UK & World News

  • 29 May 2014, 11:27

US Tells Snowden 'Man Up And Come Home'

US Secretary of State John Kerry has challenged Edward Snowden to "man up and come back to the United States", after the whistleblower admitted he wanted to return home.

Mr Kerry's comments follow the former National Security Agency contractor's interview with NBC, his first for US media since he fled the country after leaking a huge volume of classified documents.

Now living in Russia on a temporary grant of asylum, Mr Snowden told the network he took 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.

"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."

And Mr Kerry, speaking before NBC aired that portion of the interview, said: "If Mr Snowden wants to come back to the United States, we'll have him on a flight today. A patriot would not run away.

"He should man up and come back to the United States. If he has a complaint about what's the matter with American surveillance, (he should) come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case.

"If he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust the American system of justice."

Mr Snowden had also said in an earlier part of his interview that he worked undercover and overseas for the CIA and the NSA. He claimed he had a far more important role in US intelligence than the government has acknowledged.

"I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas," he said.

National security adviser Susan Rice insisted in a CNN interview that Mr Snowden never worked undercover.

Mr Snowden said he never intended to end up in Russia but was forced to go there because Washington decided to "revoke my passport."

In response, Mr Kerry said: "Well, for a supposedly smart guy, that's a pretty dumb answer, after all.

"I think he's confused. I think it's very sad. But this is a man who has done great damage to his country."

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