US whistleblower will fight extradition

US whistleblower will fight extradition
Wed Jun 12, 2013 22:10:59

Edward Snowden, the ex-CIA employee who leaked secret US surveillance details, has vowed to fight any attempt to extradite him from Hong Kong.

Snowden told the South China Morning Post: "I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American."

It is the first interview he has given since disappearing from his hotel room in Hong Kong on Monday.

His leaks led to revelations that the US is systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data.

Snowden left Hawaii for Hong Kong shortly before the highly sensitive leaks surfaced.

"I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality," Snowden told the Post.

"My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate."

The information leaked by Snowden has undoubtedly angered the US government, but so far he has not been charged by the authorities, nor is he the subject of an extradition request.

Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the US, although analysts say any attempts to bring Snowden to America may take months and could be blocked by Beijing.

The Post quoted Snowden as saying that he had several opportunities to leave Hong Kong, but that he "would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong's rule of law."

After Snowden's leaks, which led to a series of articles in the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers, US officials confirmed the existence of a secret program to draw data from the Internet