Support The Moscow Times!

Snowden 'Brought No Secret Files to Russia'

Edward Snowden said that he gave all the classified documents he had about U.S. surveillance programs to journalists in Hong Kong before flying to Moscow in June, and that Russian and Chinese spies couldn't have got any sensitive files from him.

"There's a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents," he said in an interview with The New York Times published Thursday.

The interview took place over several days in the past week over an encrypted channel. Snowden, who is living at an undisclosed location in Russia, said he wasn't under Russian government control and was free to move around.

Snowden said he took no copies of classified materials with him when he flew to Moscow from Hong Kong in June.

"What would be the unique value of personally carrying another copy of the materials onward?" he said.

Snowden, who is facing espionage charges in the U.S. for leaking information about the government's extensive surveillance campaign to the media, said he believed he had acted in the people's best interests and had helped American national security by prompting a badly needed public debate about the scope of intelligence operations.

Read more

We need your help now more than ever.

Independent media outlets and journalists in Russia are being increasingly targeted with “foreign agent” and “undesirable” labels, threatening the existence of the free press day by day.

Your donation to The Moscow Times directly supports the last independent English-language news source within Russia.