Quoted: NSA spying whistleblower speaks

“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.”

Edward Snowden, a former CIA technician, has come forward and said he is the source of the leaks that led to the revelations last week of U.S. surveillance of phone calls and Internet communications. The 29-year-old IT contractor talked with the Guardian, which first published the story about the NSA collecting call data of Verizon customers in the United States, and the Washington Post, which reported on the Prism program that links technology companies to government surveillance of online communications. Experts told the Post that Snowden — who says he does not have a high school diploma and is being described as a low-level “green badge” contractor — could have been one of the “battalions” of computer and technical experts hired by the CIA after the 9/11 attacks. (Some wonder how a relatively lowly employee could have had the access he claims to have had.) The government has acknowledged the programs and President Obama has defended the spying, calling it necessary to fight terrorism. Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and Microsoft — which risk losing the trust of their many users — have denied direct involvement with the Prism program. Snowden, who reportedly fled to Hong Kong, told the Guardian that “the NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting… You will never be safe whatever protections you put in place.”

 

Photo of Edward Snowden by the Guardian via the Associated Press

Levi Sumagaysay Levi Sumagaysay (4045 Posts)

Levi Sumagaysay is editor of the combined SiliconBeat and Good Morning Silicon Valley. She also helps take care of SiliconValley.com, the Mercury News tech website. Email: lsumagaysay (at) bayareanewsgroup (dot-com).