[FULL] Edward Snowden Exclusive Interview with NBC Brian Williams
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Edward Snowden, in an exclusive interview with "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams, blamed the State Department for stranding him in Russia, saying he "never intended" to wind up there.
"I personally am surprised that I ended up here," Snowden said in the interview, an excerpt of which aired on TODAY on Wednesday morning.
Snowden's comments about his new home came in an extended, wide-ranging interview with Williams, his first with a U.S. television network, airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
"The reality is I never intended to end up in Russia," he said. "I had a flight booked to Cuba onwards to Latin America and I was stopped because the United States government decided to revoke my passport and trap me in Moscow Airport.
"So when people ask why are you in Russia, I say, 'Please ask the State Department."
Secretary of State John Kerry hit back in a live interview on TODAY.
"For a supposedly smart guy, that's a pretty dumb answer, frankly," Kerry said. "If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to the United States today, we'll have him on a flight today.
"We'd be delighted for him to come back. He should come back. That's what a patriot would do. A patriot would not run away and look for refuge in Russia or Cuba or some other country. A patriot would stand up in the United States and make his case to the American people," Kerry added.
"He can come home but he's a fugitive from justice which is why he is not being permitted to fly around the world," he said.
Asked whether he had changed his mind about the nature of Snowden's actions, Kerry said Snowden "stole" information and did "great damage" to the United States.
"The fact is if he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust in the American system of justice," Kerry said.
"But to be hiding in Russia, an authoritarian country, and to have just admitted he was really just trying to get to Cuba — what does that tell you?" he added. "I think he's confused. I think it's very sad."
In an interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC, Kerry called Snowden a "coward" and a "traitor."
"There are many a patriot. You can go back to the Pentagon Papers with Dan Ellsberg and others who stood and went to court system of America and made their case."
He said Snowden's leaks had concrete effects.
"What he's done is expose for terrorists a lot of mechanisms which now affect operational security of those terrorists and make it harder for the United States to break up plots, harder to protect our nation," he said.
Kerry was also asked about Snowden's exclusive NBC News interview while appearing on CBS.
"He should man up and come back to the United States," the secretary of state said.