A source behind a series of major leaks about U.S. spying programs revealed himself on Sunday.
The Guardian newspaper said that Edward Snowden, an employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton who worked with the National Security Agency, was the source who exposed the widespread collection of U.S. phone and Internet records by the Obama administration.
“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he told the paper.
Snowden, who has already left the country, said he expects the U.S. government to launch a criminal investigation into his disclosures.
Even before Snowden came forward, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said authorities were about to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.
The Guardian first reported the NSA was collecting data from millions of Verizon phone customers in America. Both the British paper and Washington Post later exposed another surveillance program called PRISM, which gathers data from major U.S. Internet companies.
According to the paper, Snowden is now in Hong Kong because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent” and could possibly resist U.S. plans to extradite him back to America.
“We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week,” he said. “And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”
The Obama administration has prosecuted twice as many whistle blowers as every other administration combined, a fact not lost on Snowden.
“I am not afraid,” he said, “because this is the choice I’ve made.”