As information from Edward Snowden's upcoming interview with NBC's Brian Williams began to leak out, the public was shocked at Snowden's claim that he was actually trained by the CIA as a spy. According to the BBC on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls Snowden "confused" and encourages him to "man up" and come back to this country to face the United States system of justice. Kerry says that a patriot would not run away as Snowden did. Kerry pledged that the government would have him on a flight back to the United States today.
Snowden has explained in the interview that it is not correct to characterize him as a low-level analyst. Although he did not actually engage in recruiting spies, he worked in the technical end of things under a veil of secrecy and often in other countries. He claims to have actually been assigned a false name at one time. CNN has the quote from the man commonly known as the NSA leaker:
I've worked for the National Security Agency, undercover, overseas. And I've worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency as a lecturer at the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy, where I developed sources and methods for keeping our information and people secure in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world."
Snowden is currently in Russia where he has been afforded temporary asylum after leaking sensitive documents that proved the United States government had been involved in an extensive data collection on many fronts. The information he gradually released through journalist Glenn Greenwald sparked a controversial debate about privacy, patriotism and limits on governmental surveillance. Secretary Kerry has called the release of the NSA documents as doing great damage to the United States.
The actions taken by Snowden have prompted President Obama to initiate legislation to rein in the government’s ability to collect data on its citizens. The bill is now in the Senate, after passing in the House. The bill would prohibit the government from storing telephone data on its own and require a court order to access information that would only be held by the telecom companies.