NSA whistleblower Snowden denies being Chinese spy

Beijing, June 18 (Xinhua-ANI): The U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden said accusations from American politicians that he is a Chinese spy are a "predictable smear" designed to "distract from the issue of U.S. government misconduct", according to a South China Morning Post report on Tuesday.

In the second public comments since he admitted exposing secret U.S. cyberspying programmes, Snowden told readers of Guardian webchat to ask themselves, "if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now."

Snowden's comments last night came a day after former U.S. vice- president Dick Cheney said China would "probably be willing to provide immunity for (Snowden) or sanctuary for him in exchange for what he presumably knows or doesn't know."

Snowden also denied passing information to Beijing. He said he has had no contact with the Chinese government and he only works with journalists.

Snowden answered 18 questions among hundreds of them posted for the online chat. He did not discuss his plans or say whether he is still in Hong Kong.

Asked what he would say to others who could leak information on the U.S. intelligence apparatus and its effect on civil liberties, Snowden said, "this country is worth dying for." (Xinhua-ANI)

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