The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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December 23, 2013

Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission's accomplished

(Continued)

In hope of keeping focus on the NSA, Snowden has ignored attacks on himself.

"Let them say what they want," he said. "It's not about me."

Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden predicted that Snowden will waste away in Moscow as an alcoholic, like other "defectors." To this, Snowden shrugged. He does not drink at all. Never has.

But Snowden knows his presence here is easy ammunition for critics. He did not choose refuge in Moscow as a final destination. He said that once the U.S. government voided his passport as he tried to change planes en route to Latin America, he had no other choice.

It would be odd if Russian authorities did not keep an eye on him, but no retinue accompanied Snowden and his visitor saw no one else nearby. Snowden neither tried to communicate furtively nor asked that a visitor do so. He has had continuous Internet access and talked to his lawyers and journalists daily, from his first day in the transit lounge at Sheremetyevo airport.

"There is no evidence at all for the claim that I have loyalties to Russia or China or any country other than the United States," he said. "I have no relationship with the Russian government. I have not entered into any agreements with them."

"If I defected at all," Snowden said, "I defected from the government to the public."

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