MEDIA
07/26/2013 01:17 pm ET | Updated Sep 25, 2013

'US Tells Russia It Won't Torture Or Kill Snowden' Is A Real Headline That Had To Be Written

AP

By this point, the phrase "Not The Onion"—used when someone wants to emphasize just how crazy the news is—has become such a tired cliché that the mere sight of it drives some people up the wall. Sometimes, though, the day's events really do lend themselves to the kind of double-take, real-life-as-farce reactions that spawned the now-odious "Not The Onion" concept.

So it was on Friday, when the New York Times published the following headline:

nyt

The headline referred to a letter that Attorney General Eric Holder sent to the Russian government to try to persuade them to give up the NSA leaker, who is currently holed up in Moscow's airport. Holder assured his counterparts that, as the headline says, the U.S. will neither kill Snowden (using the death penalty) nor torture him.

When a top-ranking law official has to ensure to the world that a person will not be killed or tortured when returned to his home country, it is...quite something.

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