Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed the agency's surveillance program, called Monday's Pulitzer Prize announcement “a vindication for the public.”

Snowden, in his first blog post for the Freedom of the Press Foundation - of which he is a board member - congratulated The (U.K.) Guardian and the Washington Post for winning the Pulitzer Prize for public service for their reporting of the leaked documents.

“Today's decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government,” Snowden said. “We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognizes was work of vital public importance.”

Snowden also said that his efforts to expose the surveillance program “would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society.”