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NSA Whistleblower Snowden Emerges from Hiding to Discuss Extradition
Edward Snowden, the man responsible for releasing National Security Agency documents revealing the existence of the PRISM data collection project emerged from hiding in Hong Kong and spoke with the South China Morning Post about what has happened to him since he leaked the information in question. Snowden spoke with the reporter for about an hour from a secret location and discussed his plan to remain in Hong Kong and the lengths to which the United States is going to have him extradited for prosecution.
Snowden told the Post that he plans to stay in Hong Kong until he is asked to leave. “I have had many opportunities to flee Hong Kong, but I would rather stay and fight the US government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law.”
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Since releasing the information last week, Snowden, a former government contractor with high security clearance, has become the subject of a federal investigation, and is currently considered facing criminal charges for revealing state secrets. Snowden’s leak, related to a secret government operation in which the online data and communications of American citizens is collected with neither consent nor court approval, has caused outrage amongst the public, been denied by the internet companies alleged to be involved, and has barely been addressed by government agencies and elected officials.
Knowing that the current administration has shown great eagerness to prosecute those who reveal classified information, Snowden left his Hawaii home for Hong Kong before sharing his documents with media outlets. “People who think I made a mistake in picking HK as a location misunderstand my intentions,” said Snowden in the new interview. “I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality.”
“Last week the American government happily operated in the shadows with no respect for the consent of the governed, but no longer. Every level of society is demanding accountability and oversight.” Snowden said he released the information to demonstrate “the hypocrisy of the US government when it claims that it does not target civilian infrastructure, unlike its adversaries. Not only does it do so, but it so afraid of this being known that it is willing to use any means, such as diplomatic intimidation, to prevent this information from becoming public.”
Snowden told the Post that he has not contacted his family and friends, and fears for their safety. “Things are very difficult for me in all terms, but speaking truth to power is never without risk. It has been difficult, but I have been glad to see the global public speak out against these sorts of systemic violations of privacy. All I can do is rely on my training and hope that world governments will refuse to be bullied by the United States into persecuting people seeking political refuge.”
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