Nightly News   |  July 12, 2013

Snowden emerges after weeks in hiding

NSA leaker Edward Snowden now says he wants to stay in Russia, temporarily, until he can travel safety to Latin America. NBC’s Jim Maceda reports.

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>>> a defiant edward snowden briefly emerged from hiding today in moscow . the fugitive former intelligence contractor met with human rights groups, said he hopes to remain in russia , at least for now. our report tonight from nbc's jim maceda in moscow .

>> reporter: the world hadn't seen edward snowden for three weeks. but there he was, meeting with human rights lawyers and russian officials inside the transit zone of a moscow airport, his temporary home. "he looked perfectly well to me," he said. "he seemed a bit pale but very neat." he came out swinging, attacking the u.s. and its allies for what he called unlawful actions, preventing him from traveling to asylum in latin america .

>> i did not seek to enrich myself. i did not seek to sell u.s. secrets. i did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety.

>> reporter: he now says he wants to stay in russia temporarily until he can travel safely to venezuela, nicaragua, or bolivia.

>> i do intend to ask for political asylum in russia .

>> reporter: snowden 's problem is that he remains stuck here. he needs russia to grant him asylum just so he can leave the airport, get some space, and figure out his best move. the white house today said snowden was an accused felon, not a human rights activist , and slammed his russian hosts.

>> providing a propaganda platform for mr. snowden runs counter to the russian government 's previous declarations of russia 's neutrality.

>> reporter: tonight the airport is back to normal, with snowden somewhere deep inside . now the prized piece in an international high-stakes game of chess. jim maceda, nbc news, moscow .