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Booz Allen fires Snowden, leaker of NSA spy docs

Jaikumar Vijayan | June 12, 2013
Security agencies slated to brief Congress Tuesday about secret DOJ, NSA surveillance programs

Government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, as expected, today fired an IT employee who claimed responsibility for leaking documents that described highly classified government surveillance programs to newspapers in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

In today's one-sentence update to a statement posted Sunday, Booz Allen said that Edward Snowden was terminated from his job on Monday for violating the company's code of ethics and policies.

The statement said that Snowden, 29, was an employee at Booz Allen Hamilton for less than three months. He was assigned to a Booz-Allen team in Hawaii where he worked as a contract employee for the National Security Agency (NSA) at a salary of $122,000 a year.

Media reports had previously listed Snowden's Booz Allen salary at $200,000 a year.

"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 Booz Allen statement said.

Snowden on Saturday said he had leaked to reporters documents describing two top-secret U.S. government surveillance programs.

One of the programs required Verizon, under a secret court order, to provide the NSA with daily records of calls made by all its customers since at least April.

Under the other program, called PRISM, the NSA and the FBI are said to intercept data directly from servers at Google, Microsoft, Facebook and other Internet companies.

The revelation of the programs stirred up protests by some lawmakers and privacy advocates who loudly called for government agencies to reveal more information on classified surveillance programs. Snowden's actions also instantly transformed him from an unknown government contract employee to an international figured seen as either a hero or traitor.

Since the secret documents were first published in the U.K. newspaper, that Guardian, last week, the response has been dizzying.

For instance, some 86 civil liberties groups and Internet companies, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reddit, Mozilla, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology, jointly sent a letter to lawmakers seeking an immediate end to the NSA spying program. The group is also pushing for reforms to rein in domestic surveillance. The letter accused lawmakers of approving "dragnet surveillance" programs that violate the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Senior Justice Department, NSA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence officials are slated to brief the entire U.S. House of Representatives on the government surveillance programs in closed meetings today, according to CNN.

Meanwhile, the Russian government has said it's willing to consider an asylum request by Snowden, who is reportedly hiding in Hong Kong.


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