In a plea to Macron during an interview broadcast on France’s Inter radio on Monday, Snowden said “protecting whistleblowers is not a hostile act,” adding that he feels entitled to get protected status in the country, according to Reuters.
“But it’s not about France, it’s about Europe, it’s about the world and the system that we have. Protecting whistleblowers is not a hostile act. Welcoming someone like me is not an attack on the United States,” he said.
The former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor gained international attention after he leaked classified documents about government surveillance programs. He is living in Russia to avoid prosecution in the United States.
Snowden has unsuccessfully sought asylum in several countries after leaving the United States. France previously denied Snowden’s request for asylum in 2013 when Macron’s predecessor, Francois Hollande, was the country’s leader, Reuters noted.
Snowden is currently promoting a memoir and will appear on two U.S. news broadcasts on Monday. He is set to join both “CBS This Morning” and MSNBC’s Brian Williams to detail his experiences in hiding since fleeing the U.S. in 2013.
Snowden has made very few media appearances during his six years in exile, though he did sit down with HBO’s John Oliver for an interview in 2015.