NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden's Greatest Fear Is That "Nothing Will Change"

"If they want to get you, they'll get you in time."

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Jun 10 2013, 6:10pm
Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald interviews Edward Snowden, the man who exposed the NSA and PRISM.

After last week's deluge of distressing NSA leaks, we now have a face for who leaked top-secret documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post.

29-year-old Edward Snowden, an NSA infrastructure analyst contracted out to Hawaii (who has since fled to Hong Kong), stepped forward in an interview published yesterday, revealing himself as the inside source who brought to light the sweeping surveillance being carried out by the Obama administration, the NSA, and its PRISM program.

"I could be rendered by the CIA, I could have people come after me, or any of their third-party partners—they work closely with a number of other nations. We've got a CIA station just up the road in the consulate here in Hong Kong. That's a fear I'll live under for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be," Snowden said in the interview with Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, regarding his uncertain repercussions ahead. 

Snowden relinquished a reported $200,000 salary requiring "relatively little work," he said, "living a privileged life in Hawaii making a ton of money" perpetuating an "architecture of oppression" on the backs of private citizens. 

"You have to make a determination of what is important to you. If you realize that that's the world that you helped create...you realize that you might be willing to accept any risk, and it doesn't matter what the outcome is. You can't come forward against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and be completely free from risk because they're such powerful adversaries that no one can meaningfully oppose them," he said. 

"If they want to get you, they'll get you in time," he added. 

Reports clarified (as did Obama himself, too) that data collected by the NSA includes only metadata and not actual content of phone conversations, for example. But Snowden, who worked his way up to his position with just a GED, revealed in the interview just how much reach he personally had at Booz Allen Hamilton, which is just one of the firms that the NSA has contracted its intelligence out to

"I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone: from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, or even to the president, if I had a personal email," Snowden said. 

Watch the 12-minute interview above in its entirety.