Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed extensive details of global electronic surveillance by the US spy agency, said in an interview published on Tuesday that he has accomplished what he set out to do.
"For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished," he told the Washington Post. The newspaper said it spoke to Snowden over two days of nearly unbroken conversation in Moscow, "fueled by burgers, pasta, ice cream and Russian pastry."
It was the first extensive face-to-face interview Snowden has granted since arriving in Russia in June and being given temporary asylum there.
"I already won," Snowden said. "As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself."
Last week, a White House-appointed panel proposed curbs on some key NSA surveillance operations, recommending limits on a program to collect records of billions of telephone calls, and new tests before Washington spies on foreign leaders. The panel's proposals were made in the wake of Snowden's revelations.
President Barack Obama later tried to strike a middle ground, saying some checks were needed on the NSA's surveillance, but "we can't unilaterally disarm."
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