• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 1:37am
Edward Snowden
NewsHong Kong

EXCLUSIVE: Whistle-blower Edward Snowden talks to South China Morning Post

Ex-CIA contractor speaks to reporter from secret location in Hong Kong, revealing fresh details of US surveillance, pressure on Hong Kong, snooping and cyber attacks on China.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 8:51pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 June, 2013, 3:31am

Surveillance whistle-blower Edward Snowden has spoken for the first time since blowing his own cover in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.

The ex-CIA analyst has been holed up in secret locations in Hong Kong since fleeing Hawaii ahead of highly sensitive leaks revealing details of US top-secret phone and internet surveillance of its citizens.

Snowden's actions have been both praised and condemned globally. 

More... Edward Snowden: US government has been hacking Hong Kong and China for years

More... Whistle-blower Edward Snowden tells SCMP: 'Let Hong Kong people decide my fate'

But he told Post reporter Lana Lam: "I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American."

Today, he reveals:

  • more explosive details on US surveillance targets
  • his plans for the immediate future
  • the steps he claims the US has taken since he broke cover in Hong Kong
  • his fears for his family

The 29-year-old was working for defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton at the National Security Agency (NSA), the biggest spy surveillance organisation in the world, when he leaked information claiming the US was systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data. Snowden fled to Hong Kong after using Britain’s Guardian newspaper to expose the agency’s PRISM program which gives officials easy access to data held by nine of the world’s top internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Skype.

People who think I made a mistake in picking HK as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality

“People who think I made a mistake in picking HK as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden told the Post earlier today.

He vowed to fight any extradition attempt by the US government, saying: “My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate. I have been given no reason to doubt your system.’’

It is believed the US is pursuing a criminal investigation, but no extradition request has yet been filed. Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the US, although analysts say any attempts to bring Mr Snowden to America may take months and could be blocked by Beijing.

His actions have been both praised and condemned globally, with some hailing him a hero while others a traitor. Some senators have accused Snowden of treason.


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This article is now closed to comments

Thank you for your courageous act Mr Snowden! I am a resident of the Macao SAR, China and a regular reader of the SCMP. I've been closely following the news since it broke out. I can only imagine the extreme pressure you must be under and your fear for your own personal safety. After reading about the protest on Saturday in HK, I am very proud of those took part in the action and wish I was there to show my moral support! Your motivation for carrying this out without any possible personal gains is truly very noble and admirable. I hope the legal system in HK and the central government in BJ will protect you from any harm from the US government. Best of Luck!
the sun also rises
Snowden is neither a hero or a traitor, instead he is just an American with conscience and has strong sense of right and wrong.he once said that he was disgusted at the violation of privacy by the cyber-spying acts committed by the National Security Agency(which belongs to the Pentagon). over his own countrymen on the excuse of so-called anti-terrorism.Yet the cyber-surveillance activities cover the public of the whole world through the porgam named 'Prism'---any Americans' communications with foreigners outside America and all people outside America's e-communications have been monitored by the NSA---a mammoth cyber-spying activitiy indeed.In a broad sense,all people in the world are the target of the NSA ! How arrogant and rude the Obama administration has been ! And now they even accuse the whistle-blower/leaker,Mr.Snowden as a traitor committed of treason instead of letting his own compatriots know about their privacy has been compromised by their elected government just like those autocratic nations did/doing or the one described in George Orwell's novel:'1984' ! Right ? Shame on the U.S.government--the self-proclaimed freest nation in the world which safeguard personal freedoms and respect towards human rights !
I will never forget the words of Whistle-blower Edward Snowden, "I'm not here to hide justice; I am here to reveal criminality." I really admire his intrepidity and consider him to be an international hero.
President John F. Kennedy warned us as well. About the need for the public to be well informed to keep their freedom. Instead Americans are dumbed down, pre-occupied by partisanship, entertainment, sports, etc. We are losing our freedoms people wake up! It's not just Obama....it's us.
President Kennedy's warning to the American people-
I am very concerned about some politicians total disregard for the documents that formed our country in the first place. Civil rights are being completely ignored. We continue to tell others in the world that they should be Democracies, when our Democracy looks more and more like a Plutocracy every day. Our politicians point to other countries in the world and call them Autocratic. It is time that we look within instead of always looing elsewhere for problems. When people like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange expose things that are wrong in the world, instantly you have high ranking officials calling for their death. Forgive me but I thought that freedom of speech and therefore freedom of the press are supposed to be important issues in Democracy. I grew up believing in America and it is sad the direction it is taking. Yes we have to protect ourselves but we also have to protect human rights and our right to privacy and our right to protest against our government if we do not believe that they are acting in our best interests. It feels to me that our government is becoming somewhat despot. This sort of thing is warned against in THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. A fairly significant document in our past. The very fact that I write this may cause me to be looked at by an agency such as the NSA. Go ahead I have nothing to hide. Can we all say that?
I am a subscriber to SCMP. How is it that I read of Snowden's interview with SCMP in US mdia at least 8 hours before I received an electronic article from SCMP.
I hope Snowden is aware of the establishment of the corporation, that everyone mistakes for a benevolent government, in 1871, and its implications in preparing his defense.
Edward Snowden exposed the US for spying on its citizens, and may be evaporated by a Drone for it, but, former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed the name of the Navy SEAL unit that carried out the Osama Bin Laden raid and named the unit’s ground commander at a 2011 ceremony attended by Zero Dark Thirty filmmaker Mark Boal, according to a draft Pentagon inspector general’s report obtained by a watchdog group.
Panetta also disclosed classified information designated as “top secret” and “secret” during his presentation at the CIA awards ceremony, says the draft IG report published Wednesday by the Project on Government Oversight and after a two day news cycle nothing more was even said about it. I guess if you are a part of the Obama administration you can get by with anything, including endangering the lives of Seal team members and their families, in order to help Obama get re-elected King.
Mr Snowden, thank you.




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