The discloser of NSA’s extra secret spy-progects rejected allegations that he is spying for the Chinese and attacked U.S. officials for calling him a traitor.
“”No. I have had no contact with the Chinese government. Just like with the Guardian and the Washington Post, I only work with journalists,” he said.
When answering questions, Edward Snowden also revealed his motivations and reaction to the debate raging about the damage or virtue of the leaks. Snowden remains in hiding, reportedly in Hong Kong.
The whistleblower told reporters that with President Obama contributed to his decision but there was no single event that led him to leak details about the vast monitoring of Americans’ activity.
“It was seeing a continuing litany of lies from senior officials to Congress – and therefore the American people – and the realization that Congress … wholly supported the lies,” said Snowden, a former NSA contractor.
The Justice Department has launched an investigation into Edward’s actions, and U.S. officials promised to hold him accountable for the leaks.
“The U.S. government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime. That’s not justice,”
“The U.S. government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped,” the wistleblower added.
He went on, adding that the government “immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home,” by labeling him a traitor, and indicated he would not return to the U.S. voluntarily.
During the interview Snowden defended U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning who disclosed documents to Wikileaks, which he called a “legitimate journalistic outlet,” which “carefully redacted all of their releases in accordance with a judgment of public interest.”
Snowden said the Wikileaks release of unredacted material was “due to the failure of a partner journalist to control a passphrase,” which led to the charge against Manning that he dumped the documents, which Snowden called an attempt to smear Manning.
He said he was disappointed that many of Obama’s campaign promises had not been realized.
“He closed the door on investigating systemic violations of law, deepened and expanded several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to end the kind of human rights violations like we see in Guantanamo, where men still sit without charge,” Snowden said.
The discloser also called on Obama to appoint a special committee to review the surveillance programs.
“This disclosure provides Obama an opportunity to appeal for a return to sanity, constitutional policy, and the rule of law rather than men,” he said.
“He still has plenty of time to go down in history as the President who looked into the abyss and stepped back, rather than leaping forward into it.”