• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:13am
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.


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



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!
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-
Kaman Cheung
I called the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center previously regarding my issue that I suspected my computer was being hacked, but the telephone representative didn't accept my case. Blah.
It is obvious the NSA has their hacks posting up a storm on these sites. Every American I know considers Snowden a hero for having the balls to stand up to an American government that is out of control and nearly completely taken over by globalist elite scum. I am a retired U.S. Navy man and my father is a retired U.S. Marine and we both view him with great reverence. We have watched with horror as this country's so-called representative have sold us out to the New World Order and allowed us to be misled by an insane war against an enemy that does not exist as a pretense to decimate the U.S. Constitution, and as the mainstream media in America became a mouthpiece for this agenda by regurgitating the endless lies, including CIA led mass shootings aimed at stripping the citizens of their 2nd Amendment rights so that by the time we realize we have been taken over by a dictatorship we have no way to fight back. Americans better not ever allow their guns to be taken unless they want to live in a planned hell on Earth. If you don't believe this then go and read some of the writings of this New World Order bunch, they are more than forthcoming in their plans. Just because you don't see them spelled out on the nightly news does not mean it is not real. Read "Agenda 21", "Project for a New American Century", The Georgia Guide Stones, etc. These power freaks are out of their minds.
Made in Thailand
COWARD, TRAITOR!! oh that's harsh, my bad.....what do you call a man with no honor, wants attention like Tony Stark and thinks that when given a Top Secret Clearance, can just fly to another country and expose the secrets I was given to safeguard. That is a TRAITOR and a fleeing one at that so Coward like makes sense too. So the headlines should say" COWARDLY TRAITOR seeks assange like attention!!! Wrap yourself in the freedom that former Secrets provided. Cloak yourself a hero when real heroes died defending America. You sir are no hero, just a fleeing attention **** that stabbed a country in the back that was trying to defend you and your family.
Thanks for choosing Hong Kong!
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.



SCMP.com Account