(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has defended his actions in a recent interview with NBC, stating that his decision to leak crucial U.S. government documents was to serve his country, CNN reports.
“The reality is, the situation determined that this needed to be told to the public. The Constitution of the United States had been violated on a massive scale,” said Snowden to NBC’s Brian Williams in an interview in Moscow. “Now, had that not happened, had the government not gone too far and overreached, we wouldn’t be in a situation where whistleblowers were necessary.”
Snowden also revealed during the interview that the he was spy that worked undercover and overseas for the CIA and NSA, though the government claims he was a “low-level analyst.”
“But what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to use one position that I’ve had in a career, here or there, to distract from the totality of my experience, which is that I’ve worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, undercover, overseas.”
“I’ve worked for the National Security Agency, undercover, overseas. And I’ve worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency as a lecturer at the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy, where I developed sources and methods for keeping our information and people secure in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world.”
When asked by Williams if he considers himself a patriot, Snowden replied, “Yes, I do.”
This comment struck criticism from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who urged Snowden to return to the United States and “man up.”
“Patriots don’t go to Russia. They don’t seek asylum in Cuba. They don’t seek asylum in Venezuela. They fight their cause here,” Kerry told NBC. “Edward Snowden is a coward. He is a traitor. And he has betrayed his country. And if he wants to come home tomorrow to face the music, he can do so.”
Snowden currently lives in Russia on a temporary grant of asylum, though he states he would love to come home to the United States.
“I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home. Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say. That’s a debate for the public and the government to decide. But, if I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.”