News / USA

Snowden Wants to Return to US

This photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, June 9, 2013, in Hong Kong.
This photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, June 9, 2013, in Hong Kong.
VOA News
Fugitive self-proclaimed spy and NSA secrets leaker Edward Snowden says he wants to return home to the United States.

In his first interview on U.S. television, Snowden told NBC-TV newsman Brian Williams Wednesday that he sees himself as a patriot, but that until he can return to the U.S. he plans to ask Russia to extend his asylum.

He sought to defend himself against charges by the Obama administration that he is a traitor who endangered lives by revealing the extent of an NSA spying program.

"I'd say, can you show that?," he asked.  "Is there any demonstration?  Because I've been asking the United States, the press has been asking the United States government for a year now.  If after a year, they can't show a single individual who's been harmed in any way by this reporting, is it really so grave?  Is it really so serious? And can we really trust those claims without scrutinizing them?''

Asked whether he would make a deal to return, Snowden said he first wants to make "sure that these programs are reformed," and that the family and country he left behind can be helped by his actions.  He said all three branches of the U.S. government have made reforms as a result of what he did.

"The reality is the situation determined that his needed to be told to the public. You know, the Constitution of the United States has been violated on a massive scale," he said. "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. "

The United States charged Snowden with theft and two counts of espionage after he revealed the breadth of National Security Agency surveillance programs, including the bulk collection of telephone and Internet data from Americans.

Earlier Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Snowden should "man up" and return to the United States to face espionage charges.

Snowden is living in asylum in Russia a year after leaking a vast cache of NSA documents to journalists that described clandestine U.S. spy operations around the world.  He passed on the documents to journalists at the British newspaper The Guardian and The Washington Post.

Snowden used the interview to rebut critics who described him as nothing more than a low-level analyst.  He said that he was "trained as a spy" and worked undercover overseas for the U.S. intelligence community.

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by: Rich from: USA
May 31, 2014 5:39 PM
I personally do not think Snowden should ever be allowed in the US without being behind bars deep underground or put in front of a firing squad. What he did was reckless, dangerous, and a malicious act of vengeance against the sovereignty of our great nation.

He knowingly and willingly leaked secrets against the nation he called home. He placed US assets in harms way across the world in the spy game that keeps you and I aware of intelligence aspects in a world we know otherwise nothing about. Our nation is now a spectacle in the worlds eyes as a result - skeptical, watched, and deemed untrustworthy. Why? Because we were caught in the same game every superior nation plays to protect itself by some a$$hole looking for fame.

In all seriousness, what our government did in their programs to crunch numbers for leads to terrorist is nothing more than a step in the electronic age. It's also nothing they couldn't do without a little bit of paperwork and a subpoena to phone companies either.

When we welcomed in the electronic age, TV, computers, phones, cameras - we willingly opened the door to electronic surveillance. Facial recognition software on CCTV systems, voice pattern via phone, it doesn't matter what it is, it's out there and why should the US people be concerned if they have nothing to hide from a computer analyzing who called who and when? It's not like the US government was going to tell your spouse of that private affair you set up every Friday at the Hilton Hotel or how often your mom has to go to the doctor for antibiotics for her herpie outbreak that became infected.

The point being: While out government used suspicious means to crunch phone call records or phone/wire taps to gather intel on foreign places of interest, a person, traitor, from our nation stole private records and turned his back against the US and now wishes to return. He's a criminal for his actions and so it should be deemed. He doesn't deserve a spot among the nation of free people for his actions.

