Snowden says he took no secret files to Russia: New York Times

WASHINGTON Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:09pm EDT

A picture of Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is seen on a computer screen displaying a page of a Chinese news website, in Beijing in this June 13, 2013 photo illustration. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A picture of Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is seen on a computer screen displaying a page of a Chinese news website, in Beijing in this June 13, 2013 photo illustration.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden said he did not bring any of the documents he took from the agency with him to Russia, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

Snowden told the newspaper he gave all the documents to journalists he met in Hong Kong before flying to Moscow and said he did not keep copies for himself. Taking the files to Russia "wouldn't serve the public interest," Snowden said in an interview with the newspaper.

Snowden, who worked for a contractor as a systems administrator at an NSA facility in Hawaii, was the source of disclosures that included details about programs under which the government collects vast amounts of information such as telephone and Internet records.

He has polarized opinion in the United States, where many have been outraged by the extent of government snooping.

But others have labeled him a traitor for stealing information from the NSA after vowing to respect its secrecy policies and fleeing first to China and then to Russia with classified U.S. data.

Russia has granted Snowden a year's asylum. U.S. authorities want him to return to the United States to face espionage charges.

The former contractor, 30, also told the Times he believed he was able to protect the documents from Chinese spy agencies because he was familiar with Beijing's intelligence capabilities.

He said he feels he has boosted U.S. national security by prompting a public debate about the scope of U.S. data collection.

An NSA spokeswoman did not respond to the New York Times' request for comment on Snowden's assertions.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (6)
sae-sho wrote:
so, i/we are to believe a liar, thief, and traitor, give me a break. come out from under putin’s skirt and say that

Oct 17, 2013 9:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
sae-sho wrote:
so, i/we are to believe what he says now

Oct 17, 2013 9:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
macsj wrote:
You blew your credibility when you ran.
A whistle blower stands up and faces the consequences believing he is in the right.
Fearing the results of his actions, a thief hides.
Once lie, always lie.
So, by your actions you are a thief and a liar.
We could rationalize your lies as a whistle blower, but not the stupidity of running to China and Russia.

Oct 17, 2013 10:21pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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