Ina Fried

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Source Behind the Guardian’s NSA Stories Comes Forward

The Guardian, which has broken most of the NSA spying stories, on Sunday named 29-year-old former CIA technical assistant Edward Snowden as the primary source of its stories.

Edward Snowden

“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I have done nothing wrong,” he told the paper.

Snowden said he hopes the attention will stay focused on what the U.S. government is doing and not on him, but also said he expected to “suffer” as a result of his actions. He said he is risking a very comfortable lifestyle in coming forward.

“I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building,” he said.

For more on the evolving scandal, check out AllThingsD’s handy primer.

Update: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement Sunday saying that it has referred the matter of the leak to the Department of Justice, but added that the intelligence community “is currently reviewing the damage that has been done by these recent disclosures.”

“Any person who has a security clearance knows that he or she has an obligation to protect classified information and abide by the law,” the agency’s director of public affairs, Shawn Turner, said in a statement.

Update 2: In a video with The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwood that was posted to YouTube on Sunday, Snowden talks about his background and his reasons for coming forward.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik