In an interview with The Guardian, Edward Snowden, who was revealed Sunday to be the source behind the British newspaper’s recent NSA stories, explains to Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill why he became a whistle-blower, when he decided to leak the documents, what he expects to happen to him now and whether he sees himself as another Bradley Manning.

Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant with the CIA, requested that The Guardian release his identity, even though he’s fully aware of the consequences of his actions (when asked during the interview what he expects to happen him, he replies, “nothing good”). For now, the whistle-blower is in Hong Kong, where he flew from the U.S. on May 20.

The Q-and-A, which was published by The Guardian on Sunday, was conducted over a period of several days in that country. Here’s a sampling:

Q: Why did you decide to become a whistleblower?

A: “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.

“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

Q: What do the leaked documents reveal?

A: “That 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 scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”

Q: Do you think you are probably going to end up in prison?

A: “I could not do this without accepting the risk of prison. You can’t come up against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk. If they want to get you, over time they will.”

Q: How to you feel now, almost a week after the first leak?

A: “I think the sense of outrage that has been expressed is justified. It has given me hope that, no matter what happens to me, the outcome will be positive for America. I do not expect to see home again, though that is what I want.”

You can watch the interview and read the Q-and-A here.

Read more about Snowden, our most recent Truthdigger of the Week, here.

— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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