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.