U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday called National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden a fugitive and challenged him to “man up and come back to the United States.”
Mr. Kerry was asked about Mr. Snowden in the wake of an interview in which the whistleblower said he never intended to be holed up in Russia but was forced to go there because Washington decided to “revoke my passport.”
Asked about this, Mr. Kerry replied on NBC’s Today show - “Well, for a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer, after all.”
“If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to the United States,” Mr. Kerry said, “we’ll have him on a flight today.” Mr. Kerry said Mr. Snowden should “stand up in the United States and make his case to the American people.”
In his interview with NBC anchor Brian Williams, a portion of which was broadcast on Tuesday, Mr. Snowden said he was “trained as a spy” and argued that he had a much larger role in U.S. intelligence than the government has acknowledged.
“I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas,” he said.
Mr. Kerry said, “A patriot would not run away. ... He can come home but he’s a fugitive from justice.”
“Let him come back and make his case,” he added. “If he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust the American system of justice.”
“I think he’s confused,” Mr. Kerry added. “I think it’s very sad. But this is a man who has done great damage to his country.”