NBC released a preview clip from a widely-promoted Brian Williams interview with whistleblower Edward Snowden, which airs tonight, Wednesday May 28, at 10pm EDT. The hour-long interview is the former NSA contractor's first US television interview since leaking NSA documents to reporters.
NBC says the interview was "shrouded in secrecy due to Snowden's life in exile since leaking classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs a year ago."
Williams describes Snowden as "blindingly smart," despite the fact that he only has a high school GED.
On NBC, Williams also interviews Snowden with reporter Glenn Greenwald, and they discuss how they ended up working together on the reporting.
Snowden says he was trained as a spy, not a low-level contractor as previously stated by government reps. "I personally am surprised that I ended up" in Russia, he tells Williams. Snowden says he was stranded in Russia by his own government.
The reality is I never intended to end up in Russia. 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.'
On NBC Today, Secretary of State John Kerry calls that "dumb."
For a supposedly smart guy, that's a pretty dumb answer, frankly. 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. He can come home but he's a fugitive from justice which is why he is not being permitted to fly around the world.
On CBS News, the Secretary of State said Snowden should "should man up and come back to the United States."
Under Espionage Act charges, however, Snowden would not be entitled to a trial by a jury of his peers.
Here's a preview clip from the interview. NBC will likely release more video online after the broadcast.