Surveillance whistleblower and current Carmen San Diego impersonator Edward Snowden was a man on a mission: according to his latest interview, he took a private contractor position with the intent of exposing the National Security Agency. “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he told The South China Morning Post on June 12. “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”
Snowden is often portrayed as a kind of accidental hero who felt compelled to take on the NSA after becoming fed up with its intelligence-gathering practices. It appears, at some point, he became far more calculating. In January, four months before arriving in Hong Kong, he had contacted documentarian Laura Poitras “claiming to have information about the intelligence community.”
The NSA has come under fire for letting someone without a college degree or much business experience gain access to top-secret spying technology. The hire has embarrassed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel into reviewing all private analyst contractor practices, which comprise 22 percent of the Defense Department’s workforce (and 50 percent of its costs).
Snowden also tells The South China Morning Post that he’s been judicious with his leaks. There are still 37 undisclosed slides on the top-secret Internet-snooping program, PRISM. “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. This statement could be taken as an indirect swipe at document dumper Wikileaks, which is currently helping Snowden secure asylum from U.S. extradition.
Maybe the Booz Allen interviewer should have asked Snowden if he was intent on implicating them in a massive top-secret spying operation; then they could have just avoided the whole mess.