Mission accomplished says Snowden

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden said his mission had been accomplished, after he revealed the NSA's surveillance programmes.

Snowden, who is living under temporary asylum in Moscow, told The Washington Post said he was satisfied with what he had been able to accomplish through the information leaks as members of the public now had access to it and could use it as they chose.

The NSA contractor's disclosures, first appeared in The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers after he fled to Hong Kong.

The disclosures have revealed government secrets, such as the NSA's secret collection of telephone records from millions of Americans. A US judge ruled 16 December that the programme was likely to be unconstitutional.

Judge Richard Leon said in his ruling that he "cannot imagine a more indiscriminate and arbitrary invasion" of peoples' privacy than the collection by the government of such information without prior judicial approval.

The judge, chose not to enforce his ruling and gave the government a chance to appeal the decision to a higher court. US officials have in the meantime, sought Snowden's extradition to stand trial on espionage charges, but Russia has refused.

Snowden's motives have come under attack from  Obama administration officials who claim the NSA's work was distorted by selective leaks and misinterpretations.

On 22 June, the justice department pressed a criminal complaint charging Snowden with espionage and felony theft of government property.

The intelligence and national-security establishments project Snowden as a reckless saboteur, and journalists egging him on a little less so.

However, according to Snowden, people who accuse him of disloyalty, mistake his purpose.

Snowden claims that far from trying to bring down the NSA, he was working to improve it. He said he was working for the NSA right now and they were the only ones who did not realise it.

Snowden grants that NSA employees by and large believed in their mission and trusted the agency to handle the secrets it took from ordinary people. He believed, however that the  acceptance of the agency's operations was not universal.

He said his colleagues were astonished to learn that the NSA was collecting more in the US on Americans than on Russians in Russia.