I, and every other veteran like me on this soil we DO call home; proudly say - keep that treacherous traitor from our mists and let him suffer for his crimes. Damn his name in the history books and let him die knowing that the nation he turned his back on, never wants to see his face again.


by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
May 29, 2014 1:20 PM
Snowden, in the global military scheme of things, is unimportant.
Once somebody, probably a tiny nation nobody suspects as having the ability, discovers an easy way to disable and sink US aircraft carriers, the American Empire's global dominance ends and will be replaced by a unique new Japanese military -- thanks to Japan's Prime Minister Abe and his plans for massive Japanese military growth -- and become the Pacific's dominant military and, by natural extension, #1 globally: No American fleet of aircraft carriers equals a largely useless U.S. military. Be warned, it's going to happen and happen very soon, within a decade or less.
And no, Japan is not the tiny nation that invents a lethal way to sink American carriers.


by: Freedom_is_not_free from: USA
May 29, 2014 12:43 PM
Most American born do not understand freedom is not free. People from other countries have to bet their lives for freedom especially people from communist or ex-communist countries.
Just think 1 simple thing: how can government find out terrorists discussion and planning to destroy this great country? They have to listen to phones, internet, email, etc....And government have to listen to all of its citizens since they do not know who is the good guy and the bad guy is. If we do not do any bad things to humanity, who cares of being listen or not. The US government collects data to prevent terrorists from destroying US while other governments such as Russian and Chinese governments also collect data but for detecting oppositions and put in jail in secret. Stop crying.
Snowden is truly a traitor. He preaches his pledge under oath too. As a Vietnamese-American, I approve whatever the US government is doing to protect its citizens.


by: Canada2 from: calgary
May 29, 2014 11:52 AM
he is a "whistle blower" neither to be vilified nor honored. He shamed the abusive senior managers of the NSA and CIA and the politicians at the White House. In time Kerry's generation of fear mongers and war mongers will die. Snowdens generation will take control. He may be exiled for a time. He will return home someday (similar to mandela, but not as grand and powerful).


by: Donald Fraser Miles from: Elliot Lake, Canada
May 29, 2014 8:30 AM
Two years ago I felt it wise and appropriate for the US military intelligence system to purge itself of anti-democratic forces and tendencies. Snowden achieved this outcome. I believe Snowden should receive only about 120 days in prison and that for breaching his oath to the US government. I feel Snowden is in fact motivated out of patriotism and a respect for the principles of democracy and the harm to US security can be undone by recognizing this and permitting Snowden some justice on his motivation and the fact he has played a helpful role in protecting democratic principles as involving government and the military.


by: lincon from: east
May 29, 2014 4:34 AM
Snowden are a real hero and real patriot. you deserve noble peace prize. in 200 yeas even for ever, you will still be remembered by people as a great hero. than time, some politian, like obama, kerry, just clown will be treated with contempt. all peace liker love you and support you.


by: Agi from: Indonesia
May 29, 2014 12:54 AM
Snowden was Putin Dogs and stupid traitor.

When another American risk their lives to protect their county but this the traitor one and dumb was break american secret.


by: Kevin K from: Canada
May 28, 2014 11:44 PM
What an impressive young man. No gun, no bomb, yet he has done more than the entire Military to protect the freedoms of Americans. This is what a real hero looks like. Whether too blind or just unable to accept that the USA has dubbed citizens into a blind trust of a corrupt Government, many call Snowden a traitor, very sad. God Bless Edward Snowden, the rest of the civilized world worships you.


by: Andrew from: A safe place
May 28, 2014 11:34 PM
He is a hero. He is someone who was man enough to refuse to "follow orders". Unfortunately there were no heroes like this in Nazi Germany. If there were heroes like this there may never have been a Holocaust and probably never had been a world war either. Those people who do not support him in my eyes are simple cowards who are complicit in a great evil.


by: John from: Seattle
May 28, 2014 5:17 PM
Whether he was or wasn't seems irrelevant at this point. The debate comes at great cost to America. If he were as smart as he thinks there were better ways to accomplish the outing. The worst is the political division in the US and abroad from his effort.

In Response

by: enmukee from: San Jose
May 28, 2014 11:21 PM
IMO, Snowden is a hero and a true patriot. Snowden has done the greatest favor to the institution called Democracy and at great cost to himself. Anyone who cannot admit that is either devious or brainwashed.

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