25 Dec 2013

Snowden says mission accomplished

1:49 pm on 25 December 2013

Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden says his mission is accomplished, because the documents he has leaked to the media has led to protests and calls for political reform.

The United States is demanding his extradition from Russia to face criminal charges related to his release of details of US electronic surveillance programmes.

Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden. Photo: AFP / THE GUARDIAN

Mr Snowden fled the US in late May, taking a huge cache of secret documents with him.

The former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor was interviewed in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum on 1 August.

"In terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished," he told the Washington Post. "As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated."

Mr Snowden said he did not want to change society, but to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. "All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed."

Later, the UK's Channel 4 revealed that Mr Snowden would deliver its Alternative Christmas Message - the broadcaster's answer to the Queen's message to the nation.

More details of people and institutions targeted by UK and US surveillance were published last week by The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel.

The papers said the list of about 1,000 targets included an EU commissioner, humanitarian organisations and Israeli officials including a prime minister.

US technology giants including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are taking steps to block the collection of data by their government.