Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Snowden: The geek turned Deep Throat

AFP/ AFR | July 1, 2013
Edward Snowden turned over masses of secret information.

He criticised social security saying "somehow, our society managed to make it hundreds of years without social security just fine."

In one revealing conversation, Snowden angrily took issue with a 2009 New York Times report about US actions in Iran which was based on classified information.

"You don't put that shit in the NEWSPAPER," he wrote, adding that the anonymous sources spilling the beans "should be shot in the balls."

In 2009, he left the CIA and rejoined the National Security Agency in Japan, although he rarely mentioned his job in his online conversations.

In 2010, he returned to Ars Technica after a long absence with increasingly political posts. "Society really seems to have developed an unquestioning obedience towards spooky types," he wrote.

Just three years later he shot into the spotlight revealing the NSA's acquisition of phone logs and data from nine Internet giants, including Google, Microsoft and Facebook, as well as secret global hacking operations.

Snowden had taken flight after just three months in his new job with the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton as a systems administrator based at the NSA's threat operations center in Hawaii.

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

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

He headed first for Hong Kong carrying four computers, the New York Times said, and copies of secret documents.

In an interview with the British daily The Guardian, Snowden has insisted he is a "whistleblower" and tried to explain why he had decided to lift the lid on the secret surveillance programs.

"For me, there was no single moment. It was seeing a continuing litany of lies from senior officials to Congress... that compelled me to act."

Former vice president Dick Cheney has denounced him as a traitor, but Snowden shot back that "being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American." He highlighted the 4400 Americans and 100,000 Iraqis who died in the Iraq war.

"Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now."

According to Albert Ho, one of the lawyers who helped him flee Hong Kong, Snowden had no clear plan when he left Hawaii.

"He came to Hong Kong alone. He felt helpless and contacted human rights organisations well connected with lawyers," Ho told AFP.

On June 21, Snowden spent his 30th birthday dining on pizza and Pepsi in Hong Kong, before then fleeing to Moscow where he remains stuck amid a diplomatic tussle with Washington.

 

Previous Page  1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.