I’m sure many of you have already head of the National Security Agency’s PRISM program. Under the program, apparently, the NSA is able to get information from major internet companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and a few others. The companies themselves have denied any knowledge of PRISM, whereas the U.S. National Intelligence Director has said that the companies were told of the program and data was obtained through a written directive. Word first got out about this program when some top secret documents were leaked. The PRISM leak source and the motivations behind this leak have finally been revealed. Former CIA technical assistant Edward Snowden, who is 29 years old, is the man who blew the whistle on PRISM.
Currently Snowden is an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, a defense contractor. He has worked at the NSA for over four years as an employee of various defense contractors such as Dell and Booz Allen. Saying that he has no intention of hiding because “I know I have done nothing wrong,” the Guardian has finally revealed his identity on his own request. Snowden says he will “be made to suffer” for his actions, but says that he 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.” After copying these top secret documents at the Hawaii office of NSA, he flew to Hong Kong because he believes they have a “spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent,” apart from the fact that he believes Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world that may very well resist dictation from the U.S. government.
Snowden says that he is not motivated by money, if he were, he could have sold these secret documents to any number of countries for a ridiculous price. He believes that the government has entitled itself to power that it isn’t entitled to, adding that he 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.” He also says that harming people isn’t his goal, claiming that there were all sorts of documents he didn’t reveal that could have made a big impact. Every document leaked was carefully evaluated and determined to be in the larger public interest.
Even though he is in Hong Kong, the U.S. government has an option of seeking his extradition, which is a long and arduous process. He might even be taken away by the Chinese government for questioning, they may believe that he possesses information that could be helpful for them, perhaps this may be one of the concerns of the U.S. government as well. Worst case scenario, he might be taken by CIA and transported State side. Even with all the uncertainty surrounding his life, Edward Snowden says that he does not regret what he has done.