Former National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden says the US is also engaged in economic espionage against other nations.
“I don’t want to pre-empt the editorial decisions of journalists but what I will say is there is no question that the US is engaged in economic spying,” Snowden said during his first television interview with German public broadcaster ARD on Saturday night.
“If there is information at Siemens that they think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the United States, they will go after that information and they’ll take it,” he added.
The US leaker also said that he had entrusted the NSA data to selected journalists and no longer possessed the material.
Snowden said that he was no longer playing any part in decisions on what information should be published.
The leaker, who has revealed the US spy agency’s surveillance programs, is currently staying in Russia after Moscow granted him one-year political asylum. He is charged with espionage and theft of government property inside the United States.
The former intelligence contractor spoke in secret with the German media in Moscow earlier this week.
During an online question-and-answer session on the “Free Snowden” website on Thursday, Snowden said he would have no chance to get a fair trial in case he decides to come back to the United States.
“The hundred-year old law under which I’ve been charged… forbids a public interest defense,” he said. “This is especially frustrating, because it means there’s no chance to have a fair trial, and no way I can come home and make my case to a jury.”
According to a new USA TODAY and the Pew Research Center poll, a majority of Americans now opposes the NSA’s data-collection practices.
The survey said 53 percent opposed the government’s collection of phone and Internet data as a part of anti-terrorism efforts. Just 40 percent said they supported such actions.[Press TV]