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Source of US intelligence leak reveals himself, says he's 'not afraid'

Published on Jun 10, 2013 6:12 AM
US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a US defence contractor, is seen in this still image taken from a video during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong June 6, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The 29-year-old government contractor who turned whistleblower to reveal vast US surveillance programmes says he is not afraid, despite the intelligence authorities' threat to hunt him down.

In footage shot by The Guardian newspaper, Edward Snowden said he packed his bags for Hong Kong three weeks ago, leaving behind a "very comfortable life" in Hawaii, a salary of US$200,000 (S$250,000), a girlfriend, a stable career and a loving family.

"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," Mr Snowden said.

He is behind one of the most significant security breaches in US history, joining the likes of Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning, who released US diplomatic cables and war logs to the WikiLeaks website. Snowden cited both men as inspiration.

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