Twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden, a technical specialist working for Booz Allen Hamilton and contracted by the NSA, unmasked himself on Sunday as being the main source of disclosures about top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) programs. By so doing, he exposed himself to possible prosecution by disclosing systematic surveillance of innocent citizens; however, he is willing to face whatever consequences come from his disclosures. He is currently living in a hotel in Hong Kong but expects security agents to find him momentarily.
In a Sunday interview, he told The Washington Post from Hong Kong: “allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest.”
Snowden said that he believes his disclosures have opened up a dialogue about privacy; he believes that people now have the “power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state.” In a note accompanying the first document leaked to The Post, he wrote, “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.” He is “comfortable” with what he did.
Snowden is seeking “asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy,” but he understands that he could be extradited back to the United States for trial.
In an interview with The Guardian in the United Kingdom, Snowden said, “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. I don’t want to live in a society that does [this] sort of things…. I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”
Snowden said that the leaked documents reveal “That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [Senator Ron] Wyden and [Senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinized most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”
The whistleblower left the hotel in Hong Kong, and no one seems to know where he is currently. The U.S. government is charging him with exposing classified material.
I have believed for a long time that there are good people who know the terrible acts committed by members of the Obama Administration while lying to us about them. It appears that Edward Snowden is one of those people who are willing to sacrifice all that he has – family, career, even life itself – in order to expose the evil. We need more brave men and women to step forward and expose the secret combinations that are destroying our freedoms. I hope that he is telling the truth and that he receives protection under whistleblower laws.