Speaking from a secret location in Hong Kong, the man behind the NSA Prism leaks hopes China won't be bullied by US.

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower, has spoken out from a secret location in Hong Kong. Reuters

The man at the centre of one of the biggest leaks in the history of the US intelligence community has spoken out about how the US government is trying to bully Chinese authorities into extraditing him.

Edward Snowden spoke to the South China Morning Post from an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, saying he would stay there until he was asked to leave.

"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," he said.

He claims the US has been hacking into Chinese computers for years, targeting universities, students and business in Hong Kong and mainland China. This comes at a time when tensions between China and the US are strained over repeated accusations on both sides of cyber-espionage.

On Sunday Snowden revealed himself as the NSA employee who was behind the leaking of top secret documents which allege that the US government was monitoring the online activities of a huge swathe of the US population through services like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Skype.


Snowden spoke to the South China Morning Post as the US government is preparing criminal charges against him, which will see them attempt to extradite him back to the US. General Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency, testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee saying the surveillance of phone records had prevented "dozens" of potential terrorist attacks.

"I want the American people to know that we're being transparent in here," Alexander added.

Snowden has been hailed a hero and condemned as a traitor since he revealed himself as the whistleblower on Sunday, but he says he is neither:

"I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American. I believe in freedom of expression. I acted in good faith but it is only right that the public form its own opinion."


Snowden says he revealed the details of the Prism programme because he believes people need to know what their government is doing: "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.

"Not only does it do so, but it is 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."

It is unclear what is next for Snowden, with reports suggesting Russia will offer him asylum though he refused to comment on this in his interview. Snowden said he is relying on some countries being able to stand up to the US:

"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."

Some have questioned Snowden's choice of location as he seeks asylum, with Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor director Law Yuk-kai saying he was surprised by Snowden's choice, adding: "Snowden's positive view of Hong Kong no longer matches the reality."