• Wed
  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 9:45pm
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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KwunTongBypass
How about visiting the "good people of China" in their homeland, live in hotels with no foreign TV channels, bookstores with no foreign newspapers, and a fully censored internet. Enjoy!
the sun also rises
you are misleading our dear readers indeed ! When's your last visit to China ? probably four decades ago---well before the 'Open door policy' to be sure.You better spare sometime to go to our neighbouring Shenzhen and check in the Shanghi-la Hotel--a 5-star hotel to prove what you told the writer above ! You will be shameful for your blackmouthing of modern-day China which major cities on the coast are packed with 5-star luxurious hotels owned by foreigners !
rhiannon.welles
I called this. After his friend was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC it was obvious he took the job with the specific intent of stealing information from the NSA. And now he's admitted it. Still think he's a hero?
Wodetiana
Yes, of course he is, his intent is what makes him a hero. He knew before he got that job that something was very wrong, and he got the proof.
Paradox314
Yes. Why not? How does this change the situation at all? You seem to think that him purposefully seeking to expose the US govt illegal activity is somehow less honourable than his coming across the information by accident. There is no logic to your thinking as far as I can tell. Can you please explain clearly your train of thought?
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.
the sun also rises
a criminal ? maybe in Obama's administration's eyes and his closest accomplice the UK's GCHQ's eyes as well.But not in the eyes of most netizens all over the world and the majority of Hongkongers who were honounred to host this leaker-hero during his month-long stay here and his revelations of the top-secret cyberspying acts done by the largest hacker in the world---the National Security Agency of America which hacked into our Internet Exchange at our Chinese Univ.in Shatin since 2009 and the computers of our public officials,businessmen and students (maybe they are also terroritsts !) Snowden maybe considered a criminal of conscience who told the world that their privacy has long been violated by the state-owned intelligence-collecting agency on the excuses of national interests and anti-terrorism.Gone are the days of these shameless hypocrites who hold double standards in respecting human rights, liberty and cybersecurity which Obama told President Xi five times during their meeting at the Sunnyland Estate in California---it is theft, we can't tolerate it ! But why should the world netizens tolerate the hackings of the Big Brother---Uncle Sam ? I wonder.
barkway
Well of course he sought the job to gain access to sensitive information. I imagine that is why many people seek that kind of work. It is exciting, exclusive, and a great resume item. This does not mean he took the job to leak information and it was irresponsible of the author of this piece to make that implication.
barkway
Of course he took the job to have access to intelligence. That is why a lot of people take those sorts of jobs, I imagine. It is exciting, exclusive, and a great resume item. This does NOT mean he took the job to LEAK info. Honestly, it's a little shocking how poor peoples' comprehension skills are, including the author of this article who has completely misrepresented what Snowden said & implied his/her own meaning.
Paradox314
****videos.huffingtonpost.com/lonnie-snowdens-powerful-message-to-his-son-edward-snowden-517823829

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