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Nightly News   |  December 24, 2013

Mission accomplished, says Snowden

Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker who set off a worldwide debate about government surveillance, is speaking out in a rare interview with the Washington Post. NBC's Pete Williams reports.

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>>> and tonight, edward snowden says he considers his mission accomplished . he is speaking out in a rare interview with " washington post ." we get more from our chief correspondent, pete williams .

>> reporter: good evening, snowden talked in discussion to a " washington post " contributor and one of three journalists who received his classified documents. snowden said in the interview he has no regrets.

>> reporter: they met somewhere in moscow, the story doesn't reveal the location in an area where the curtains were closed. snowden said, i already won, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission is already accomplished. snowden spoke for hours, according to the reporter who conducted the interview for "the washington post ".

>> he is very much at peace with his choices. he wants to inspire, provoke a public debate. he has succeeded in that beyond any reasonable ambition.

>> reporter: snowden claimed that he first raised his concerns about the reach of government surveillance to nsa co-workers and supervisors more than a year ago.

>> almost recklessly, if you don't want to get caught, he was asking them about what he called the front page test, you know, what do you think the american people would think if they knew about this?

>> reporter: but the nsa says the investigation turned up no investigation on snowden 's claims that he brought up the claims to somebody's attention there. snowden says he is still working for the nsa right now, only they don't realize it. asked who wanted him to reveal so many secrets, snowden said he was prompted by the lack of oversight, and too much a acqiiesence.

>> unfortunately he caused damage, but for him to see himself as a patriot or a prophet, it is totally wrong.

>> reporter: as for his life now, snowden says he is living like an inside cat.

>> he is essentially sitting somewhere in russia, eating ramen noodles and chips and living the life he lived before.

>> reporter: tomorrow, snowden appears on british video, and ends it with this. together, we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance , and remind the government if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.