Gordon-Levitt defends Snowden
© Domingo Juan

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Edward Snowden in an upcoming Oliver Stone film, said on Friday that the NSA whistleblower deeply wishes he could return to the United States.

“He doesn’t want to live in Russia at all,” Gordon-Levitt told The Guardian of Snowden, whom he met earlier this year.

“He was in good spirits, [but] certainly there was that note, that he would very much like to come home,” he said.

“What I found was someone warm, kind, thoughtful.” Gordon-Levitt added.

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In 2013 Snowden leaked troves of information about the NSA’s global surveillance programs. He fled U.S. authorities and eventually landed in Russia, where he remains.

Gordon-Levitt argued on Friday that Snowden acted ethically by exposing the NSA’s spying two years ago.

“I left knowing that without a doubt that what [Snowden] did, he did because he believed it was the right thing to do, that he believed it would help the country he loves,” Gordon-Levitt said.

He added that he hopes viewers of “Snowden" reach their own conclusions about his motivations and whether they see him as hero or a traitor.

“Now, as he would say, it’s not for him to say whether it was right or wrong,” Gordon-Levitt said.

“That’s really for people to decide on their own, and I would encourage anybody to decide that on their own,” he said. “I don’t want to be the actor guy who’s like, ‘You should listen me! What he did was right!'

“I don’t think that’s my place,” Gordon-Levitt added. “Even though that is what I believe — that what he did was right.”

Snowden’s leak sparked a national debate over how the U.S. government collects its intelligence. The USA Freedom Act passed last June curtailed some of the NSA’s more controversial spying practices, namely the bulk collection of phone metadata from people in the U.S.