Rogue US intelligence tech Edward Snowden has issued a defiant rebuke to his critics in Washington and warned more leaks were on the way, declaring: "Truth is coming and it cannot be stopped.''
The 29-year-old former contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) dismissed allegations he was a traitor or a Chinese agent and insisted he had exposed a dangerous US global surveillance network that threatens the privacy of millions.
US President Barack Obama's administration has protested that the programs exposed by Snowden's leaks were vital to protecting US citizens from terrorism.
But the revelations have triggered an embarrassing global debate.
Snowden, who fled last month from his job at an NSA base in Hawaii to Hong Kong carrying with him a cache of secret documents, is unrepentant. He vowed to expose more details about how US agents spy on private emails.
"More detail on how direct NSA's accesses are is coming,'' he said today, in an online interview hosted by The Guardian newspaper, repeating his allegation that US federal agents have access to private users' web traffic.
The government has opened a criminal probe into Snowden's acts and partially confirmed his allegations by defending the programs to access internet data and phone records, saying that they have thwarted dozens of terror attacks.
The degree to which US agencies have direct access to private communications stored on servers operated by private internet giants has proved to be one of the more controversial aspects of the revelations.
Firms like Google and Facebook say they provide information only when presented with a court order and deny that they have effectively given the NSA "back door'' access directly to their data banks.
But Snowden repeated his claim almost any intelligence analyst with access to the NSA signals intelligence database could target almost anyone's emails or phone metadata and that warrants are rarely audited.
"They can enter and get results for anything they want,'' he said.
"Phone number, email, user ID, cell phone handset ID (IMEI) and so on. It's all the same. The restrictions against this are policy-based, not technically-based and can change at any time,'' he said.
He also warned he could continue the leaks.
"All I can say right now is the US government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me,'' he said.
Some in Washington have suggested Snowden chose Hong Kong because he was working with US rival China, but he dismissed this as laughable.
"This is a predictable smear that I anticipated before going public,'' he said.
He had harsh words for the US politicians who have criticised him.
"Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honour you can give an American,'' he said.
Since Snowden surfaced in Hong Kong, he has released details of several US snooping programs. In the latest, he embarrassed the British government on the eve of the G8 by revealing that it had bugged leaders at a previous summit.