Edward Snowden gave his first televised interview Wednesday night, speaking with NBC journalist Brian Williams in a remarkably candid hour-long sit down.
Despite the Obama administration's claim that Snowden was simply a low-level analyst, the embattled 30-year-old former government employee insisted that he's a "trained spy" who exposed NSA surveillance programs out of a sense of patriotic duty.
Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country," said Snowden. "I think it's important to remember people don't set their lives on fire, they don't walk away from extraordinarily comfortable lives for no reason."
While Snowden was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, he remains an intensely controversial figure, branded by many within the Obama administration as a treasonous traitor.
"If I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home," said Snowden, who's currently living in Russia to avoid prosecution.
Snowden claimed that he's "still serving" the US and insisted that all three branches of the American government have "enacted reforms" based on the revelations of his whistleblowing campaign.
In a segment certain terrify many Americans, Snowden detailed the many ways in which the NSA can use technology to keep tabs on private citizens.
Snowden claimed that government analysts "can actually watch people's Internet communications, watch their Internet correspondence, watch their thoughts as they type."
He also explained to Williams the various ways in which any world government with an espionage program can "own" any individual cell phone, but stated that such actions are only taken on a "targeted" basis.
Despite his issues with the way the agency "interprets its legal authorities," Snowden concluded that the NSA "does good work for good reasons."
Speaking on a more personal level, Snowden described his life in Russia, explaining that he's able to live "more or less as an American" thanks to the "beauty of the Internet."
Snowden stated that he's recently begun watching the acclaimed surveillance-based HBO series The Wire, but added that he considers the show's second season "not so great."