Because I am informed that not everyone reads the comments. Video from the Guardian, which is of course all over this story. For the TL;DR demographic, NYMag‘s abbreviated version:
… Edward Snowden is a 29-year-old former CIA analyst and current employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” said Snowden, who requested that his name be revealed. However, he added, “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.”
The Guardian explains that Snowden’s whistle-blowing process began around three weeks ago, when he copied the documents he intended to make public in the Hawaii NSA officer where he was working and forwarded them to the British paper. He then told his supervisor and girlfriend he would be gone for a few weeks and flew to Hong Kong, where he remains. He said he chose the city because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent,” and because he believes the Chinese government might resist orders to extradite him. (He also said he might seek asylum in Iceland.) Still, he is very aware that he will likely face major consequences…
… Snowden said that he admires both Ellsberg and Manning, but argues that there is one important distinction between himself and the army private, whose trial coincidentally began the week Snowden’s leaks began to make news.
“I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest,” he said. “There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”…
And finally, for once in a great while I find myself in total agreement with This Guy:
…[F]or the record, Obama is not the villain here, he’s just dealing with the laws as they were passed, and it looks like they did everything correctly and followed the letter of the law. If he hadn’t done everything to the extent of the law to implement the patriot act and something happened, they same jackasses now feigning outrage on the right would be flaming him for being soft on terror. Snowden is not the villain here, he just felt this needed to be out there, and if one more jackass all-in Obama supporter tells me he endangered national security, I swear to ALLAH I will start punching babies. The only thing he endangered were the talking points for the permanent security state. The NSA is not the villain here- they are just doing what we allowed them to do. Glenn Greenwald is not the villain here, he’s a civil libertarian who has warned about this and is now reporting the excesses of the program.
No, you want to see the villain, look in the mirror. It’s the pants-wetting populace of the United States, who votes for these assholes who pass bad laws in moments of crisis, because we have to do something and because Americans, unlike every other nation in the world, have a god given right to be safe at all times from all things.