LONDON – National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden invoked George Orwell and warned of the dangers of unchecked government surveillance Wednesday in a televised Christmas message to the British people that reflected his growing willingness to take a public role in the debate he ignited.
Speaking directly into the camera from Moscow, where he took refuge after leaking vast troves of information on NSA spying, Snowden said government surveillance methods far surpassed those described in Orwell’s novel 1984.
“The types of collection in the book – microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us – are nothing compared to what we have available today,” he said. “We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person.”
MOSCOW — Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for leaking classified documents about global American surveillance, fled his Hong Kong hide-out for Moscow on Sunday aboard a commercial Russian jetliner, in what appeared to be the first step in an odyssey to seek political asylum in Ecuador.
In a day of frustrated scrambling by American officials who are seeking Mr. Snowden’s extradition — and had annulled his passport in attempts to foil any escape — he boarded an Aeroflot jetliner in Hong Kong that reached Moscow on Sunday afternoon. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Mr. Snowden was in a Moscow airport transit area, apparently awaiting a connection to another country.
Ecuador’s foreign minister said that Mr. Snowden had submitted a request for asylum, an assertion corroborated by WikiLeaks, the organization that discloses government secrets and has come to the assistance of Mr. Snowden. In a statement on its Web site, WikiLeaks said “he is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.”
WASHINGTON – Consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton said Tuesday that it had fired Edward Snowden “for violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy” after the 29-year-old admitted he leaked secrets of the U.S. government’s surveillance programs to the news media.
The company said that Snowden, who had been assigned to a team in Hawaii for less than three months, was earning a salary “at a rate of $122,000.” Snowden claimed he made about $200,000, a figure that could have included overtime pay and other bonuses.
Snowden, a computer technician from Maryland who previously worked for the CIA and the National Security Agency, had been holed up in a sleek hotel in Hong Kong for weeks before checking out on Monday. His whereabouts are unknown.
The father and stepmother of Edward Snowden, the man who said he leaked news of the government’s classified surveillance program, live in Upper Macungie Township and were visited Monday afternoon by two people who identified themselves as FBI agents.
Karen Snowden, 48, said the couple had been “bombarded” by media, including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” since the story broke Sunday.
Her husband, Lonnie Snowden, 52, briefly spoke to ABC News on Sunday, saying he had last seen his son months ago for dinner and the two parted with a hug. The elder Snowden told the network he was still “digesting and processing” the news about his son.
A Penn State spokeswoman confirmed on Wednesday that Spanier, who is listed in the university’s online directory as president emeritus, took on the project during a year-long sabbatical from his post as a tenured professor in Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development.
“The project is an effort to continue to bridge the gap between our nation’s national security agencies and other entities,” said Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers.