Secretary of State John Kerry escalated his criticism of Edward Snowden, calling him a “coward” and a “traitor,” and saying that the NSA document leaker should return to the United States from Russia and “make his case.”
“Edward Snowden is a coward, he is a traitor and he has betrayed his country,” Kerry said in an interview on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” with Chuck Todd. “And if he wants to come home tomorrow to face the music, he can do so.”
Kerry was responding to comments Snowden made in an exclusive interview with “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams. In the wide-ranging interview, airing in full Wednesday at 10 p.m. on NBC, Snowden said he “never intended” to seek asylum in Russia but that the United States trapped him in Moscow by revoking his passport.
"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,” Snowden said.
Kerry said that Snowden’s theft of computerized documents involving National Security Agency spying programs has given valuable information to terrorists and made it harder for the United States to thwart plots against Americans.
“If this man is a patriot, he should stay in the United States and make his case,” he said. “Patriots don't go to Russia, they don't seek asylum in Cuba, they don't seek asylum in Venezuela, they fight their cause here.”
First published May 28 2014, 8:14 AM
Carrie Dann is a national political writer for NBCNews.com. She has worked for NBC and NBCNews.com since 2006. Dann writes about politics and Congress. Dann rejoined the web team after 18 months as a campaign reporter for NBC News, covering presidential and vice presidential candidates during the 2012 election. She also covered the 2007-2008 presidential campaign for NBC, including extensive reporting on the Iowa caucuses.
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Prior to her work at NBCNews.com, Dann was a staff reporter at CongressDaily, where she covered lobbying and government reform.
A Virginia native, she now lives in Washington, D.C.