Why Edward Snowden Leaked the Secret NSA Information
The Guardian has revealed the identity of the man who leaked information about the NSA's surveillance programs, PRISM and Boundless Informant. Meet Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old defense contractor employee who's worked for the NSA for four years.
Snowden is currently employed by defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, where he makes around $200,000, and has worked at the NSA office in Hawaii for four years. "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," he said in a taped interview with Greenwald. He used to work for the CIA as a technical assistant. He's an American citizen with a girlfriend and a house in Hawaii. But on May 20, he told his boss he needed to take a few weeks off work. He got on a plane and flew to Hong Kong, where he's been holed up in a hotel room ever since (UPDATE: he may have left his home as early as May 1, according to the AP). He explained his motivations for leaking the NSA information in a note:
In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," but "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
Snowden realizes he's risking his life -- his house, his freedom, his girlfriend -- by leaking this information. "I'm willing to sacrifice all of that because I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building," he said.