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Snowden tells Chinese newspaper he took job to gather secret information

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 25th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In remarks published in the South China Morning Post, Edward Snowden says he took the job at Booz Allen Hamilton so he could obtain secret information on PRISM for the purpose of leaking it to the world.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The South China Morning Post is releasing details of an interview with Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, who some say has committed an act of treason for revealing to the world the existence of PRISM.

PRISM is a secret National Security Administration program that collects phone and internet data from users all over the world to identify patters of behavior consistent with terrorist activities. Authorities say the program has already foiled over 50 plots.

However, Snowden has leaked to the media that the NSA also has the power to spy on private citizens. He explained that the NSA does so as a matter of routine, claiming an exemption granted by a secret court that allows them to access the detailed information of any citizen provided the initial effort was somehow "inadvertent." Snowden revealed that even a low-level agent could tap the president's phone calls if desired.

The existence of the massive surveillance network brings to public debate the amount of power the NSA has and if it should be permitted to wield such power. According to earlier remarks from Snowden, the NSA could make anyone look suspicious, if they wished to destroy an individual.That's a lot of power for a clandestine organization to have, especially when it isn't publicly accountable.

Snowden apparently told the South China Morning Post that he took his job at Booz Allen Hamilton to gain access to sensitive information.

"My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked," he told the Post.

"That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.

When the paper asked if his motivation to join Booz Allen Hamilton was to obtain information on the clandestine program Snowden replied, "Correct on Booz."

The admission that his efforts were deliberate should come as no surprise. Snowden already expressed having much earlier reservations about the surveillance program, but that he was hopeful President Obama would curtail its activities. It was only after Obama scaled up the activities that he decided to leak information on the program.

Snowden appears to have carefully chosen what he leaked and when. He has not leaked any information tied to specific individuals or anything that would jeopardize particular agents. Nor is there any evidence that he has acted out of financial gain or has shared detailed information with foreign agents. Instead, he has been fairly general in his remarks, providing only some basic specifics that demonstrate his familiarity with PRISM. For example, he has not released passwords or provided access to data to anyone on the outside.

Despite his revelation that the U.S. government is spying on people, including American citizens, the government has charged him with spying. Snowden could face a decade or more in prison if convicted.

Currently, his whereabouts are unknown and a small army of media reporters, and probably secret agents, are on the hunt for him. Rumors suggest he is still in Moscow and intends to seek asylum in Ecuador.

However, at this point all that is speculation.

What happens next for Snowden isn't the most important issue; what happens next for the NSA and the United States is.

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