Snowden Says "Stranded In Russia By State Department"; Kerry Blasts "Man-Up And Come Back To US"

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This evening's interview between Edward Snowden and NBC's Brian Williams is already stirring up controversy. In one excerpt, Snowden blames the State Department for "stranding him" in Russia, saying he "never intended" to wind up there. John Kerry has been quick to react to this "For a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer, frankly," Kerry said. "If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to the United States today, we'll have him on a flight today." In an interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC, Kerry called Snowden a "coward" and a "traitor," adding that "he should man up and come back to the United States," the secretary of state said. There is a live special at 11ET (below) after the televised interview.

 

As NBC reports,Snowden was "stranded" in Russia by the State Department...

"I personally am surprised that I ended up here," Snowden said in the interview, an excerpt of which aired on TODAY on Wednesday morning.

 

Snowden's comments about his new home came in an extended, wide-ranging interview with Williams, his first with a U.S. television network, airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

 

"The reality is I never intended to end up in Russia," he said. "I had a flight booked to Cuba onwards to Latin America and I was stopped because the United States government decided to revoke my passport and trap me in Moscow Airport.

 

"So when people ask why are you in Russia, I say, 'Please ask the State Department."

To which John Kerry responded...

 

"For a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer, frankly," Kerry said. "If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to the United States today, we'll have him on a flight today.

 

"We'd be delighted for him to come back. He should come back. That's what a patriot would do. A patriot would not run away and look for refuge in Russia or Cuba or some other country. A patriot would stand up in the United States and make his case to the American people," Kerry added.

 

"He can come home but he’s a fugitive from justice which is why he is not being permitted to fly around the world," he said.

 

Asked whether he had changed his mind about the nature of Snowden's actions, Kerry said Snowden "stole" information and did "great damage" to the United States.

 

"The fact is if he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust in the American system of justice," Kerry said.

 

"But to be hiding in Russia, an authoritarian country, and to have just admitted he was really just trying to get to Cuba — what does that tell you?" he added. "I think he's confused. I think it's very sad."

 

In an interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC, Kerry called Snowden a "coward" and a "traitor."

 

...

 

"He should man up and come back to the United States," the secretary of state said.

Snowden also fought back against critics who dismissed him as a low-level hacker — saying he was “trained as a spy” and offered technical expertise to high levels of government.

At 11pm ET Brian Williams will be hosting a live special analysis of what was said...