NEW YORK (AP) -- National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says giving the Pulitzer Prize for 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."
Prize winners were:
Public Service: The Guardian US and The Washington Post for the revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency. The committee cited the Post for authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security. It cited The Guardian US for aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.
Breaking News Reporting: The Boston Globe staff for its exhaustive and empathetic coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing manhunt that enveloped the city, using photography and a range of digital tools to capture the full impact of the tragedy. Finalists: The Arizona Republic staff for its compelling coverage of a fast-moving wildfire that claimed the lives of 19 firefighters and destroyed more than a hundred homes, using an array of journalistic tools to tell the story; and The Washington Post staff for its alert, in-depth coverage of the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, employing a mix of platforms to tell a developing story with accuracy and sensitivity.
Investigative Reporting: Chris Hamby of The Center for Public Integrity, Washington, D.C., for his reports on how some lawyers and doctors rigged a system to deny benefits to coal miners stricken with black lung disease, resulting in remedial legislative efforts.
Explanatory Reporting: Eli Saslow of The Washington Post, for his unsettling and nuanced reporting on the prevalence of food stamps in post-recession America, forcing readers to grapple with issues of poverty and dependency.
Local Reporting: Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia of the Tampa Bay Times for their relentless investigation into the squalid conditions that marked housing for the city's substantial homeless population, leading to swift reforms.
National Reporting: David Philipps of The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo., for expanding the examination of how wounded combat veterans are mistreated, focusing on loss of benefits for life after discharge by the Army for minor offenses, stories augmented with digital tools and stirring congressional action.
International Reporting: Jason Szep and Andrew R.C. Marshall of Reuters for their courageous reports on the violent persecution of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Myanmar that, in efforts to flee the country, often falls victim to predatory human-trafficking networks.
Feature Writing: No award.
Commentary: Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press for his columns on the financial crisis facing his hometown, written with passion and a stirring sense of place, sparing no one in the critique.
Criticism: Inga Saffron of The Philadelphia Inquirer for her criticism of architecture that blends expertise, civic passion and sheer readability into arguments that consistently stimulate and surprise.
Editorial Writing: Editorial staff of The Oregonian, Portland, for its lucid editorials that explain the urgent but complex issue of rising pension costs, notably engaging readers and driving home the link between necessary solutions and their impact on everyday lives.
Editorial Cartooning: Kevin Siers of The Charlotte Observer for his thought-provoking cartoons drawn with a sharp wit and bold artistic style.
Breaking News Photography: Tyler Hicks of The New York Times for his compelling pictures that showed skill and bravery in documenting the unfolding terrorist attack at Westgate mall in Kenya.
Feature Photography: Josh Haner of The New York Times for his moving essay on a Boston Marathon bomb blast victim who lost most of both legs and now is painfully rebuilding his life. Lacy Atkins of the San Francisco Chronicle for her revealing portrait of an Oakland school's efforts to help African-American boys avoid neighborhood risks and profit from education; and Michael Williamson of The Washington Post for his portfolio of pictures exploring the multi-faceted impact of the nation's food stamp program on 47 million recipients.