Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden claimed in a recent interview to have received “significant threats” to his life after leaking classified data about the agency’s surveillance network.
The whistleblower, who has been granted asylum in Russia, cited reports of anonymous U.S. officials wishing him harm. “These people, and they are government officials, have said they would love to put a bullet in my head or poison me when I come out of the supermarket and then watch me die in the shower,” Snowden said.
“I’m still alive and don’t lose sleep for what I did because it was the right thing to do,” said Snowden in an interview with German public television broadcaster ARD, which aired on Sunday. “There are significant threats but I sleep very well.”
Snowden also claimed the U.S. spy agency is involved in industrial espionage and European efforts to protect citizens’ data from U.S. surveillance are likely to fail, the Financial Times reports. National cloud servers proposed by European politicians and tech companies as a way of keeping data on European soil were “not going to stop the NSA,” he said.
The NSA is also engaged in economic espionage, said Snowden. He told the broadcasters that if German engineering company Siemens had information that would benefit U.S. interests, but had no relevance to national security, the NSA “will go after that information and they’ll take it.”