Edward Snowden said Monday that his decision to expose National Security Agency surveillance programs was vindicated by a federal judge's ruling that the mass collection of phone data is probably unconstitutional.
"I acted on my belief that the N.S.A.'s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts," Snowden, who resides in Russia under temporary political asylum, said in a statement. "Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans' rights. It is the first of many."
Snowden's statement was passed to The New York Times by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story about the bulk collection of data based on secret files the former NSA contractor shared.
Greenwald echoed Snowden's sentiments during an appearance on MSNBC, andpraised him because he ""came forward because, as he said, he found out that the government in secret was violating our constitutional rights, and could not in good conscience let that stand."
Monday's ruling came as the White House declared that Snowden would not receive amnesty.
"Mr. Snowden is accused of leaking classified information and faces felony charges here in the United States," said Caitlin Hayden, spokesperson for the National Security Council. "He should be returned to the U.S. as soon as possible, where he will be accorded full due process and protections."