Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden predicted “the first of many” victories on Monday after a judge ruled an NSA surveillance program likely violated the constitution.
Snowden, who leaked hundreds of thousands of NSA documents, said he acted knowing the programs would be found unconstitutional once finally revealed.
“I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts,” Snowden said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
“Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many,” Snowden added.
The newspaper said journalist Glenn Greenwald, who initially reported on the leaked documents, supplied the statement from Snowden.
Greenwald, in an interview with MSNBC, said the ruling was an “important vindication” for Snowden.
U.S. District Court judge Richard Leon on Monday granted a request for an injunction that would halt the collection of phone metadata on two individuals. However, due to national security concerns, Leon stayed the ruling in order to give the government time to appeal.
Snowden is currently residing in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum after fleeing the United States.
Before the ruling on Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney again called on Snowden to return to the U.S. to face felony charges, where he will be “accorded full due process and protections in our system.”
Carney was tamping down speculation that the U.S. is open to granting Snowden immunity in exchange for returning the stolen documents.