The former CIA employee who leaked top-secret information about U.S. surveillance programs said in a new interview in Hong Kong on Wednesday that he is not attempting to hide from justice here but hopes to use the city as a base to reveal wrongdoing.
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."
Asked about his choice of Hong Kong to leak the information, Snowden said, "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."
The newspaper quoted him as saying that he had several opportunities to flee from Hong Kong, but that he "would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong's rule of law."