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Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who blew the whistle on the government agency’s spying programs, said in an interview published Monday night that he has already won. He considers his mission already accomplished, having let the world know about the ramped up programs the NSA and the U.S. government has put in place since Sept. 11, 2001.
Snowden was interviewed by the Washington Post in Moscow, where he has been since Russia granted him temporary asylum in August. The Post was among the three media outlets to leak documents provided by Snowden.
“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” Snowden told the Post. “I already won.”
Snowden believes that the moment journalists could begin going through the documents, he was vindicated, adding, “Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”
He later explained that he wants the public to know how the government works and an opportunity to change that. “That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals,” he said.
The documents that Snowden has leaked have had ramifications within the U.S. and internationally, straining relationships with allies. They revealed that the NSA had been monitoring the cell phones of leaders the U.S. considers allies, notes the Associated Press. Even tech giants like Google have been angered and are urging for surveillance reform.
"I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA," Snowden, 30, told the Post. "I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don't realize it."
“Mr. Snowden faces felony charges here in the United States and should be returned to the U.S. as soon as possible, where he will be afforded due process and all the protections of our criminal justice system, a White House spokesperson said in response to Snowden’s interview.