NSA former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden ponders as he participates via video link from Russia to a parliamentary hearing on the subject of 'Improving the protection of whistleblowers' on June 23, 2015, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, northeastern France. Snowden, who has been granted asylum in Russia, is being sought by Washington which has branded him a hacker and a traitor who endangered lives by revealing the extent of the NSA spying program. AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN (Photo credit should read FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 8: The former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and leaker Edward Snowden's bust on display as a 'special guest project' in an annual collaborative exhibition called SEVEN at The Boiler, a Brooklyn art gallery, in New York on May 8, 2015. The bust was illegally installed in Brooklyns Fort Greene Park last month. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 06: Half ripped of flyer with a portrait of Edward Snowden and the request to grant him asylum on August 06, 2014, in Berlin, Germany. Edward Snowden came to international attention after disclosing to several media outlets thousands of classified documents that he acquired while working as an NSA contractor for Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)***Local Caption***
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 11: General view of atmosphere at the Edward Snowden Interviewed by Jane Mayer at the MasterCard stage at SVA Theatre during The New Yorker Festival 2014 on October 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The New Yorker)
DRESDEN, GERMANY - JANUARY 05: A sticker demanding asylum for whistleblower and former NSA worker Edward Snowden hangs stuck to a lamppost on January 5, 2015 in Dresden, Germany. Many Germans favour granting Snowden asylum in Germany following reports that the NSA has conducted extensive eavesrodpping operations in Germany and even listened in on the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden is shown on a livestream from Moscow during the Right Livelihood Award ceremony at the Swedish Parliament, in Stockholm, on December 1, 2014. Snowden was awarded the Right Livelihood Honorary Award 'for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights. The Right Livelihood Award was founded by journalist and professional philatelist Jakob von Uexkull in 1980. AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY / Pontus Lundahl / SWEDEN OUT (Photo credit should read PONTUS LUNDAHL/AFP/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 14: Former German Interior Minister Gerhard Baum speaks as former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen on a video conference screen during an award ceremony for the Carl von Ossietzky journalism prize on December 14, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Filmmaker Laura Poitras, Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald (the latter two in absentia) were awarded the prize by the International League for Human Rights for having 'put their personal freedom on the line to expose abuse of power' by Germany and the United States in their revelations of the extent of government surveillance on ordinary citizens in the name of 'national security' in the wake of terrorist attacks. The prize is named for journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ossietzky, who died from complications from being held as a dissident in a Nazi concentration camp. A bid to allow Snowden, who has temporary asylum in Moscow, to testify in Berlin before an NSA parliamentary inquiry is ongoing. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Edward Snowden, Internet Party leader Laila Harre, Robert Amsterdam, Glenn Greenwald and Kim Dotcom discuss the revelations about New Zealand's mass surveillance at Auckland Town Hall on September 15, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. The general election in New Zealand will be held this weekend, on 20 September 2014. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 10: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks via videoconference at 'A Virtual Conversation with Edward Snowden' during the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Austin Convention Center on March 10, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Travis P Ball/Getty Images for SXSW)
Activists take part in a demonstration asking Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (L) to grant Edward Snowden political asylum during the Expo Catadores 2013 at the Anhembi Pavilion in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on December 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Miguel SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday called National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden a fugitive and challenged him to "man up and come back to the United States." Snowden says in an interview that he would like to go home.
The former NSA contract systems analyst is living in Russia on a temporary grant of asylum after leaking a massive volume of NSA documents to the media. He told anchorman Brian Williams of NBC News that he had taken action in the belief that he was serving his country in exposing the surveillance programs of the NSA.
"I don't think there's ever been any question that I'd like to go home," Snowden said in a segment of the interview broadcast Wednesday night. "Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say. That's a debate for the public and the government to decide. But, if I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home."
Kerry's comments came before NBC aired that portion of the Snowden interview. On the matter of Snowden returning, Kerry told the "Today" show on NBC: "If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to the United States, we'll have him on a flight today." Kerry also said, "A patriot would not run away."
Snowden told Williams that 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.
National security adviser Susan Rice said in a CNN interview that Snowden never worked undercover.
"Let him come back and make his case," Kerry said. "If he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust the American system of justice."
Snowden said he never intended to be holed up in Russia but was forced to go there because Washington decided to "revoke my passport." In response, Kerry said: "Well, for a supposedly smart guy, that's a pretty dumb answer, after all."
"I think he's confused," Kerry said. "I think it's very sad. But this is a man who has done great damage to his country."