The National Security Agency whistleblower was finally revealed by the Guardian as a former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of NSA defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
His name is Edward Snowden, a soft-spoken 29-year-old who had to flee to Hong Kong because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.”
In an interview with the Guardian in a secret Hong Kong hotel room, Snowden said he has no regrets about exposing NSA’s domestic surveillance activities, even if he never sees his family again.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things,” Snowden said. “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. … 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.”
His heroic decision meant he had to leave his family, girlfriend and a $200,000-a-year-salary behind. The left-wing newspaper said it revealed the whistleblower’s identity at his request. “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me,” Snowden said. “I want it to be about what the U.S. government is doing.”
Snowden knew the Obama government will track and punish him like they did for Bradley Manning, the former U.S. soldier who is now facing trial for providing classified information to WikiLeaks.
“All my options are bad,” Snowden said. “I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners.”
The Guardian reported:
Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA.
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’s refusal to follow the Obama government’s unconstitutional and immoral spying on its own citizens indicates that he somehow failed to pass the Milgram experiment, which consists a series of social psychology experiments to test one’s blind, strong obedience to authority figures and official orders.
More from Snowden:
- “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions. 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.”
- “The 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.”
- “I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest. There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”
Snowden’s Facebook page. I’m not sure if this is his official ‘fan page’.