NSA WHISTLEBLOWER Edward Snowden isn't a fan of living in Russia, and has said that he wants his right to travel restored.
Speaking to the human rights parliamentary assembly in Strassbourg on Tuesday via a video link from Moscow, Snowden coughed on his true feelings for his present location.
"I didn't choose to be in Russia," he said. "If the Russian government had a choice I'm sure they'd prefer me not to be here. Since I came here I've been very open in saying I want to restore my right to travel... live a normal life."
Snowden added that he has been limited in his options however, with 20 countries having refused his application for asylum. Of course, Snowden would ideally go back to his American homeland, but there he is accused of several crimes, including deliberately exposing classified information belonging to the intelligence services.
He doesn't regret blowing the whistle on the US National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, however, despite facing 10 years or more in prison, saying that the public has a right to know.
"Public affairs have to be known by the public," Snowden said, "When citizens are reduced to the status of subjects, where we're not active participants ... that diminishes us as a free people, as a society and as a culture."
Snowden added that while the NSA's mass surveillance efforts are largely ineffective, saying that the bulk surveillance programmes have never stopped a single incident, he said such spying is likely to continue, regardless of the legal consequences.
"The NSA and other intelligence services never rely on a single method to gather information. They don't have an exhaustible, finite supply of intelligence-gathering systems," he said.
"Intelligence agencies are like a factory, whenever they need a new method they make one; they get scientists and researchers and get a new one. If a government or someone burned a specific method they'd just make more. That's how any intelligence agency around the world runs." µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