NSA whistleblower warning, “architecture of oppression”

“If you realize that that’s the world you helped create and it is going to get worse with the next generation and the next generation and extend the capabilities of this architecture of oppression, you realize that you might be willing to accept any risks and it doesn’t matter what the outcome is,” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/10/us/former-cia-worker-says-he-leaked-surveillance-data.html?hpw The leaker,  29-year-old former C.I.A. computer technician Edward Joseph Snowden, is a relatively low-level employee of a giant government contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, that has won billions of dollars in secret government contracts over the past decade, partly by aggressively marketing itself as the premier protector of America’s classified computer infrastructure.  Then the United States must set up a strategy for prosecuting a man whom many will see as a hero for provoking a debate that President Obama himself has said he welcomes — amid already fierce criticism of the administration’s crackdown on leaks. Mr. Snowden said his job had given him access to myriad secrets that the United States government guards most jealously, including the locations of Central Intelligence Agency stations overseas and the identities of undercover agents working for the United States. But he said he had been selective in what he disclosed, releasing only what he found to be the greatest abuses of a surveillance state that he came to view as reckless and having grown beyond reasonable boundaries. He was alternately defiant and resigned, saying at one point that the C.I.A. might try to spirit him out of China, and speculating that it might even hire Asian gangs to go after him.

Mr. Snowden, a native of North Carolina, told The Guardian that he signed up in 2003 for an Army Special Forces training program because he wanted to fight in Iraq. “I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression,” But he said he had quickly become disillusioned with the military.
“Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone,”

After breaking his legs during a training accident, Mr. Snowden was discharged from the Army and took a job as a security guard at an N.S.A. secret facility on the University of Maryland’s campus.

He was later hired by the C.I.A. to work on information technology security, serving in Geneva. In 2009, he joined the N.S.A. as a contractor at a facility in Japan, where, he said, he watched “as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in.”

Most recently, Mr. Snowden has been part of a Booz Allen team working at an N.S.A. facility in Hawaii. Three weeks ago, he made final preparations to disclose the classified documents. He had copied the documents and told a supervisor that he needed to take a few weeks off to deal with medical problems. He then flew to Hong Kong.

Mike McConnell, the former head of the N.S.A. and director of national intelligence who in 2011 was promoted to vice chairman at Booz Allen is now responsible for driving Booz Allen’s cybercapabilities and advancing its relationship with his former agency. He said “But what makes it hard is that everyone has an opinion. There’s very  little appreciation for the threat, and there are so many special interests, particularly civil liberty groups with privacy concerns.”

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