• Sun
  • Nov 23, 2014
  • Updated: 4:22pm
Edward Snowden
NewsHong Kong

Snowden sought Booz Allen job to gather evidence on NSA surveillance

Fugitive whistle-blower reveals for first time he took job at US government contractor with the sole aim of collecting proof of spying activities

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 June, 2013, 11:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 June, 2013, 4:49pm
 

Edward Snowden secured a job with a US government contractor for one reason alone - to obtain evidence of Washington's cyberspying networks, the South China Morning Post can reveal.

For the first time, Snowden has admitted he sought a position at Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the US National Security Agency's secret surveillance programmes ahead of planned leaks to the media.

"My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked," he told the Post on June 12. "That is why I accepted that position about three months ago."

During a live global online chat last week, Snowden also stated he took pay cuts "in the course of pursuing specific work". He said: "Booz was not the most I've been paid."

His admission comes as US officials voiced anger at Hong Kong, and indirectly Beijing, after the whistle-blower was allowed to leave the city on Sunday.

Snowden is understood to be heading for Ecuador to seek political asylum with the help of WikiLeaks, which claimed to have secured his safe passage to the South American country.

Snowden, who arrived in Hong Kong on May 20, first contacted documentary maker Laura Poitras in January, claiming to have information about the intelligence community. But it was several months later before Snowden met Poitras and two British reporters in the city.

He spent the time collecting a cache of classified documents as a computer systems administrator at Booz Allen Hamilton.

In his interview with the Post, Snowden divulged information that he claimed showed hacking by the NSA into computers in Hong Kong and the mainland.

"I did not release them earlier because I don't want to simply dump huge amounts of documents without regard to their content," he said.

"I have to screen everything before releasing it to journalists."

Asked if he specifically went to Booz Allen Hamilton to gather evidence of surveillance, he replied: "Correct on Booz."

The documents he divulged to the Post were obtained at Booz Allen Hamilton in April, he said. He intends to leak more of those documents later.

"If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of US network operations against their people should be published."

Two days after Snowden broke cover in Hong Kong as the source of the NSA leaks, Booz Allen Hamilton sacked him.

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This article is now closed to comments

