Snowden says Petraeus shared 'far more highly classified material than I ever did'

In a new face-to-face interview, Edward Snowden said the US justice department has a "two-tiered system of justice" and used Gen. Petraeus as an example.

Image: CBS News

Edward Snowden blasted the US justice department in an interview with Yahoo News on Sunday, saying "we have a two-tiered system of justice in the United States" that allows the well connected to get off with light punishments.

Edward Snowden: Don't fear Trump, fear the surveillance state

The NSA whistleblower spoke for the first time since Trump's election victory.

Read More

Snowden, a fugitive and former NSA contractor who revealed the organization's worldwide spying powers in 2013, pointed to the case of former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus as evidence.

"Perhaps the best-known case in recent history here is General Petraeus who shared information that was far more highly classified than I ever did with journalists," Snowden told Katie Couric, global news anchor at Yahoo. "And he shared this information not with the public for their benefit, but with his biographer and lover for personal benefit conversations that had information, detailed information, about military special access programs that's classified above Top Secret, conversations with the president, and so on."

Couric traveled to Moscow for the face-to-face interview, where Snowden remains in exile. The full interview will be available to view Monday on YouTube.

Couric asked Snowden what plea bargain he might accept. He cited uncertainty, as "no charges are ever brought, or they're brought very minimally" against others involved in the government or intelligence community. Snowden is facing much more.

"When the government came after [Petraeus], they charged him with a misdemeanor," Snowden said. "He never spent a single day in jail, despite the type of classified information he exposed...We have a two-tiered system of justice in the United States where people who are either well connected to government or they have access to an incredible amount of resources, get very light punishments."

Gen. Petraeus, reportedly a secretary of state candidate under President-elect Donald Trump, apologized for his "mistake" on ABC's "This Week."

"Five years ago, I made a serious mistake. I acknowledged it, I apologized for it, I paid a very heavy price for it, and I've learned from it," Petraeus said Sunday.

Any regrets, Edward Snowden? "I'd have come forward sooner"

The former NSA contractor turned whistleblower said during a Reddit question-and-answer session that the leaks have also improved security and encryption in Silicon Valley.

Read More