Snowden is reportedly still in Hong Kong.
The National Security Agency contractor who revealed the government’s top-secret monitoring of phone and Internet data says he intends to stay in Hong Kong and fight any effort to bring him back to the United States to face charges.
Edward Snowden, in his first public comments since he dropped out of view in Hong Kong on Monday, said he did not travel to the former British colony to avoid punishment for leaking details of the surveillance program.
“I am not here to hide from justice. I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden told the South China Morning Post, an English-language newspaper in Hong Kong, in an interview published on Wednesday.
“My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate,” Snowden said. “I have had many opportunities to flee Hong Kong, 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.”
Snowden revealed details last week of the vast U.S. government monitoring of phone and Internet data at big companies such as Google Inc and Facebook Inc in leaks to Britain’s Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post.
The revelations have sparked a criminal investigation and an internal Obama administration review of the potential damage to national security, as pressure has grown from lawmakers and advocacy groups to impose tighter controls on domestic surveillance.