New York, New York -
(NBC News) Is Edward Snowden a traitor or a patriot?
In his most extensive televised interview since taking asylum in Russia the National Security Agency whistleblower defended his actions as those of a patriot.
"Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen from the violations and encroachments of adversaries," Snowden told NBC's Brian Williams. "And those adversaries don't have to be foreign countries. They can be bad policies."
Snowden insists he did try to work within the system, complaining repeatedly to supervisors before fleeing the country and going public with classified documents bearing extensive details of the NSA's phone and online surveillance.
For now, there's no "out" for Snowden. Even after this interview, Secretary of State John Kerry called him a traitor.
Snowden insists he did the right thing.
"What is right is not the same as what is legal. Sometimes to do the right thing you have to break a law," he says. "I may have lost my ability to travel but I've gained the ability to go to sleep at night."
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