The NSA has been hacking Chinese systems for years: Snowden

Edward Snowden considers himself a patriot, telling the South China Morning Post – from an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, “I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.”

Snowden also tells the newspaper there’s something else you did not know about the US government’s hacking activities, claiming the NSA has been actively hacking computers in China and Honk Kong since 2009:

“We hack network backbones – like huge internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one.”

A State Department spokesperson offered this less-than-clear explanation about the hacking and surveillance activities.

“There is a difference between, you know, going after economic data and financial information that is part of these cyber-attacks, or seems to be, and an issue which the president has welcomed a debate on, which is–and the administration has welcomed the debate on–which is surveillance, and going after people who mean to do harm”, said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.

But the NSA’s director told lawmakers Wednesday, that, in general, his agency’s surveillance programs — disclosed in great detail by Snowden – have saved lives.

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