Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has said that he has already "accomplished" his mission by leaking details of global electronic surveillance by America that have embarrassed the Obama administration and forced a review of the United States spying policies.
"For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished," Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, who honed hacking skills in India, told the Washington Post.
"I already won," Snowden said in his first face-to-face interview since arriving in Russia in June and being given temporary asylum there.
"As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself," said the 30-year-old, who had spent a week in New Delhi training in core Java programming and advanced ethical hacking.
"All I want was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed," he said. "That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals."
At his year-end news conference held last Friday, President Barack Obama defended the NSA's domestic spying programmes while promising some reforms in the upcoming year.
Obama said he would review the reform recommendations by a presidential advisory panel during his holiday break and would make a "pretty definitive statement" in January about some reforms.
Obama's comments came in a week in which a federal judge declared the NSA's collection programme probably was unconstitutional. The US has charged Snowden with espionage, theft and unauthorised communication of national defence and intelligence information.
In the interview, Snowden denied he was trying to bring down the NSA. "I am working to improve the NSA," he said. "I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don't realise it."
Snowden left his post in Hawaii in May and went public with his first revelations about the NSA from Hong Kong a few weeks later. Later in June, he left for Russia and stayed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport until the Kremlin granted him temporary one-year asylum after nearly six weeks.
Snowden's revelations have outraged not only Americans and technical companies but also US allies like Germany, angered by documents showing that America was monitoring their leaders' cellphone calls and other virtual communications.