SURVEILLANCE WHISTLEBLOWER Edward Snowden claims he did not take any secret US National Security Agency (NSA) documents into Russia.
Snowden has taken refuge in Russia since he blew the whistle on NSA and GCHQ snooping earlier this year.
He said that he did not enter the country with secret documents, but shared them with newspapers including the Guardian before he went there.
In an interview with the New York Times (paywalled) he said that he gave documents to contacts in Hong Kong prior to travelling, because he did not see any reason to take them in his suitcase.
"It wouldn't serve the public interest," he said. "What would be the unique value of personally carrying another copy of the materials onward?"
While Snowden's whistleblowing revelations have been accused of harming countries and governments and opening doors for terrorists, he said that there was no chance that either China or Russia had benefitted from his leaks.
"There's a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents," he said.
"If that was compromised the NSA would have set the table on fire from slamming it so many times in denouncing the damage it had caused. Yet NSA has not offered a single example of damage from the leaks," he added.
"They haven't said boo about it except 'we think,' 'maybe,' 'have to assume' from anonymous and former officials. Not 'China is going dark.' Not 'the Chinese military has shut us out.'"
Despite the risks Snowden said he had no alternative but to release the documents that he found about warrantless wiretapping.
"If the highest officials in government can break the law without fearing punishment or even any repercussions at all, secret powers become tremendously dangerous," he added
"You can't read something like that and not realize what it means for all of these systems we have." µ
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