'I can't say I'm safe': NSA whistleblower Snowden

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 23, 2018 09:06 hrs
Snowden

New Delhi: Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden says he does not feel safe living in Russia but does not regret becoming a whistleblower.

Snowden, 35, opened up about his life in exile while participating via video conference at an event organised by the Management Center Innsbruck in Austria.

Sowden has lived in Moscow since 2013, after leaking thousands of classified documents detailing the NSA's domestic surveillance and eavesdropping program targeting foreign nationals and Americans alike.

"Russia is not my home; Russia is my place of exile," Snowden told the audience, adding, "The United States will always be my first priority."

He continued: "As for the future in Russia and what will happen there, I can't say I'm safe. I don't know."

But Snowden added that he never had an expectation of safety and it did not factor into his decision-making.

"I didn't come forward to be safe," Snowden said. "If I wanted safety, I'd be sitting in Hawaii right now, making a lot of money, spying on everyone."

On June 5, 2013, The Guardian in Britain published the first story based on Snowden's leaks, revealing that a secret court order was allowing the US government to get Verizon to share the phone records of millions of Americans.

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