Kerry calls on Snowden to 'man up' and face the people of America

 

US correspondent

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, yesterday urged Edward Snowden to “man up and come back to the United States”, after the whistle-blower had granted a wide-ranging television interview to a US network.

Mr Kerry was responding to Mr Snowden’s interview in which the former National Security Agency analyst accused the US government of “misleading” the public about the extent of his intelligence background and expertise.

Last year Mr Snowden, 30, leaked a vast cache of classified documents to the media, revealing the reach of secret US surveillance programmes and setting off an international debate about the balance between privacy and security. Interviewed by NBC anchor Brian Williams in Moscow, where he fled following the leaks, Mr Snowden said he was not merely a “low-level systems administrator”, as the US authorities claimed.

“I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word,” he said, “in that I lived and worked undercover overseas – pretending to work in a job that I’m not – and even being assigned a name that was not mine.” But, he added: “I am a technical expert. I don’t work with people. I don’t recruit agents. What I do is I put systems to work for the United States. And I’ve done that at all levels – from the bottom on the ground all the way to the top.”

The Obama administration has repeatedly downplayed Mr Snowden’s role in the intelligence services, he said. “They’re trying to use one position that I’ve had in a career, here or there, to distract from the totality of my experience, which is that I’ve worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, undercover, overseas.

“I’ve worked for the National Security Agency, undercover, overseas. And I’ve worked for the Defence Intelligence Agency as a lecturer at the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy, where I developed sources and methods for keeping our information and people secure in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world.”

US Secretary of State, John Kerry (AP) US Secretary of State, John Kerry (AP)
The interview took place at Moscow’s Kempinski Hotel last week, following several months of negotiations between NBC and Mr Snowden’s representatives. The hour-long interview, his first with a US news organisation, was due to be broadcast yesterday.

Speaking to The New York Times, Williams described Mr Snowden as “blindingly smart”, adding: “What’s going to be most interesting is to see if [the interview] moves the conversation or changes any minds.”

Mr Snowden said in the interview that he had never intended to stay in Russia, but was passing through on a connecting flight to Cuba when the US revoked his passport, forcing him to remain in Moscow. Asked to respond, Mr Kerry told NBC: “For a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer.”

He went on: “If Mr Snowden wants to come back to the United States today, we’ll have him on a flight today… and he should come back, and that’s what a patriot would do. A patriot would not run away and look for refuge in Russia or Cuba. A patriot would stand up in the United States and make his case to the American people. The fact is that he can come home, but he’s a fugitive from justice which is why he is not being permitted to fly around the world.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

Berlusconi's world of sleaze

The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

Could gaming arcades be revived?

The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

Heard the one about menstruation?

Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage