Whistleblower contractor Edward Snowden has told a US television interviewer that he is not in bed with the Russian government and had given Moscow no intelligence documents after nearly a year of asylum there.
Snowden told NBC News he had no relationship with the Russian government at all. He was not supported by the Russian government. He’s not taking money from the Russian government and he’s not a spy.
However former NSA director Keith Alexander said it was unlikely Russian security services have not squeezed Snowden for secrets and Snowden was being manipulated by Russian intelligence.
Snowden, who said he would like to come back to the US, said he destroyed classified materials before transiting to a Moscow airport, where he was prevented from onward travel.
“I took nothing to Russia, so I could give them nothing,” he told NBC.
Snowden briefly criticised the crackdown on freedom of expression under Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Describing himself as a defender of privacy and civil liberties, he said it was “frustrating” to “end up stuck in a place where those rights are being challenged in ways that he considers deeply unfair.
Secretary of State John Kerry invited Snowden to “man up and come back to the United States” where he can be locked up for trillions of years.
Of course Snowden said he would not simply “walk into a jail cell,” and that if his one-year asylum in Russia, which expires on August 1, “looks like it’s going to run out, then of course I would apply for an extension.”