The National Security Agency (NSA) and CIA are very powerful and very secure institutions that are often linked to ‘shady’ political events. For years people have worked to expose their actions, leak secret information and develop theories to explain what their goals really are. Most of the time this stuff is passed off as ‘conspiracy theories’ but this time things are different. Edward Snowden worked for the CIA and NSA for over four years as a technical assistant. In that time he also worked for defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton as well as a few other outside contractors. Before blowing the whistle, Snowden lived a very comfortable life that featured a large salary of about $200,000/year, a stable career, a girlfriend, a home in Hawaii, and a great family. The 29-year-old is now responsible for blowing the whistle on one of the most significant leaks in US political history which means he had to give all of it up.
Snowden is currently living in Hong Kong as he feels the city celebrates free speech and recognizes the right of political dissent. Snowden plans to stay there for as long as it takes as he feels Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government. His moves will not be liked by the NSA or CIA and it is likely he will be attacked for it. His actions put him up there with other epic whistleblowers; Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. Manning’s case has become very popular as he has been charged with 22 offences surrounding the main event of passing secret documents off to WikiLeaks where they exposed the corrupt actions of the US government and military.
“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.” Edward Snowden
Most of his disclosure deals with the subversion of government power, the destruction of people’s privacy, internet freedoms and basic liberties. Snowden reveals that everyone can be spied on and watched regardless of whether they have done anything wrong or not. Further, the NSA has twisted the lives of innocent people to make them seem dangerous.
Most of the time we look at agencies like the NSA and CIA as agencies with our best interest at heart. They exist because there are threats in the world and their goal is to keep us safe. But is this really the case? Are there really threats? Or are threats created so that they can continue to crack down and enforce tighter security to gain more control over the mass populace? Keep in mind the CIA has admitted to being involved and having prior knowledge to 14 of the last 22 terror attacks that occurred in America since 9/11. All of this results in a more fearful public and tighter laws.
“Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he says. “I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good… 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.”” Edward Snowden
Check out Edward’s statements on his motives as to why he chose to talk about what he did.
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