NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had a lot to lose when, at the age of 29, he initiated worldwide interest in National Security Agency spying on American citizens — but in a Guardian profile, the young man explains that he doesn’t want to remain an anonymous source.
Edward Snowden tells the paper that he was making $200,000 a year and had built a stable and lucrative tech career in his years working as a contractor for various companies. But after he leaked one of the biggest stories in recent history, he seems unconcerned with the possible consequences in contrast with his ability to make citizens aware of pervasive intelligence gathering.
Glenn Greenwald has been covering the NSA whistleblower’s info dump and the ripples caused, and, in a piece in which Edward Snowden, at his request, was identified, Snowden says to Greenwald:
“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.”
In a note sent along with his first info dump, Snowden had said:
“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions … [however,] 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 … I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing … My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”
The paper says that Snowden took off to Hong Kong three weeks ago as he prepared for the splash made by the NSA whistleblower story, and The Guardian details measures to which he has gone to remain under the radar:
“He is deeply worried about being spied on. He lines the door of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them.”
Snowden admits that at this point, all his “options are bad,” adding that a number of things could happen at any time as he huddles in his Hong Kong hotel room:
“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 … We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”
But, Snowden adds, he was aware of the risks and made the choice to reveal the NSA spying info with that knowledge. Although he tears up as he expresses fear his family will be retaliated against, he says:
“I am not afraid, because this is the choice I’ve made.”
Edward Snowden ultimately says that despite the potential consequences, he is certain his choice was correct and he has “no regrets.”