Hawaii man is source of National Security leaks
The man who revealed the existence of two top-secret National Security Agency surveillance programs gathered some of the information at his workplace in Hawaii before leaving several weeks ago for Hong Kong, media sources reported.
The Guardian newspaper identified Edward Snowden, 29, as the source of the leaks, which have touched off the latest national debate over secret government monitoring of Americans' activities.
"I am not going to hide," the Washington Post quoted Snowden as saying. "Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest."
The Post said Snowden wanted to step out of the shadows as the source of the information, and that he plans to seek asylum from any countries "that believe in free speech."
Snowden was a former technical assistant for the CIA, but more recently worked for the NSA as a contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton, the Guardian reported.
The newspaper said he had "a very comfortable life" with a salary of about $200,000 and a home in Hawaii that he shared with a girlfriend.
At the NSA office in Hawaii where he worked, he copied the last set of documents he planned to disclose, the Guardian said.
NSA and other authorities have twice visited his home in Hawaii and contacted his girlfriend, the newspaper reported.