While admitting to being impressed now with former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, actor and activist George Takei told CNN on Monday he is still leery about Snowden’s status in Russia.
“When he fled, I thought it was unfortunate,” Takei said. “And then he fled, of all places, to that authoritarian Russia, where it’s being presided over by [President Vladimir] Putin. I mean, I think he might have been safer in American prisons than being in Moscow.”
Takei told CNN that he attended Snowden’s video presentation at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. Snowden’s speech, arranged by the American Civil Liberties Union, was reportedly routed through seven proxy servers to keep his whereabouts within Russia secret.
Snowden, who is currently living in Russia under asylum after providing a vast array of classified information to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras last year, said he did not leak the documents “so I could single handedly change the government; what I wanted to do was inform the public so they could provide their consent to what we should do.”
The presentation, Takei said, was enough to sway him from his original belief that Snowden should have stayed in America and face the criminal charges against him.
“What intrigues me is, what next is he gonna do?” Takei continued. “What next can he do? There he is in Russia, with all that authoritarian power around him. Is it gonna come down on him there, and what ramifications does that have for us? I think he’s gonna eventually come back.”
Watch Takei’s interview with CNN, as aired on Monday, below.