"I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American."

That's what Edward Snowden tells the South China Morning Post in his first published interview since The Guardian and The Washington Post revealed he was the source who leaked top secret information about government programs that sweep up data on phone calls and Internet activity.

As we had reported, the 29-year-old former Booz Allen Hamilton employee left a hotel on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong on Monday and had essentially disappeared.

The South China Morning Post says on its website that reporter Lana Lam spoke to Snowden "earlier today."

Among the highlights of the interview:

-- Snowden says he plans to fight any extradition attempt by the U.S. "My intention," he said, "is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate. I have been given no reason to doubt your system."

-- As for those who question his decision to flee to Hong Kong, he said, "People who think I made a mistake in picking [Hong Kong] as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality."

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