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Edward Snowden: There is ‘zero chance’ Russian spies have secret documents, I handed them all over to journalists

By Darren Boyle

Guardian whistleblower Edward Snowden claimed he did not pass over any top secret documents to Russian or Chinese spies because he handed all information to journalists before seeking asylum in Russia.

Snowden, 30, faces arrest by US authorities for leaking thousands of classified documents to the Guardian through US journalist Glenn Greenwald.

According to The Guardian, Greenwald met Snowden along with Ewen MacAskill and documentary maker Laura Poitras on 1 June, this year, when he handed over the information he had taken from the US NSA system.

However, in an interview with the New York Times, Snowden said “there’s a zero percent chance” the Russians or Chinese have access to any of the files.

Snowden said he handed over all of the files to journalists in Hong Kong before travelling on to Moscow.

He claimed he believed bringing the files to Russia would not “serve the public interest".

Snowden said that after handing over the files he did not have any further involvement in the story.

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He said he wanted his own bias “divorced from the decision-making of publication".

He added: “Technical solutions were in place to ensure the work of the journalists couldn’t be interfered with.”

The NYT spent several days speaking with Snowden in Moscow who is facing prosecution under the US Espionage Act.

He said the public needed to know about the huge technological advances made by spy chiefs and the way they are being used on a daily basis.

He said: “The secret continuance of these programs represents a far greater danger than their disclosure.

“So long as there’s broad support amongst a people, it can be argued there’s a level of legitimacy even to the most invasive and morally wrong program, as it was an informed and willing decision. However, programs that are implemented in secret, out of public oversight, lack that legitimacy, and that’s a problem. It also represents a dangerous normalisation of ‘governing in the dark,’ where decisions with enormous public impact occur without any public input.”

Snowden revealed that before going public, he had access to every operation the NSA were running against China.

Snowden refused to discuss his living arrangements in Moscow but stressed that he was free to move around the city.

In August, the partner of Guardian journnalist Glenn Greenwald, David Miranda, was stopped at Heathrow Airport on his way from Berlin to Brazil.

According to evidence heard in the High Court, he was carrying 58,000 highly classified intelligence documents.

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