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Snowden: Prepared for Prison, But Won't Serve to Discourage Other Whistleblowers

In new BBC interview, Edward Snowden describes his attempts to reach plea deal and reveals how spy agencies can unlock your smartphone at will

"What I won’t do is I won’t serve as a deterrent to people trying to do the right thing in difficult situations," said NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. (Photo: CyberHades/flickr/cc)

"What I won’t do is I won’t serve as a deterrent to people trying to do the right thing in difficult situations," said NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. (Photo: CyberHades/flickr/cc)

Edward Snowden repeatedly reached out to the U.S. Department of Justice in search of a plea deal—and even expressed willingness to serve time in prison—but has so far received no response, the NSA whistleblower told BBC Panorama in an interview slated to air Monday night.

"I've volunteered to go to prison with the government many times," said Snowden, who is currently living under asylum protection in Russia. "What I won’t do is I won’t serve as a deterrent to people trying to do the right thing in difficult situations."

Asked if he is prepared to face jail, Snowden answered: "Of course."

Despite his willingness to submit to some level of incarceration, Snowden said the DOJ has yet to respond to those gestures. "We are still waiting for them to call us back," he told the BBC.

The revelation comes months after former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder said the "possibility exists" that Snowden, who is wanted for charges under the Espionage Act, could reach a plea deal with the U.S.

Others, however, have struck a far harsher tone. Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA, told Panorama in Monday's interview that Snowden is "going to die in Moscow. He's not coming home."

Snowden insisted in his Panorama interview that he is a whistleblower, not a spy or a traitor.

And people around the world agree. Two years after Snowden's disclosures to journalists sparked a global debate about U.S., UK, and international mass surveillance, many are taking inspiration from his revelations.

The 32-year-old has been lauded around the world, and many are calling for him to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Last month, a new global pact, introduced as the "Snowden Treaty," was launched by civil liberties advocates to "curtail mass surveillance and protect the rights of whistleblowers."

In a separate segment, Snowden revealed that British spy agency GCHQ has the ability to control smart phones.

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