• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 1:33am
Edward Snowden

I'm no Chinese spy, Snowden says in webchat

Whistle-blower insists he has had no contact with Beijing and turns his fire on tech giants for giving US government access to their servers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 June, 2013, 1:07am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 June, 2013, 9:56pm

US whistle-blower Edward Snowden says accusations from American politicians that he is a Chinese spy are a "predictable smear" designed to "distract from the issue of US government misconduct".

In only his second public comments since he admitted being behind a series of leaks exposing US cybersurveillance, Snowden told readers of a Guardian webchat: "Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now."

Snowden's comments last night came a day after former US vice-president Dick Cheney said China would "probably be willing to provide immunity for [Snowden] or sanctuary for him in exchange for what he presumably knows or doesn't know".

Snowden denied passing information to Beijing. "I have had no contact with the Chinese government," he wrote. "I only work with journalists."

For the first time, Snowden turned his criticism on tech giants including Google and Facebook, which have denied his claims that they gave the US intelligence agencies direct access to their servers.

"They are legally compelled to comply and maintain their silence in regard to specifics of the programme, but that does not comply them from ethical obligation," Snowden wrote. "If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple refused to provide this co-operation … what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?"

Asked why he chose to fly to Hong Kong rather than direct to Iceland, where he says he wants to seek asylum, Snowden said leaving the US was an "incredible risk" because employees of the National Security Agency, where he worked as a contractor, must declare foreign travel 30 days in advance and are monitored.

"There was a distinct possibility I would be interdicted en route, so I had to travel with no advance booking to a country with the cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained," he wrote. "Hong Kong provided that. Iceland could be pushed harder, quicker, before the public could have a chance to make their feelings known, and I would not put that past the current US administration."

Hundreds of questions were posted for the online chat. Snowden answered 18, and did not discuss his plans or say whether he is still in Hong Kong. Asked what he would say to others who could leak information on the US intelligence apparatus and its effect on civil liberties, Snowden said: "This country is worth dying for."



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This article is now closed to comments

America has fallen so far. The US government's best defense is "we are not hacking/monitoring American citizens". AKA. They hack the rest of us non Americans with impunity. Is the rest of the world supposed to pretend this is fine?
Snowden, thank you so much for your courageous efforts toward a better world. Humanity is on your side.
So far the information, that you have exposed publicly, of methods for cyber attacks, using the internet hacking through the servers of organizations or individual computers, is only one of the methods being employed to attack our social structures.
There are other methods of cyber-hacking information. One is the electro-magnetic cyber attack directly onto person’s brainwaves via satellite signals. There are many victims of such attacks in all corners of the world and involving people at all levels of the society.
Such inhumane acts using cyber technology to monitor civilians have been covered up by the governments whom controlled the access of this information. We the civilians (many of the victims) have been kept in the dark. If you have the evidence of this form attack please shed some light on this issue.
Thanks. Thanks.


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