Leaker: NSA Has Been Snooping on China Since 2009

'We hack backbones—huge Internet routers, basically' for access to smaller computers, Snowden tells Chinese paper.

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is contributing to Chinese complaints that the United States is engaged in acts of cyberespionage against Beijing.

Snowden, the 29-year-old former contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton, told the South China Morning Post that Washington has been monitoring "hundreds" of targets in Hong Kong and mainland China.

According to documents the Post says it possesses but hasn't yet verified, the use of PRISM to monitor Chinese electronic activity has been taking place since 2009.

"We hack backbones—huge Internet routers, basically—that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one," Snowden said.

China recently stepped up its accusations of U.S. online snooping. If Snowden's account is true, this would be the first Western evidence to back those claims. A call to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was not immediately returned Wednesday.