Edward Snowden, former National Security Agency (NSA) systems analyst contractor and whistleblower is currently living in Russia on a soon-to-expire asylum grant. He was told to “man up” and “come home” back to the United States by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry this past Wednesday.
In an interview on NBC News with anchorman Brian Williams in Moscow, Snowden said that he would like to return back to his home country. Calling Snowden a fugitive, Kerry said that a “true patriot” would not have run away, and that he needs to face the U.S. system of justice being that he had caused “great damage.” Kerry also added that if Snowden truthfully “cares about” and “believes in America,” he should trust in the American system as well. Additionally, Kerry called out to Snowden, announcing that it would be possible for him to be on a flight from Russia as soon as the next day.
During his NBC News interview, Snowden told Williams that he had chosen to expose large amounts of classified information regarding NSA spying and surveillance programs with the conviction that his actions were in the best interest of the American people. In response, Kerry stated that he can “come back and make his case.” By exposing the highly classified documents as an “act of patriotism,” Snowden said that being truly patriotic does not involve serving government and corporate entities over everything else. Instead, he stated that patriotism is realizing when to defend one’s own country and when to safeguard the U.S. Constitution from adversary intrusion. These can be “bad policies” as well as foreign nations.
By leaking the information, he remarked that despite breaking the law, this was truly serving his country: “There are times that what is right is not the same thing as what is legal.” He then stated that it is important for citizens to do what is right, even if it means sometimes breaking the law.
As Kerry made his “man up” and “come home” statements before the new NBC interview had been aired, Snowden remarked that there was never a doubt in his mind that he would prefer to return home. In response to facing the U.S. system of justice, Snowden stated that whether or not “amnesty” or “clemency” would be a future possibility is not for him to decide. Both the government and the public would instead have to make that decision.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that allowing Snowden to have clemency is currently out of the question. However he said that the United States would hold a conversation with Snowden if he chooses to accept responsibility for the leakage of confidential documents.
After Edward Snowden was told to “man up” and “come home” by John Kerry, Snowden assured in the NBC interview in Moscow that he would like to come home and hopes to engage in talks with the U.S. public and government in order to work towards a more viable solution. However, he still defends his actions as a real act of patriotism, stating that the revelation of NSA surveillance and spying programs was necessary for the protection of the American people from powerful entities and adversaries.
By Scott Gaudinier
The Huffington Post