thetimchannel
This makes Edward Snowden even more of a hero, since he went into in knowing he was probably going to ruin his life on behalf of saving the democracy he grew up with if he did find the kind of abusive surveillance state he feared was being implemented and that he was bent on exposing. Attempts to impeach the 'nobility' of his actions are misguided. He didn't hack into your bank account and rob you blind. He didn't steal your identity. He's not trying to blackmail people based on their politics, medical history, religious affiliation, etc. He's showing HOW EASY it is for someone to do it. He's highlighting what should be obvious from history. Vast databases of citizen data cannot be secured from piracy, theft or misuse by government officials.
One last aside. Bush (and now Obama) have tried to keep the hard facts of United States war crimes in Iraq out of the minds of the public. Obama's failure to prosecute former Bush officials is criminal in and of itself. We now have folks like Bush and Cheney openly bragging on TV about how they institutionalized the very torture they first insisted wasn't happening (and then tried to dump off on a couple Army privates) War crimes do not have a statute of limitations.
Thanks again to the good people of China for not sending Snowden back to an outlaw regime where he would have been tortured and humiliated just for having the bad fortune of being born an American with a soul and a conscience.
Enjoy.
thetimchannel
I'm planning my next vacation for Hong Kong. Thanks to the good people of China for showing resolve in the face of what must have been intensive threats and pressure from the criminal elements who have captured the American political system. Enjoy.
richard.dickson.395669
While the incompetent Obama regime chases after a 30 year old high school dropout around the world at our expense, the other scandals still are unfolding, ie IRS, State Dept. Prism, NSA, VA, etc. Obama should do the right thing...fire Clapper, Holder and Alexander, and then resign in disgrace.
mikeyj0693
You are a complete ****. Clearly you don't know the entire story, nor do you have a clue about what's happening outside (or inside) the United States. It doesn't matter whether or not you are guilty of anything in America. Maybe you don't understand that these programs violate our constitution. Maybe you don't even know what our constitution says. i don't think you realize that every text, every opinion, every call, every skype, ANY form of communication aside from Face-to-Face chat is recorded. Your phone can be off, and they can still listen in on verbal conversations if it's in their interest.They don't even need a warrant, and your fate is decided by a secret court. I don't think you can name one person this information harmed, other than the lying politicians that are currently in office. If you think Mr. Snowden is a criminal for protecting our rights, you don't deserve to live in this country. He reveals the US is hacking china, and that makes him a criminal, but hacking people illegally is okay right? You're the putrid rat that should be purged. And i'm glad that you're so confident in reading this article of the South China Morning Post, but if you ask me this is a one-sided opinion based article. I can't even begin to tell you everything that's wrong with America. You wanna know what'sup? Look up Monsanto, Chem-trails, global riots numbering in the millions, and anything related to those matters. then ask why this is happening. Goodluck ignorant american
hard times !
if Snowden is a criminal as accused by the Obama administration and their Congressmen,then he is certainly a criminal of conscience only.He has got nothing for revealing the top secrets of the cyberspying done by the National Security Agency of America against all netizens around the world. He has got a world fame maybe---the greatest whistle-blower of our age and the man of 2013 and maybe the next winner of the Nobel Prize of Peace if Sweden dares awarding him as she did to the Chinese dissident,Liu Xia-bo who is still jailed.The empty seat at the prize-giving ceremony will be Snowden's if he is still alive and jailed in a single-person cell at a certain place of America ! According to Chinese military, the revelations of this whistle-blower is equal to the loss of 10 heavy-armoured army divsions of America ! Marvellous,Mr.Snowden ! No wonder they have got so furious even to our tiny Hong Kong !
vivianyee
It's funny how Yanks in the comments are claiming Snowden is a criminal. No he is not. He's simply a messenger. Your government is spying on the whole world for absolutely nothing and that is criminal!
steveyuhas2
I guess there is no longer any doubt about what Edward Snowden is - a criminal. He lays out, for the first time, to the South China Morning Post that he took the job at Booz Allen in order to gain access to sensitive information in the intelligence community. How was this not caught? How many people were able to do the same thing and have either not been caught or are still operating in plain sight? This should send a warning that the government must be purged of people today and we should just start over, but the "Snowden is a hero" crowd should just be quiet now.
jimserac@yandex.ru
The Hong Kong government and people have earned the respect of the American people for allowing Snowden to proceed.
tkruemmer
The unbelievable intrusion into privacy of netizens is being justified by the hunt for terrorists. Successful terrorists use letters and messengers, not the internet or mobile phones, as we have painfully learned.
Resulting paranoia turns every disgruntled mid-puberty student posting violent thought online into a dangerous terrorist. There are those who walk the talk, committing hideous crimes that without state-sponsored access to weapons would not be possible, but this is a different story.
Breaking into university computers has nothing to do with the hunt for terrorism. A lot of success of individual nations such as Germany bases on the link between research and industry, notably in Germany. Other countries try to emulate that. Attacking a country's research institutions and spying them out therefore amounts to nothing else than industrial espionage. It is an extremely hostile act, no excuse.
The USA have lost the moral high-ground for good by using disproportionate, in my opinion illegal measures. These Orwellian methods are reminiscent of the Third Reich, the Soviet Union and other communist countries. A national disgrace.
jenniepc
The prosecution of Mr. Edward Snowden with violating espionage laws under the Espionage Act is questionable. Our First Amendment, one which is broad, progressive and encompasses almost any manner of expression. However, it seems to me if speech runs counter to the needs and actions of a government, said speech is deemed non-protected and in violation of Espionage Act. I do not agree with Mr. Jay Carney. Mr. Carney claimed that Mr. Snowden “failure to criticize these regimes suggests that his true motive throughout has been to injure the national security of the United States not to advance Internet freedom and free speech.” It is obviously that Mr. Carney or our government uses our Espionage Act of 1917 to interpret the First Amendment for purposes of its own self interest.
America has had a long history of providing asylums to all sorts of corrupt officials. I should remind US government that US have provided a safe heaven for those most Asian or African corruptive officials. Any forms of corruptions are no different from normal criminals, it does not matter if it is bribery, extortion, embezzlement, drug traf****, money laundering, or human traf****.

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