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NEW YORK — National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says giving the Pulitzer Prize in public service to those who reported on the U.S. government’s sweeping surveillance efforts is “vindication.”

Snowden issued a statement Monday through the Freedom of the Press Foundation congratulating The Washington Post and The Guardian on their awards for stories based on documents he provided. He became a board member of the nonprofit organization earlier this year.

Snowden says awarding the top prize in U.S. journalism to his colleagues is “a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government.”

He adds that the reporters he worked with faced “extraordinary intimidation” and other pressure to get them to stop reporting.

Snowden added: “Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten…

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