Edward Snowden looks back at NSA leaks, considers his personal mission accomplished

2013 is almost over, but revelations delivered this year about the amount of communications data the NSA has access to, and how it has acquired that data, will reverberate for much longer. The man at the center of the leaks, Edward Snowden, has spoken once again to The Washington Post in an interview stretching over 14 hours about what he did and why, saying "For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished...I already won." The meaning behind his mission was, in his words, to give the public a chance to look over what the government agency had decided -- behind the closed doors of Congress the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court -- is legal in order to track terrorists after 9-11. Naturally, NSA leaders disagree, and dispute assertions that he brought his concerns about the agency's work to his supervisors.

According to Snowden, he asked coworkers about how they thought the public would react if information about initiatives like PRISM and Boundless Informant appeared on newspaper frontpages, confronting them with data showing the programs collected more information in the US about Americans than Russians in Russia. Now, the information has been exposed for the public. Many companies are scrambling to lock down their systems both as a practical measure and a PR move, the NSA's policies are under review, and Snowden remains in Russia where he has been granted temporary asylum, and says he's "still working for the NSA right now...they just don't realize it."