Washington - The US National Security Agency was developing a cyber warfare programme that would automatically respond to an internet attack without human involvement, fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden said in an interview published Wednesday.
Snowden told Wired magazine that the spy agency was developing a computer programme known as Monster Mind, designed to find and block suspected cyber attacks.
The software would then fire back without any human involvement, Snowden said, warning that such action could inadvertently hurt third countries, because cyber attacks are often routed through computers outside their country of origin.
Snowden warned that the programme could inadvertently start a war and that it would be the "ultimate threat to privacy" because it would require the NSA to screen all electronic communications entering the United States.
He described the effort as having pushed him over the edge to collect and release internal government documents that revealed the extent of US spying.