Man who exposed US secret surveillance program seeks political asylum
WASHINGTON, June 10 (RAPSI) - Edward Snowden, 29, an employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton who has admitted to leaking secret information to the media, has told journalists that he would be asking for political asylum in a country that respects freedom of speech.
The Guardian and the Washington Post disclosed the name of the man who blew the whistle on the US National Security Agency, one of the most secretive organizations in the world, on Sunday night Moscow time.
Former technical assistant for the CIA, Snowden said that his "sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."
Snowden, who is currently hiding in Hong Kong, said he wants justice and can no longer listen to politicians' lies.
The Guardian wrote last week that it had a secret court order requiring US telecom company Verizon to provide data from millions of customers to the US authorities for three months. The Washington Post reported about an Internet scouring program code-named PRISM, which allowed the NSA and the FBI to tap into nine US Internet companies and to gather all information from users, including videos, emails, searches and pictures.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper criticized the PRISM media coverage, saying that these leaks threaten national security. Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor with the defense industry and security services, including the National Security Agency, has released a statement saying that Snowden had been an employee for less than three months and that it is shocked by news reports that Snowden allegedly leaked classified information.
"If accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm. We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter," Booz Allen Hamilton said.