Admitted National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden surfaced Wednesday to say he is not trying to run from justice.
“People who think I made a mistake in picking [Hong Kong] as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” the South China Morning Post quoted Snowden, 29, as saying.
The newspaper reported Snowden spoke to them from a “secret location” in the city. He hasn’t been seen since he checked out of a Hong Kong hotel on Monday, one day after he revealed himself as the source of information about two secret NSA programs revealed in media reports last week.
“I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American,” Snowden said.
The former CIA employee, who was fired this week by his NSA contracting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, said he would fight any attempt by the U.S. government to have him extradited back home.
“My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate. I have been given no reason to doubt your system,” he said.
Snowden has been hailed as both a hero and a traitor for his disclosures about the U.S. government. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he was a “traitor,” while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told TheBlaze he was holding off labeling Snowden until more facts emerge.
This post has been updated.