Whistleblower Edward Snowden plans to fight any attempt to extradite him
Former spy says he will reveal further ‘explosive details on US surveillance targets’
Edward Snowden in his hotel room in Hong Kong. “I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American,” he said. Photograph: Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras/Courtesy of the Guardian/via Reuters
Former US spy Edward Snowden has spoken for the first time since he blew his own cover after leaking details about government surveillance programmes, saying he plans to stay in Hong Kong and fight any attempts to extradite him.
“I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American,” Mr Snowden told the South China Morning Post newspaper in an interview, adding that he planned to reveal “more explosive details on US surveillance targets”.
He wanted to ask the people of Hong Kong to decide his fate after choosing the city because of his faith in its rule of law.
“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,” Mr Snowden told the paper.
The 29-year-old former employee of US government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, who worked with the CIA and the National Security Agency, boarded a flight to Hong Kong on May 20th after he leaked the NSA’s global eavesdropping operation.
“I have had many opportunities to flee HK, but I would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law,” he added. The interview was released two days after he checked out of a city hotel and went to ground.
The US justice department has launched a criminal investigation, but so far has not filed a formal extradition request to Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, European Union commissioner Viviane Reding sent a letter to US attorney general Eric Holder seeking more information on the US surveillance programme Prism, according to a copy of the letter, which has been obtained by Bloomberg News.