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Image: Snowden: I Only Took Job to Get State Secrets

Snowden: I Only Took Job to Get State Secrets

By Melanie Batley   |   Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013 09:50 AM

Edward Snowden, the confessed leaker of the National Security Agency's top-secret phone and Internet surveillance program, says he took his consulting job specifically to gain access to the agency's surveillance activities.

"My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked," Snowden told the South China Morning Post in a June 12 interview published Monday.

"That is why I accepted that position about three months ago."

Latest: Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor – Vote in Urgent Poll

He said his intention was to collect information about how the NSA was hacking into "the whole world" and "not specifically Hong Kong and China."

This latest admission, lawmakers say, could complicate Snowden's legal case in the event he is extradited to the U.S. and tried. He was charged on Friday with three felonies under the Espionage Act.

"It's evidence of intent, and it's relevant to the sentencing if he were convicted," said Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to The New York Post.

"It looks like he had a plan … when he went there to acquire information and divulge it," said Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican and former Intelligence Committee member. "It showed intent, big intent.

"You can't prejudice the case, but that's strong talk."

Snowden is  seeking asylum in Ecuador. U.S. efforts to persuade Hong Kong and Russia to turn him over to U.S. authorities have been unsuccessful, with the Russians saying Tuesday that they would not extradite him.

Snowden also told the South China Morning Post he is prepared to issue more leaks on a country-by-country basis, using the information he gained about U.S. surveillance activities in particular regions.

"If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of U.S. network operations against their people should be published," Snowden said.

"I did not release them earlier because I don't want to simply dump huge amounts of documents without regard to their content," he said.

Latest: Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor – Vote in Urgent Poll

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