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  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 3:38am
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

er.boothe
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.
gilbert.kc.9
Mr Snowden, thank you.
Neil Kitson
I believe your facts are incorrect. As far as I can see, Snowden did not reveal PRISM to the Guardian before he travelled to Hong Kong. Details are important.
johnrai7
Its been sensed that Beijing will least be involved as Beijing and HK follow different path in Human Rights issue and freedom, Thanks to HK own mini-constitution and law system.
If Beijing involves it will only making its own problem to lit up its own hidden HR abused problems , where 100s of activist are kept arrested.
So it all lies on HK rule and court and her People. Atleast, HK ppl. should be proud that we have managed to be known for fair rule of law and freedoms. But surely we will not tolerate for terrorist related issues and criminals.... Good luck to Snowden,,,, you are most welcome here and we support you humanely and unpolitically. May justice be served.
leslymill
Without a doubt I can ssense the hacks coming out trying to trump Boehner's treason fiasco.
TRUTHABOUTTHECIA.ORG
Snowden: Here's what they will do. They will put you Under Investigation for an extended time period. This will include contacting everyone who you have 'ever' known in your life.
They will 'then' ask them questions which are leading and lead them into Litigious Traps which will 'leverage them' to be in a position that 'they cannot contact you'. I am 'presently' on Day 570 since the last time I have 'really' spoke with my Children, Loved Ones, Ms. Lili Stiff (VP of Administration for my Company) and Kelse.
Along with that, they will also contact each and every employer you have ever had. At your age that's not a big deal. At mine, (54) that is a big deal. Then you have your own company like I do, they will try to kill it. If you hear of any Country which is Seeking Truthful People to migrate from the Debacle of this Country. Let me know could be interest
As for me, they 'tried' to bury me in Montana and attempted to move me out of the country when I was in the Czech Republic. Although I 'really liked' the Czech Republic. I'm not going to move anywhere until I am reunited with my Children, Loved Ones, Ms. Lili Stiff and Kelse.
It's that simple. Oh yea one other thing, they tried to cover up my Son-in-Law's Murder in Action on his last mission the night before he was to return from Afghanistan. To me, that's a Big Deal, BIG DEAL.
And then, I trapped them in the Illegal Funding for the Search of Weapon's of Mass Destruction.
Keep your head down - Keith Grant
Made in Thailand
He is nothing more than an attention hoe wishing he could be an assange. He is no hero, heroes die pulling people out of fires, diving into submerged cars to rescue strangers. This man is a coward with no honor and a traitor to finish. Hope he rots in the cell next to wikileaks loser.
rustedarmor
"I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American."
No, my friend. You are now a Chinese national ... I hope your Mandarin is good ...
walter.ziobro.5
It seems to me that Beijing could request a quid pro quo (in the form of information) from Mr Snowden before blocking his extradition. Or, they could ask for something from the US to NOT block his extradition. In the extradition game, it looks like Beijing is holding the trump card. Don't be surprised if the US elects to "pass" on a legal extradition.
pete.dosado
Just an amateur sleuth trying out my new techniques! If Snowden wanted to be consistent with his life goals and aspirations, he should have, since he was going with a pole dancer, gone to Poland for asylum! Now, unless he was going with a Honky Tonk entertainer, there was absolutely no reason for him to seek asylum in Hong Kong!

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