NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a Ron Paul supporter and Reddit user
In an interview with The Guardian on Sunday Edward Snowden revealed himself to be the NSA whistleblower who exposed the government’s PRISM program that collects personal data from American citizens on a scope previously unknown.
“It’s major, it’s major,” John Rizzo, former general counsel for the CIA, told the Washington Post of Snowden’s leak. “I can’t think of any previous leak case involving a CIA officer where the officer raised his hand and said, ‘I’m the guy.’”
Snowden had been a former Senior Adviser for the CIA as well as working for the NSA and briefly for defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden had been working for Booze Allen in Hawaii when he decided to leak the PRISM program and flee to Hong Kong, where he’s currently holed up in a hotel.
Federal records reveal that he donated twice to the Ron Paul campaign in 2012, and Snowden told the Guardian he voted for a third-party candidate in 2008.
He also told the Guardian in an interview:
“I have been surprised and pleased to see the public has reacted so strongly in defence of these rights that are being suppressed in the name of security. It is not like Occupy Wall Street but there is a grassroots movement to take to the streets on July 4 in defence of the Fourth Amendment called Restore The Fourth Amendment and it grew out of Reddit. The response over the internet has been huge and supportive.”
For his part Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian seems convinced Snowden is an active Reddit user:
How long until the internet figures out Edward Snowden’s reddit account? ow.ly/lRhzt
— Alexis Ohanian (@alexisohanian) June 9, 2013
Snowden has already been embraced as a folk hero on Reddit like Julian Assange before him—as of this writing Snowden’s name appears in links on the front page no less than six times. And, for a community that values enlightenment not from societal sacred cows but from the wisdom of peers, Snowden seems like an instant icon, setting even the president straight.
Obama played down the leak as hype, saying “[These programs] are not secret, in that every member of Congress has been briefed.” But in his interview with the Guardian Sunday Snowden seemed to contradict this, saying, “The NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinized most.”
Ron Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul, wants to mount a class action lawsuit against the U.S. government on behalf of the millions of Americans whose data has been collected without their knowledge. Whether he can cozy up to the Prism program and Edward Snowden to harness the any support for himself is anyone’s guess.
But Snowden himself isn’t playing politics. Of his decision to leave a $200,000 per-year job, his girlfriend and house in Hawaii, he said: “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”