Former National Security Agency contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden is certain that Russia and China did not get their hands on top secret documents detailing the United States' surveillance progams, he told the New York Times in an interview published Friday.
Speaking via encrypted email from Russia, where he has been granted asylum for one year, Snowden said he believed the government would have attempted to discredit him if he had kept his concerns within the NSA instead of sharing them with the press.
The White House has said that Snowden should have used official protocol to complain rather than taking secret documents to reporters.
But Snowden told The Times that system does not work, since "you have to report wrongdoing to those most responsible for it."
The interview saw Snowden seek to address some of the criticisms against him.
Namely, Snowden insisted that he did not share secret documents with China and Russia and had never taken the files with him to those countries.
The former intelligence analyst said that he gave all the information to Guardian and Washington Post journalists and did not keep copies for himself.
"There's a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents," he told The Times.
He said that he had learned about Chinese spying operations from his former work and thus knew how best to hide the files.
He also said that he purposely did not compromise any NSA spying operations in China, and that the US government could not prove any damage his leaks caused.
Snowden did not give details about his whereabouts in Russia, but said that he was free from government control and could move around.