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Former CIA assistant Edward Snowden outs himself as NSA whistleblower

Jon Phillips | June 11, 2013
You've seen the inflammatory NSA slides, and now you can attach a name to the paperwork: His name is Edward Snowden, he has a 10-year history in government defense and intelligence gathering, and now, he tells The Guardian, he's leaked classified documents because he thinks current NSA surveillance techniques pose "an existential threat to democracy."

"So, while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government, or someone they suspect of terrorism, they're collecting your communication to do so. An analyst at any time can target anyone. I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge, to even the President if I had a personal email."

Snowden lived in Hawaii before he jumped into the whistleblower abyss. But three weeks ago he copied documents that were later disclosed, and on May 20 left behind a girlfriend and a salary of roughly $200,000, and flew to Hong Kong, where he remains.

He told the Guardian that he expects to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act for revealing classified information. His words, in fact, took a particularly ominous turn: "Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets," he told The Guardian.

As of press time, there was no official word from the Obama administration on Snowden's revelation. But speaking on ABC News Sunday morning--just hours before Snowden came clean--House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) telegraphed at least one government position: "Taking a very sensitive classified program that targets foreign persons on foreign lands, and putting just enough out there to be dangerous, is dangerous to us. It's dangerous to our national security, and it violates the oath of which that person took. I absolutely think they should be prosecuted," Rogers said.


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