The person behind the leak on details of a top secret United States spying program has just revealed himself and said that he did it out of conscience to protect “basic liberties for people around the world”. His name is Edward Snowden who identified himself as a former undercover CIA employee.
Snowden has been working for the NSA during the past 4 years as an “employee of various outside contractors.” These include technology firm Booz Allen Hamilton as well as computer company Dell. Prior to this he worked as a computer specialist at the CIA which he left in 2009.
Asked why he leaked the information regarding PRISM he responded said that he was motivated by principle to unmask one of the government’s secret programs that snoops on the American people. “There government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to.”
Speaking to the British newspaper The Guardian, 29 year old Snowden said that “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.”
He further said that, “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.”
Three weeks ago Snowden requested for a couple of weeks off from his supervisor for treatment of epilepsy. Before leaving the NSA office in Hawaii where he was stationed he copied secret documents pertaining to PRISM and flew immediately to Hong Kong.
He left Hawaii without even telling his girlfriend where he was going or what he was about to do. He said he knew the risks he was going to take.
“My primary fear is that they will come after my family, my friends, my partner. Anyone I have a relationship with. I will have to live with that for the rest of my life. I am not going to be able to communicate with them. They (the authorities) will act aggressively against anyone who has known me. That keeps me up at night.”
By revealing his true identity as the source of PRISM he has given more credibility to the report however it also opens himself from retaliation from U.S. authorities. He is currently staying at a hotel room in Hong Kong. He chose to reveal the leak from Hong Kong since according to him “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”.