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NEW YORK (AP) — National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says giving the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service to those who reported on the U.S. government's sweeping surveillance efforts is "vindication."

Snowden issued a statement Monday through the Freedom of the Press Foundation congratulating The Washington Post and The Guardian on their awards for stories based on documents he provided. He became a board member of the nonprofit organization earlier this year.

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Snowden says awarding the top prize in U.S. journalism to his colleagues is "a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government."

He adds that the reporters he worked with faced "extraordinary intimidation" and other pressure to get them to stop reporting.

Snowden added: "Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy."

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