Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who remains in exile in Russia after leaking secret government documents back in 2013, said Monday he wants to come back to the United States, but the government has "refused to guarantee" he gets a fair trial.
However, he told "CBS This Morning" that he doesn't expect a pass, a pardon, or "a parade."
"If I'm gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial, and that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won't provide access to what's called a public interest defense," Snowden told show anchor Gayle King in a remote interview from Russia.
Snowden is speaking to several media outlets while promoting his memoir "Permanent Record," which is being released Tuesday.
He fled the country after disclosing the government's programs that collect American citizens' communications in the name of national security and has been charged as a criminal through the Espionage Act.
Snowden said Monday the government wants to use "special procedures" to close the courtroom, and it does not want a jury to be able to consider the motivations behind his actions.
"Was it better for the United States?" he said. "Did it benefit us or did it cause harm? They don't want the jury to consider that at all."
Snowden acknowledged that it wouldn't be hard to make the argument that he broke the law, but the government won't show how he harmed national security.
"If they had some classified evidence that a hair on a single person's head was harmed, you know as well as I do, it would be on the front page of The New York Times by the end of the day," said Snowden.
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