The New York Times – 2013-06-10 01:48:14
WASHINGTON, DC (June 9, 2013) — A 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA was the source for a series of recent disclosures about the government’s collection of huge amounts of private Internet and telephone data, the British newspaper The Guardian revealed Sunday.
The Guardian identified the source as Edward Snowden, who has worked at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee for various defense contractors. He has most recently worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, a defense contractor, the newspaper said.
The Guardian said it was revealing Snowden’s identity at his own request. In an interview with the newspaper, Snowden, who is staying in a hotel in Hong Kong, said he expected that the US government would seek to prosecute him for disclosing top-secret documents detailing the Obama administration’s extensive surveillance program.
“I have no intention of hiding who I am,” he was quoted as saying, “because I know I have done nothing wrong.”
Snowden’s disclosures to The Guardian and the Washington Post over the last week have reignited the controversy over the scope of government surveillance of US citizens, which appears to have expanded substantially since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In recent days, the Obama administration and other proponents have defended the surveillance program, revealing that it had helped to thwart terrorist plots, in order to bolster assertions that such data collection was necessary to keep Americans safe.
Many, though, have accused the president of abandoning pledges made as a candidate and early in his presidency to roll back the surveillance architecture created by the administration of George W. Bush.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper decried the revelation of the intelligence-gathering programs as reckless and said it has done “huge, grave damage.”
The stream of disclosures began Wednesday with the publication of a highly classified court order directing a Verizon Communications subsidiary to turn over logs of calls between the United States and abroad to the NSA. That was followed by the revelation of a program, known as Prism, that collects Internet data on foreigners abroad from companies like Google, Facebook and Apple.
In a video accompanying The Guardian article, Snowden said he came to Hong Kong, an autonomous Chinese territory, because he believed it was independent and had “a strong tradition of free speech.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Snowden described himself as a patriot who had become disillusioned by his experiences as a soldier in Iraq and later as a CIA employee overseas.
In 2009, he joined the NSA as a contractor at a facility in Japan, where he said he watched “as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in.”
The Guardian said that Snowden was working at the NSA office in Hawaii three weeks ago when he made final preparations to disclose the classified documents. It said he copied the documents, and then told a supervisor that he needed to take a few weeks off to deal with medical problems. He then flew to Hong Kong.
Booz Allen, in a statement, said Snowden had been an employee for less than three months and was assigned to a team in Hawaii.
“News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm,” the company statement said.
This image made available by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows an undated image of Edward Snowden, 29. Snowden worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency and is the source of The Guardian‘s disclosures about the US government’s secret surveillance programs, as the British newspaper reported Sunday, June 9, 2013.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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