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Snowden not out to hurt U.S. government, only to shine light on it

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

What happens to Edward Snowden may not matter any longer, as the fate of PRISM may have been sealed weeks or even months before Snowden made his daring flight to Hong Kong. According to Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who Snowden contacted in February, Snowden likely took precautions to make sure the information he had would become public if anything happened to him.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In an interview with the Daily Beast, Glenn Greenwald, a journalist for the Guardian, the paper that broke Snowden's leak, Greenwald said Snowden likely sent multiple copies of sensitive information to others so it could be publicized even if something happened to him.

He said Snowden, "has taken extreme precautions to make sure many different people around the world have these archives to insure the stories will inevitably be published. if anything happens at all to Edward Snowden, he told me he has arranged for them to get access to the full archives."

So far, even the recipients of those files cannot access them because they are highly encrypted and protected with passwords, which they do not have. However, if anything happens to him, Snowden has likely arranged for the documents to become public.

At this point, even if U.S. officials manage to capture Snowden, who is now wanted on espionage charges, the damage is already done.

Despite the harm to the PRISM, Snowden took deliberate care to avoid naming individuals or disclosing data that could harm people or sensitive systems. Although he disclosed the existence of PRISM, he was very careful with what he disclosed.

"He was not trying to harm the U.S. government," Greenwald told The Daily Beast. "He was trying to shine light on it."

Greenwald explained that Snowden impressed the importance of publishing responsibly, and following strict journalistic processes. ""Snowden himself was vehement from the start that we do engage in that journalistic process and we not gratuitously publish things."

According to intelligence officials, Snowden was likely planning to expose PRISM for several years, and went to work at Booz Allen Hamilton with the deliberate intent of gathering more information to expose the program. In that process it is now believed he accessed files and information that even he, as a low-level employee, wasn't allowed to access. It's also believed that these files may be stashed in a number of places, both in physical media and across the internet.

"At this point there is very little anyone can do about this," a former counterintelligence officer told The Daily Beast.

On June 17, during a live chat Snowden had with the Guardian he said ominously, "All I can say right now is the U.S. government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped."

Meanwhile, Snowden is believed to be hiding in a Moscow airport terminal, unable to depart. Ecuador is currently considering his request for asylum, a process that could take at least eight weeks according to their officials.

What happens to Snowden is irrelevant. The time has come to let the powers that be do what they will. For the rest of us, it's time for questions, and answers, both from ourselves and from our government.

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