After months of preparation and negotiation, "Nightly News" anchor and managing editor Brian Williams met former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last week in Moscow for his first interview with a U.S. television network.
This video contains the first images of their five-hour meeting at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski just across the Moscow River from the Kremlin and Red Square. The footage was shot as they walked in a hotel hallway near the library where the interview took place.
The exclusive, wide-ranging interview with Snowden, who received asylum in Russia after leaking classified documents from NSA servers, will air in a one-hour NBC News primetime special on Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central.
"The interview was months in the making and cloaked in the secrecy of his life as a fugitive living in exile overseas," said Williams. "As you will see and hear, Edward Snowden has a lot more to say."
Snowden, now 30, is a former systems administrator for the CIA who later went to work for the private intelligence contractor Dell inside a National Security Agency outpost in Japan. In early 2013, he went to work for Booz Allen Hamilton inside the NSA center in Hawaii.
While working for the contractors, Snowden downloaded secret documents related to U.S. intelligence activities and partnerships with foreign allies, including some that revealed the extent of data collection from U.S. telephone records and Internet activity.
On May 20, 2013, Snowden went to Hong Kong to meet with Greenwald and with filmmaker Laura Poitras. The first articles about his documents appeared in the Guardian and The Washington Post in early June, as did a taped interview with Snowden.
The U.S. government charged Snowden with espionage and revoked his passport. Snowden flew to Moscow on June 23, but was unable to continue en route to Latin America because he no longer had a passport.
After living in the airport transit area for more than a month, and applying for asylum in more than 21 countries, he was granted temporary asylum in Russia, where he has been living ever since.
U.S. officials have asserted that Snowden may have taken as many as 1.7 million documents. Among the revelations from documents in the Snowden trove are the NSA’s bulk collection of phone and internet metadata from U.S. users, spying on the personal communications of foreign leaders, including U.S. allies, and the NSA’s ability to tap undersea fiber optic cables and siphon off data.
President Barack Obama responded by appointing a review panel that criticized the NSA's domestic data collection, and in March he recommended ending bulk domestic metadata collection. This week, the House passed a bill to end the NSA’s bulk domestic metadata collection.