May 29, 2014 - 12:08 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has labeled intelligence leaker Edward Snowden a fugitive from justice who should "man up" and return home, BBC News reports.
Kerry added that if Snowden, 30, "believes in America, he should trust the American system of justice".
His comments come in the wake of an interview with NBC in which Snowden said he sought asylum in Russia because the U.S. revoked his passport.
Snowden also described himself as a trained spy, not a low-level analyst.
"A patriot would not run away," Kerry said on Wednesday, May 28. "If Snowden wants to come back to the United States... we'll have him on a flight today."
Kerry also called the former National Security Agency contractor "confused", adding "this is a man who has done great damage to his country".
"He should man up and come back to the U.S.," Kerry said.
In the NBC interview, Snowden claims he was trained as a spy who worked undercover overseas for the CIA and NSA. But he described himself as a technical expert who did not recruit agents.
"What I do is I put systems to work for the U.S.," he said. "And I've done that at all levels from the bottom on the ground all the way to the top. Now, the government might deny these things, they might frame it in certain ways and say, 'Oh well, you know, he's - he's a low-level analyst.'"
When Snowden fled the U.S. in May 2013, he had been working as a technician for Booz Allen, a giant government contractor for the NSA.
Last year, he fed a trove of secret NSA documents to news outlets including the Washington Post and the Guardian.
Among other things, the leaks detailed the NSA's practice of harvesting data on millions of telephone calls made in the U.S. and around the world, and revealed the agency had snooped on foreign leaders.
The revelations have sparked a debate in the U.S. over the appropriate role of the NSA and the extent to which it should be authorized to conduct such broad surveillance.
President Barack Obama has asked Congress to rein in the program by barring the NSA from storing phone call data on its own and to require it to seek a court order to access telecom companies' records.
Last week, the U.S. House passed such legislation, sending it to the U.S. Senate.