WASHINGTON - Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden says there is no way he can come home to a fair trial under current U.S. law.

In an online chat Thursday, Snowden said returning would be the best resolution. But Snowden said he can't return because he wouldn't be allowed to argue at trial that he acted in the public interest when he revealed the National Security Agency's mass surveillance programs. Snowden says Congress should strengthen legal protections to cover all whistle-blowers.

Snowden is living in Russia under temporary asylum. He faces felony U.S. charges of theft of government property and unauthorized release of national defence information and classified intelligence.

The chat was sponsored by a group raising money for his defence, which promoted it as a chance for Snowden to answer the public's questions.