When the news of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) widespread surveillance operations broke many people were wondering who leaked the information. As it turns out the person who leaked the information decided to come forward (which means he’ll probably be dead soon):
The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.
The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.
Some people will call for Mr. Snowden’s head while others, those who actually oppose government snooping, will see him as a hero. Sadly members of the United States government have already begun demanding Snowden be extradited from his hideout in Hong Kong to the United States so he can be disappeared, err, tried:
There was no immediate reaction from the White House but Peter King, the chairman of the House homeland security subcommittee, called for Snowden’s extradition from Hong Kong. Snowden flew there 10 days ago to disclose top-secret documents and to give interviews to the Guardian.
“If Edward Snowden did in fact leak the NSA data as he claims, the United States government must prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and begin extradition proceedings at the earliest date,” King, a New York Republican, said in a written statement. “The United States must make it clear that no country should be granting this individual asylum. This is a matter of extraordinary consequence to American intelligence.”
You have to love the double standard Mr. King is espousing. The NSA was caught spying on American citizens, an act that Congress was briefed on and approved, and King is after Snowden’s head for committing a heinous act. Apparently Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the United States but makes an exception for political targets, which means Snowden may be able to fight his extradition for some time.
Mr. Snowden should be treated as a hero for leaking details of the NSA’s spying operations. So long as the state refuses to recognized the people’s privacy the people should refuse to recognized the state’s privacy.