A Few Good Men: PRISM Whistle-blower Edward Snowden reveals his identity

Edward Snowden, the 29-years old NSA whistle-blower, has revealed his identity in an interview to The Guardian. Snowden is the person who the leaked the documents related to PRISM and Boundless Informant programs of NSA.

Snowden is currently in Hong Kong, from where he released the documents. He moved to the country on May 20th as he believed “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.” He also believed that it was “one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.”

Snowden chose to reveal his identity because he had no intention of hiding who he was. He says, “…because I know I have done nothing wrong.”

The Guardian writes:

Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA.

Snowden is aware of the risks he is taking (he is an extremely smart, intelligent person who worked for CIA, NSA and many other organizations). He had a great life- $200,000 salary, a family stability and a bright career. He sacrificed all of that. He said, “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

Snowden joined the US army in 2003. He said he joined the army because he was driven by the same principle which drove him to leak the surveillance documents –   to help free people from oppression. In 2003 he wanted to fight the Iraq war because he wanted to free Iraqi people from oppression. But when he trained for the war in 2003 he was devastated  as the people training him were not driven by the same principle as he was, “Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone.”

10 years later he is still fighting for the same cause. Just the battleground has changed.

So what future might hold for him? Looking at the aggressive manner Obama administration is handling whistle-blowers, it’s hard to say. Is he afraid? “I am not afraid, because this is the choice I’ve made.” Only worry he has is the consequences on this on his family. “The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more. That’s what keeps me up at night.”

About Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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