with violations of the Espionage Act but has yet to publicly indicted.