May 29 - Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden tells a U.S. television interviewer he is not under the control of Russia's government. Sarah Toms reports.
Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden tells a U.S. television interviewer he has not given Moscow any intelligence documents after nearly a year of asylum there. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FUGITIVE FORMER U.S. SPY AGENCY CONTRACTOR EDWARD SNOWDEN SAYING: "So, I have no relationship with the Russian government at all. I've never met the Russian president. I'm not supported by the Russian government. I'm not taking money from the Russian government. I'm not a spy, which is the real question. The best way to make sure that, for example, the Russians can't break my fingers and compromise information or hit me with a bag of money till I give them something was not to have it at all. And the way to do that was by destroying material that I was holding before I transited through Russia." During the NBC interview Snowden criticized the crackdown on freedom of expression under Russian President Vladimir Putin. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FUGITIVE FORMER U.S. SPY AGENCY CONTRACTOR EDWARD SNOWDEN SAYING "It is really frustrating for someone who is working so hard to expand the domain of our rights and our privacy to end up stuck in a place where those rights are being challenged in ways that I would consider deeply unfair He said he sought asylum in Russia because the US revoked his passport. But he added he'd like to go home. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FUGITIVE FORMER U.S. SPY AGENCY CONTRACTOR EDWARD SNOWDEN SAYING: "I don't think there's ever been any question that I'd like to go home. I mean, I've from day one said that I'm doing this to serve my country. 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." Snowden fed a trove of secret NSA documents to news outlets including the Washington Post and the Guardian, detailing the NSA's practice of harvesting data on millions of telephone calls made in the country and around the world.