WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday called National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden a fugitive and challenged him to "man up and come back to the United States." Snowden says in an interview that he would like to go home.
The former NSA contract systems analyst is living in Russia on a temporary grant of asylum after leaking a massive volume of NSA documents to the media. He told anchorman Brian Williams of NBC News that he had taken action in the belief that he was serving his country in exposing the surveillance programs of the NSA.
"I don't think there's ever been any question that I'd like to go home," Snowden said in a segment of the interview broadcast Wednesday night. "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."
Kerry's comments came before NBC aired that portion of the Snowden interview. On the matter of Snowden returning, Kerry told NBC's "Today" show: "If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to the United States, we'll have him on a flight today." Kerry also said, "A patriot would not run away."