Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind revelations of NSA surveillance

The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in US history explains his motives, his future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows

The Guardian [UK]
09 Jun 2013


“You can’t come up against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk. If they want to get you, they will…I do not expect to see home again…My greatest fear…is that nothing will change…”



‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things.’ Watch this video at The Guardian.

The Guardian also has an entire section explaining the many angles and complexities of this issue: The NSA Files.


Related: Rand Paul vows supreme court challenge to NSA programs 

Edward Snowden, 29, an employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, revealed himself to be the whistleblower behind the exposure of secret NSA surveillance programs. Snowden said he acted out of a desire to protect “privacy and basic liberties.”

Guardian journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill have interviewed Snowden in Hong Kong, where he traveled from his home in Hawaii in late May. “The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more,” he said.

A print profile of Snowden is here. A video interview is here and a Q&A is here.

• In Washington, the chairs of congressional intelligence committees said they thought Snowden’s disclosures are criminal and they expect him to be prosecuted if possible.

Senator Rand Paul said he would try to challenge the NSA surveillance programs in court and Senator Mark Udall called for ‘reopening’ the Patriot Act to remove the legal foundation for broad surveillance sweeps.

Booz Allen Hamilton, Edward Snowden’s employer, is one of America’s biggest security contractors and “a significant part of the constantly revolving door between the US intelligence establishment and the private sector,” Guardian diplomatic editor Julian Borger writes:

The current of director of national intelligence (DNI), James Clapper, who issued a stinging attack on the intelligence leaks this weekend, is a former Booz Allen executive. The firm’s current vice-chairman, Mike McConnell, was DNI under the George W Bush administration. He worked for the Virginia-based company before taking the job, and returned to the firm after leaving it. The company website says McConnell is responsible for its “rapidly expanding cyber business”.

James Woolsey, a former CIA director was also a Booz Allen vice-president, and Melissa Hathaway, another former company executive also once worked as the top aide on cybersecurity to McConnell when he was DNI. The company headquarters in the leafy Washington suburb of McLean in northern Virginia, close to CIA headquarters and home to former and current intelligence officers.

Snowden’s decision to reveal his identity as a computer systems administrator for Booz Allen Hamilton, directly handling National Security Agency IT systems, raises significant image problems for the $6bn company and its 25,000-strong staff, which has traded on a bond of trust with sensitive clients, particularly the intelligence establishment.

Read the full piece here.


Also, from 2008, but perhaps timely again:  Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder Richard Stallman

Web-based programs like Google’s Gmail will force people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that will cost more and more over time, according to the free software campaigner


Update:  H/T 100 Percent Fed Up:


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An odd coalition has lined up to support the National Security Agency amid news that the NSA has been secretly collecting phone records from…


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