In the letter, Holder says Snowden’s arguments for temporary asylum in Russia are without merit.
Snowden is seeking asylum because he claims he will be tortured and face the death penalty if returned to the United States.
But the death penalty is not an option given the current charges against Snowden, and even if additional charges are filed, the U.S. would still not seek capital punishment, Holder wrote.
Once back in the United States, Snowden would not be tortured and would face a civilian trial with a lawyer appointed to him, the attorney general wrote.
“We believe that these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden’s claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum,” Holder wrote.