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Snowden denies being used by Russia in rare interview with U.S. media
Former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden said he had no relationship with the Russian government and had given Moscow no intelligence documents after nearly a year of asylum there.
"I'm not supported by the Russian government. I'm not taking money from the Russian government," Snowden told NBC's Brian Williams, in his first interview with a U.S. television network that aired Wednesday evening.
Snowden said he destroyed classified materials before transiting to a Moscow airport. "I took nothing to Russia, so I could give them nothing."
But former NSA Director Keith Alexander said earlier this month that it was likely Snowden was under the control of Russian intelligence agencies.
"I think he is now being manipulated by Russian intelligence. I just don't know when that exactly started or how deep it runs," Alexander said in an interview with the Australian Financial Review newspaper.
Snowden is believed to have taken 1.7 million computerized documents. The leaked documents revealed massive programs run by the NSA that gathered information on emails, phone calls and Internet use, in many cases, by hundreds of millions of Americans.
He was charged last year in the United States with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person.
Snowden said he would like to go home, saying "If I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home."
But he added he would apply for an extension as his one-year asylum in Russia expires on Aug. 1.
U.S. officials said Snowden was welcome to return to the United States if he wanted to face justice for leaking details of massive U.S. intelligence-gathering programs.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry invited Snowden to "man up and come back to the United States."
"If he has a complaint about what's the matter with American surveillance, come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case," Kerry told the CBS "This Morning" program on Wednesday.
[Source: Xinhua, Washington, 29May14]
Privacy and counterintelligence
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