Edward Snowden, a former contract employee working at the U.S. National Security Agency, has admitted to leaking the top secret information regarding PRISM. His actions have caused worldwide debates regarding the NSA’s ability to use their surveillance programs to reach a vast amount of human communication.
According to Snowden, he acted out of concern for the freedom of people around the world. Snowden a former CIA technical assistant-contract employee of Booz Allen and Hamilton admitted to leaking PRISM information to the Washington Post and British’s Guardian newspaper. He decided to disclose classified information to the media because he had become disillusioned by President Obama’s administration, they seemed to be upholding the policies of former President George W. Bush.
“My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which was done in their name and that which is done against them,” he said. “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.”
Three weeks ago, while working at the Hawaii brand of NSA, he decided to copy the top secret documents. He then informed his supervisor that he was taking two weeks leave for treatment of epilepsy. At that point, he decided to travel to Hong Kong because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.”
After traveling to Hong Kong, he became fearful that the CIA would capture him and has only ventured out three times since arriving there.
“My primary fear is that they will come after my family, my friends, my partner. Anyone I have a relationship with,” he said. “I will have to live with that for the rest of my life. I am not going to be able to communicate with them. They (the authorities) will act aggressively against anyone who has known me. That keeps me up at night.”
Both the British Guardian newspaper and the Washington post, revealed his identity on Sunday at his request.
On Sunday morning, prior to Snowden’s admission, the chairs of the House and Senate intelligence committees, appeared jointly on ABC’s “This Week” in support of PRISM.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) had firm words for the unidentified leaker and the journalist who first reported the story, the British Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald.
“He doesn’t have a clue how this thing works; neither did the person who released just enough information to literally be dangerous,” Rogers said, adding, “I absolutely think he should be prosecuted.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) expressed similar sentiments, the whistleblower should be prosecuted. She also downplayed media reports that suggested the Obama administration exaggerated the impact of the programs.
While many elected officials supports the programs, others were in opposition.
Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley from Oregon, voiced concerns regarding the collection of phone records.
“It’s unclear to me that we’ve developed any intelligence through the metadata program that’s led to the disruption of plots that we couldn’t obtain through other programs,” said Udall, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” on Sunday.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) wants to see charges filed against the government. “I’m going to be asking all the Internet providers and all of the phone companies, ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit,” Paul said on “Fox News Sunday.” “If we get 10 million Americans saying we don’t want our phone records looked at, then somebody will wake up and say things will change in Washington.”
By: Veverly Edwards