(Adds detail on reported Snowden job offer in Russia)
BERLIN Nov 3 Fugitive U.S. intelligence
contractor Edward Snowden said calls for more oversight of
government intelligence agencies showed he was justified in
revealing the methods and targets of the U.S. secret service.
Snowden's leaks about the National Security Agency (NSA),
from its alleged mass scanning of emails to the tapping of world
leaders' phones, have infuriated U.S. allies and placed
Washington on the defensive.
In "A Manifesto for the Truth" published in German news
magazine Der Spiegel on Sunday, Snowden said current debates
about mass surveillance in many countries showed his revelations
were helping to bring about change.
"Instead of causing damage, the usefulness of the new public
knowledge for society is now clear because reforms to politics,
supervision and laws are being suggested," the 30-year-old
ex-CIA employee and NSA contractor wrote.
"Citizens have to fight against the suppression of
information about affairs of essential importance for the
public. Those who speak the truth are not committing a crime."
Snowden is in Russia, where he has been given asylum for at
least a year.
In an open letter to Germany last week, Snowden said he was
counting on international support to stop Washington's
'persecution' of him.
His revelations about the reach and methods of the NSA,
including the monitoring of vast volumes of Internet traffic and
phone records, have angered U.S. allies from Germany to Brazil.
Admirers have called Snowden a human rights champion. Others
say he is a traitor for stealing information from the NSA after
vowing to respect its secrecy policies and then fleeing first to
Hong Kong and then to Russia with classified U.S. data.
Snowden declined a job offer from Russia's top social
networking site VKontakte (InTouch), local media quoted one of
the company's founders, Pavel Durov, as saying over the weekend.
A Russian lawyer with close links to the authorities who is
assisting Snowden, Anatoly Kucherena, had said this week the
American would start work in November for a "large Russian
(web)site" that he refused to name for security reasons.
In the manifesto published on Sunday, Snowden said mass
surveillance was a global problem that needed global solutions
and added that secret services' "criminal surveillance
programmes" jeopardized individual privacy, freedom of opinion
and open societies.
The existence of spying technology should not determine
politics, he said: "We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws
and values limit surveillance programmes and protect human
Society, said Snowden, could only understand and keep a
check on these problems via an open, ruthless and informed
He said some governments that felt exposed by the
revelations had at first launched a "persecution campaign" to
repress debate by intimidating journalists and threatening them
"At that time the public was not in a position to judge the
usefulness of these revelations. People trusted that their
governments would make the right decisions," he said.
"Today we know that was a mistake and that such behaviour
does not serve the public interest," he said.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; additional reporting by Gabriela
Baczynska in Moscow; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)