Last week, The Guardian broke stories about the U.S. government routinely obtaining phone call records for millions of Americans and secretly tapping the servers at major Internet companies. Now, the person who revealed that information has come forward and identified himself as Edward Snowden.
The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Laura Poitras reported, “The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell. The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request.”
Computerworld quoted Snowden, who said, “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.” He added, “I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”
The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman, Aaron Blake and Greg Miller noted, “Snowden said he is seeking ‘asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy,’ but the law appears to provide for his extradition from Hong Kong, a semiautonomous territory of China, to the United States. Although any extradition proceeding could take months or even years, experts said Snowden has not put himself in a favorable position.”
According to The Wall Street Journal’s Te-Ping Chen and Chester Yung, “The 29-year-old who leaked secret information about U.S. surveillance programs may have checked out of a Hong Kong hotel Monday after being holed up for days, going off the radar hours after he went public and opened himself up to possible criminal prosecution.”