MOSCOW, March 4 (UPI) -- Edward Snowden has been living in Russia for two and-a-half years, and he wants to return home to the United States, he said Wednesday during a teleconference viewed by Canadian university students.
Considered one of the highest profile whistleblowers in American history, Snowden said he is working with his lawyers regarding the possibility of returning to the United States. Wednesday's teleconference coincided with the University of Toronto's release of a cache of classified documents purloined by the former Defense Department contractor.
In speaking to journalism students at Ryerson University, Snowden said he wants to return to the United States -- but only if he believes he will get a fair trial. His attorneys are looking into whether that's likely.
During the teleconference, Snowden also said he tries to use as little technology as possible because modern communication devices could be attractive targets for any type of surveillance. He noted one example, saying two cellphones left together overnight could give off all types of private and inaccurate information if someone's monitoring them.
"Is that the kind of world we want to live in?" he asked.
Snowden began his road of U.S. ostracization in late 2012 when he began contacting individuals in the media about the sensitive materials of which he'd come into possession. The following May, Snowden's story was printed in Britain's The Guardian -- which effectively blew the lid off the case. Knowing he faced perhaps serious repercussions, he traveled to Hong Kong just prior to the Guardian's report.
Snowden could have asked the media to withhold his name, but he refused to -- saying he felt that he had nothing to hide. After spending about a month in Hong Kong, he flew to Russia where the government granted him asylum.
U.S. authorities have since charged Snowden with espionage and have tried to have him extradited, but Russian officials have so far refused.
The archive, compiled by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the University of Toronto's Politics of Surveillance Project (CJFE), includes every published document that was leaked by Snowden.
"We believe this tool is just the start of the many important stories to come, and hope this will help the public engage in conversation about government surveillance practices," said Tom Henheffer, executive director of the CJFE.
The archive can be found on the CJFE's website.
Snowden came into possession of the classified documents after seven years working for the Central Intelligence Agency and Dell Computer, the latter of which classified him as a contractor for the National Security Agency.
In June 2013, the U.S. government formally charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.
"I would love to go back and face a fair trial, but unfortunately ... there is no fair trial available on offer right now," Snowden said.