• Mon
  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 6:00pm
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.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Save travels Mr. Snowden --- The Americans who want you to keep going!
I doubt someone with a .ru email address is qualified to comment on behalf of the American people.
hard times !
hunt for terrorists ? Or hunt for people all over world's personal data ? I wonder.Now all the netizens in the world well knows that the largest hacker (and their biggest enemy /nightmare) is no one but the National Security Agency of America which headquarters located at Meade,in the midway from Washington D.C. to Balitmore, it is now named the most mysterious city which monitors the world citizens on their internet and cell phone communications like the Big Brother in George Orwell's novel-----'1984' : Big Brother is Watching You ! all the time,day and night, around the clock. Beware !
John Adams
You make a very good point !
Spies work for one country's govt against another country . Certainly they report back the information they obtained by spying in secret ( and they usually sell their information as well )
Snowdon was working ( if that's the word) for all the people of the world on whom the USA itself had been spying, and he reported what he found openly to the whole world!
If anyone is guilty of espionage it's the US govt !
In order to comment I had to agree to:
"South China Morning Post would like to access your public profile, friend list and email address". Fortunately, I have no list of "Friends" on the Social websites.
Another irony for this naive, narcisistic young Snowden. The US is condemned for gathering information in the same way that all world powers do. I do not agree with all my government's decisions and don't like the current "do-nothing" Congress, but history and world government lessons appear to have escaped the attention of those who think Snowden is anything more than a spy ready to sell the secrets of the country that gave him the opportunity to do so through its own constitution....talk about a tangled web.
Snowden is a spy, no less, no more. Up for the highest bidder. Want to change the United States, go to Congress for change, not to China or Russia or South America where freedom of speech is censored and never free.
Oh no, not another Snowden EXCLUSIVE from SCMP - I was hoping we'd seen the end of those!
hard times !
it sounds like David has beaten Goliath as mentioned in the Bible.Of course it also sounds like the character in our ancient classic,'Legend of the Water Margin',Hu Chong who beat the Big Tiger which used to terrorize the innocent villagers---now it is world-wide known that the Big Brother has long been hacking into computers of the netizens all over the world---including her own citizens.No one is spared even her close allies,not to say our tiny Hongkong's students,businessmen,public officials and ...someone like this outspoken writer here !
The US Sec. of State's comments regarding the state of internet freedom in the PRC, Russia, & Ecquidor are merely a clever mystification of what the whole present crisis in international relations is all about. The word that will never be heard escaping the lips of the billionaire former US senator is the word "imperialism" because that word would properly define the historical period that we now live in.
The facts of international life are such that through the process of constant struggle many of the nations such as China, Russia, & Ecquidor that formerly lived under the iron heel of US and/or Western imperialism have been liberated through the blood, suffering, and toil of their citizens.
The fact that the present governments are in fact now almost completely free and independent states with a foreign policy that is their own is what most bother the US imperialists. The fact of the matter is that Kerry is correct that these said governments are less than perfect. The many threats that they have lived under for over 100 years from the US & Western imperialists has so shaped their reactions to this said threat to their national sovereignty that the imperialists now find that to be a convenient pressure point that they can now exploit..
The issue in this case is national sovereignty and whether the US & the West will live up to its requirements under international law and accept present day facts of life that have assigned the US a smaller role.in world affairs
I can see your comments, perhaps they took a few minutes to come through the cache system.
Dear sweet Bonnie,
Put a sock in it. You haven’t a clue what you are talking about.



SCMP.com Account