NSA Leaks: Snowden Declares ‘Mission Accomplished’
Washington – Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details of US electronic surveillance programmes, says he’s achieved his aim. “In terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he told the Washington Post. “I already won,” said Mr Snowden, whose extensive leaks have caused a reassessment of US surveillance policy.
The 30-year-old was interviewed in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum on 1 August. Mr Snowden fled the US in late May, taking a huge cache of secret documents with him. He faces espionage charges in the US. “As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself,” he told the newspaper.
“All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,” Mr Snowden said. Last week, a federal judge declared the mass collection of telephone data unconstitutional and a presidential advisory panel suggested reforms. Both the judge and the panel said there was little evidence that any terror plot had been thwarted by the programme.
A few days later, in his end-of-year news conference, US President Barack Obama suggested there may be a review of surveillance by the NSA. In “light of disclosures that have taken place” and public concerns about the programmes “there may be another way of skinning the cat”, he said. However, he accused the ex-NSA contractor of causing “unnecessary damage” by leaking documents. President Obama said he would make a “definitive statement” in January about recommendations by the White House panel. (BBC)