In his first American television interview, Edward Snowden defended his disclosure of the American government's use of surveillance programs to spy on its own people, and described himself as a patriot for trying to stop violations of the Constitution.
Snowden met for about five hours last week with "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams at a hotel in Moscow, where Snowden is living in exile while facing U.S. felony charges. An hour-long special program based on the interview is airing Wednesday on NBC News at 10 p.m. Eastern and 9 p.m. Central.
In the wide-ranging and provocative interview, Snowden suggested that a deal could be reached with the U.S. government for him to come home, said he had tried to go through channels before leaking documents to journalists, and described his transition from enthusiastic supporter of American foreign policy, who enlisted for U.S. Army special operations training during the Iraq War, to a disillusioned intelligence worker who said he came to believe that the government took advantage of the September 11 terror attack to overreach into the private lives of all Americans.
When Williams asked, "Do you see yourself as a patriot?" Snowden answered immediately, "I do."