Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked secret US surveillance details, has vowed to fight any attempt to extradite him from Hong Kong.
Edward Snowden told the South China Morning Post that he was “neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American”.
It is the first interview he has given since disappearing from his hotel room in Hong Kong on Monday.
His leaks led to revelations that the US is systematically seizing vast amounts of phone and web data.
Edward Snowden left Hawaii for Hong Kong shortly before the highly sensitive leaks surfaced.
“I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Edward Snowden told the Post.
“My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate.”
US officials have confirmed the existence of a secret programme to draw data from the internet, codenamed Prism.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence gave details of the programme last week, after Edward Snowden’s leaks led to a series of articles in the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers.
According to the office’s statement, PRISM is simply an internal computer system, and not a data-mining programme.
However, such data seizures could break the laws of other countries, and could also break US law if they accidentally capture communications of American citizens.