The source behind the leak of the top-secret NSA surveillance program – one of the most significant leaks in US history – has been revealed. A 29-year-old former CIA contractor Edward Snowden has fled to Hong Kong to avoid the fate of Bradley Manning.
The former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, had asked the Guardian to reveal his identity and had never planned on hiding.
“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said in an interview.
Snowden predicts that the government will launch an investigation against him, however it was “a matter of principle” for him because he believes that the people should know how the government intrudes into their privacy. According to Snowden he acted out of a desire to protect “basic liberties”and to “send a message to government that people will not be intimidated.”
“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,” said the whistleblower.
Snowden leaked top-secret documents to The Guardian that included the existence of a US National Security Agency’s extensive spying program called PRISM. The program was designed to collect information about digital communications allowing real-time online surveillance of US citizens.
According to the leaked information it gives “direct access” to files from the servers of major internet companies including Google and Facebook. The spying program was allegedly targeted to identify“folks who might engage in terrorism,” according to US president Barack Obama, who noted that American citizens should be prepared to trade some of their freedoms for more safety.
Snowden said he is willingly sacrificing his very comfortable life with a family he loves and a stable career with a salary of around $200,000. “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”
A former MI5 agent Annie Machon believes that Snowden will be the first of a series of modern whistleblowers who learnt from the terrible tragedy of the Bradley Manning case.
“The way he has run the whole exposure and disclosure of the crimes of the NSA and what they are doing against the American people and the rest of the world people has been very sophisticated. And I take heart from that. The fact that he has fled the USA, he is now in Hong Kong. The fact that he has been working with journalists of Glenn Greenwald’s caliber,” Machon told RT. “I think it’s been very, very well done. I would call this Whistleblowing 2.0.”
The revelation of the whistleblowers identity comes after NSA filed a leak investigation report on Sunday to the Justice Department for it to launch a criminal case into the breach of security. The leaks also come amid US Army Private Bradley Manning’s trial on charges of transmitting classified materials connected with US military operations abroad to the WikiLeaks website. The Obama administration has aggressively pursued whistleblowers and Snowden expects the government to pursue him, however he states that he “is not afraid, because this is the choice I’ve made.”
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