• Sat
  • Nov 1, 2014
  • Updated: 1:04am
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

Well,even if he did seek employment for the purpose of gathering information, it is still for the purpose of reveling the truth about what the NSA was doing. He knew that things were not right and gathered evidence to prove it. He could not stay in US territory and release the information, let alone go through "normal" channels as the US government does not take kindly to being uncovered in their nefarious dealings.
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.
Dear sweet Bonnie,
Put a sock in it. You haven’t a clue what you are talking about.
Can you please explain what exactly you mean by calling Snowden 'narcissistic?' What about him makes you think this? Are you clear what a narcissist is?
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.
NSA is a fascist organization, no different than Stasi. Snowden is only revealing the ugly truth behind America's "The Protector of Freedom" propaganda. Don't shoot the messenger is what I say to the Yanks as it's unlikely to change your ugly face.
Zero respect for the yanks from now own.
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.
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.
hard times !
you are much welcomed here ! Hong Kong is actually the gateway to go to Mainland China and our Chinese cuisine is well-known all over the world ! Meet you soon here !
hard times !
you are most welcomed to come here to Hongkong as we are the gateway to Mainland China and remember to check in at least a 4-star hotel (by the way,you can check in the one once lived by our leaker-hero,Mr.Snowden's Mira Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui,Kowloon, Hong Kong.It is quite a nice one and enjoy your stay here as Mr.Snowden.You will be impressed by our hospitality as we showed upon Mr.Snowden.Then you may fly to either Shanghai or Beijing and check in those marvellous 5-star hotels there to check if the nasty guy down below:KwunTongBypass claimed are true or not before condemning him for his lies !!




SCMP.com Account