Whistle-blowers are becoming increasingly important in a world where governments never officially acknowledge mistakes. The recent spate of leaks regarding NSA’s surveillance have also been revealed by a similar whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, who was formerly a part of CIA.
Snowden has been a part of U.S. security agencies for a long while. He was a technical assistant at CIA and had been working with National Security Agency for the last four years, serving many outside contractors as part of the job.
The 29-year old had access to a bulkload of NSA documents, detailing the agency’s surveillance initiatives. According to him, when he grew informed of such measures by the agency, he grew disillusioned and decided to blow the whistle on it.
So after he copied some of the relevant documents, he sent them straight to the Guardian who was then able to publish them, along with reports, in phases. Naturally, Snowden was aware that he is going to be the target of the U.S. government’s persecution as soon as it was discovered that he was the whistle-blower.
Snowden evidently had a really good life back at Hawaii, where he was working for NSA. With a salary of some $200,000, a girlfriend and a good career, he was happy. But according to him, “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”
Currently, Snowden is stationed at Hong Kong, having left his home, his girlfriend and his career. He knew the U.S. government would go after him as soon as the leaks were published and so, he has tried to put him at neutral turf. However, concerns have been cited that China may try to cash into the situation and whisk him away from Hong Kong.
Despite knowing what lies ahead for him, Snowden is satisfied that he made the right choices by instigating a debate on the privacy rights of the individuals and against state-backed surveillance. He says, “I feel satisfied that this was all worth it. I have no regrets.”