Edward Snowden is still in Hong Kong and told reporters he was not hiding from justice but exposing criminality. Snowden said he plans to fight the United States in the courts and believes in Hong Kong’s rule of law.
The 29-year-old former CIA employee behind what might be the biggest intelligence leak in US history revealed his identity to the world in Hong Kong on Sunday. His decision to use a city under Chinese sovereignty as his haven has been widely questioned – including by some rights activists in Hong Kong.
“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,” Snowden said in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.
Despite the international reaction both for and against him, Snowden says he does not consider himself a traitor or a hero but an American doing his duty to protect the Constitution.
Edward Snowden dropped out of sight after checking out of a Hong Kong hotel on Monday. The South China Morning Post newspaper said it was able to locate and interview him on Wednesday. It provided brief excerpts from the interview on its website.
It said Snowden, who has been both praised and condemned for releasing documents about U.S. telephone and Internet surveillance programs, said he was “neither a traitor nor hero. I’m an American.”
While Hong Kong does have an extradition agreement with the United States there are exceptions for political asylum and the possibility of torture. Given the nature of the whistle-blowing and the United States’ use of torture Snowden may prevail in court or at least delay extradition for a considerable amount of time.