September 13, 2019 - 11:08 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden says he would come back to the U.S. for trial — but only if he could tell a jury why he leaked the information to journalists. And if he was assured that the jury could see the classified material he leaked — to assess for itself whether he did the right thing, Snowden said in an interview with the NPR.
Snowden revealed some of the agency's top surveillance programs years earlier.
Snowden has lived in Russia for six years, where he first received asylum and he now has permanent residence. He is under indictment in the U.S., facing charges of violating the Espionage Act, after providing journalists with highly classified documents about the government's PRISM surveillance program in June 2013.
His new memoir, "Permanent Record" is part coming-of-age-with-the-Internet story, part spy tale and — his critics might say — an attempt to try to justify betraying his country.
In a phone interview from Moscow on Thursday, September 12, Snowden said, "It was not my choice to be here, and this is what people forget. ... It was not my choice to live in Russia." He noted that he sought asylum in 27 countries and the U.S. government canceled his passport."
"You can't have a fair trial about the disclosure of information unless the jury can evaluate whether it was right or wrong to reveal this information," he said in response to a question about his possible return to the U.S.
By coming back for only "sentencing," he said, he wouldn't be setting the right example for others who might be in a similar situation.