Edward Snowden, who revealed details of the US government’s top secret domestic surveillance programme earlier this month, has been speaking about the leaks to the South China Morning Post from a secret location in Hong Kong.
“I’m neither traitor nor hero,” he said.
The 29-year-old used Britain’s Guardian newspaper to reveal information about the National Security Agency’s PRISM programme, which gave governments access to data from companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Skype.
Snowden faces extradition to the US though no application has yet been made by Washington. A crowd funded campaign was recently launched to help raise $15,000 (11,250 euros) to cover his legal costs.
He explained to the South China Morning Post: “People who think I made a mistake in picking Hong Kong as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality.”
He continued: “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.”
There has been media speculation that Snowden may seek asylum in Iceland and Vladimir Putin’s spokesman confirmed that Russia would also consider welcoming him.
Snowden’s latest interview comes as a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post found that 62 percent of Americans believe it is more important for the government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy.
Just 34 percent said it was more important for the government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats.
The survey also revealed that public reactions to NSA surveillance have remained largely unchanged since the Bush administration, when 51 percent found such secret tracking acceptable. That figure today stands at 56 percent.