December 24, 2013
Snowden Says "Mission Accomplished," Criticized by Lawmaker
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden says he is satisfied with the results of his leaking of details of NSA surveillance programs.
Snowden, who is living under temporary asylum in Moscow, told The Washington Post he feels his "mission is already accomplished" because Americans are now aware of the programs and can address them as they choose.
Interviewed in Russia, Snowden said elected U.S. officials had failed to supervise intelligence activities and kept invasive spying programs hidden from the public.
In response, a member of the House Intelligence Committee told VOA Snowden is anything but well-meaning and patriotic, and that he has put American lives "at risk."
Republican Congressman Peter King said Snowden has helped the enemy adapt to what the NSA is doing. King also said Snowden violated his oath and betrayed his country, and deserves nothing but contempt.
Snowden's disclosures, which first appeared in the Post and Guardian newspapers after he fled to Hong Kong, have revealed government secrets, such as the NSA's secret collection of telephone records from millions of Americans. A U.S. judge ruled December 16 that the program is likely unconstitutional.
In his ruling, Judge Richard Leon said he "cannot imagine a more indiscriminate and arbitrary invasion" of peoples' privacy than the government's collection of such information without prior judicial approval. Leon did not immediately enforce his ruling, giving the government a chance to appeal the decision to a higher court.
U.S. officials have sought Snowden's extradition to stand trial on espionage charges, but Russia has refused.