In the latest installment from the South China Morning Post's interview with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Snowden claims, through documents that have not yet been verified by the Post, that the NSA has been hacking computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland since 2009.
Snowden said there have more than 61,000 NSA hacking operations globally--with hundreds of targets in Hong Kong and on the mainland.
“We hack network backbones – like huge internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,” he said.
“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.”
Snowden added that he was releasing the information to reveal “the hypocrisy of the US government when it claims that it does not target civilian infrastructure, unlike its adversaries.”
“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.”
"I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” NSA leaker Edward Snowden told the the South China Morning Post Wednesday morning, referring to the ongoing speculation over his move to Hong Kong from Hawaii after leaking extensive documents from his former employer, the NSA.
"I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American."“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,” Snowden stated.
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However, as the Post revealed in a series of articles detailing their interview with Snowden, Snowden claims that the U.S. has been “trying to bully” Hong Kong’s government into extraditing him.
I heard today from a reliable source that the United States government is trying to bully the Hong Kong government into extraditing me before the local government can learn of this [the US National Security Agency hacking people in Hong Kong]. The US government will do anything to prevent me from getting this into the public eye, which is why they are pushing so hard for extradition.
No U.S., China, or Hong Kong officials have publicly stated their intentions.
Snowden said he will fight any extradition attempt by the US government, saying: “My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate. I have been given no reason to doubt [Hong Kong’s legal] system.’’
"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," he said.
Snowden added: "I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American."
“I have not spoken to any of my family,” Snowden told the Post, but, he added that he is "worried about the pressure they are feeling from the FBI," referring to reports that two FBI agents were seen at the home of Snowden’s father in Lehigh County, New Jersey, on Monday.
The Post published portions of its interview Wednesday morning, but said it would publish the entire interview "soon," promising "explosive details" on US surveillance targets, Snowden's next plans, and the steps Snowden claims the US has taken since landing in Hong Kong.
However it is unclear whether the Post has more to publish.