NSA Whistleblower is 29-Year-Old Contractor

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 9 2013 3:37 PM

Paper Reveals NSA Whistleblower's Identity: “I Am Not Afraid Because This Is the Choice I’ve Made”

nsa

Screengrab from Guardian interview

The man responsible for handing over secret information to journalists that the Guardian says amounts to "one of the most significant leaks in US political history" isn’t even 30. The Guardian reveals the identity of the man who gave the paper several top-secret documents and he’s a 29-year-old American who has worked at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various contracts, including
Booz Allen Hamilton, where he is still an employee. The paper emphasizes that it is revealing Edward Snowden’s identity at his request. He insists he never intended to remain anonymous: "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong."

Snowden traveled to Hong Kong from Hawaii, where he lived with his girlfriend, right before leaking the documents, choosing the city because "they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.” Still, he’s well aware lots of things could happen to him: The United States could begin extradition proceedings, the Chinese government may try to question him. And he even sees rendition as a possibility. Snowden hopes to eventually get political asylum somewhere, with Iceland being at the top of his list, but he knows that may never happen.

Snowden insists he doesn’t want to be famous, but felt an obligation to let the world know what he was witnessing. Even though he had a “very comfortable life” Snowden says he was willing to sacrifice everything “because 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.” Read the full interview here

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 23 2014 12:43 PM Occupy Wall Street How can Hillary Clinton be both a limousine liberal and a Saul Alinsky radical?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Head of Security Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 2:31 PM 3 Simpsons Showrunners Reflect on New Fans and the “Classic Era” Myth
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 1:50 PM Oh, the Futility! Frogs Try to Catch Worms off of an iPhone Video.
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 1:38 PM Why Is Fall Red in America but Yellow in Europe? A possible explanation, 35 million years in the making.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.