Secretary of State John Kerry said accused National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden had “damaged his country very significantly, ” and called on him to “man up and come back to the United States.”
Snowden has taken refuge in Russia after being the alleged mastermind behind an extensive series of leaked secrets involving the inner workings of one of America’s most secretive spying programs.
In a recent interview with NBC, Snowden claimed he was “trained as a spy, ” and that he chose to remain in Russia because he feared an unfair trial back home, and because the U.S. decided to “revoke my passport.”
Kerry, in an interview with “CBS This Morning,“was dismissive of those comments.
“The bottom line is this man has betrayed his country, sitting in Russia where he has taken refuge,” Kerry said. “You know, he should man up and come back to the United States.”
Kerry argued that he should make his case openly and freely in the U.S. criminal justice system.
“Instead he’s sitting there taking pot shots at his country, violating the oath that he took,” Kerry said.
Snowden, as well as his family and friends, have argued he could not get a fair trial in the U.S. because of all the public denunciations by members of Congress, but even that the Justice Department has acted publicly under a presumption of guilt. As an example, they cite the letter Attorney General Eric Holder wrote to Russian officials seeking Snowden’s extradition, in which Holder promised the former analyst wouldn’t be executed.
Kerry added Wednesday to the Obama administration’s intense criticism of Snowden, saying he had “hurt operational security.”
“He has told terrorists what they can now do to (avoid) detection,” Kerry said. “I find it sad and disgraceful.”