Snowden Worked for NSA Contractor Solely to Gather Evidence on Surveillance: Report

June 24, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Edward Snowden, who leaked classified documents from the National Security Agency, took a job at contractor Booz Allen Hamilton solely to collect evidence on U.S. surveillance programs, according to an interview he gave the South China Morning Post.

“My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he told the South China Morning Post on June 12 (the story was published on June 24). “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”

Snowden said he took less pay to take the position. Two days after Snowden claimed to be the source of the document leaks, which were first reported on by The Guardian and the Washington Post, Booz Allen Hamilton fired him.

Snowden previously told the Guardian that experiences he had when posted to Geneva while working for the CIA in 2007 disillusioned him. He contemplated  exposing government secrets then, but, according to what he told the Guardian, did not do so for two reasons.

Snowden said he didn’t want to endanger anyone, and that the election of Barack Obama gave him hope the NSA’s survelliance programs would be reined in. The subsequent expansion of NSA programs under Obama “hardened” Snowden.

This account of his motivations is consistent with the account just published by the South China Morning Post: that Snowden sought employment with the U.S. government in order to collect information about the U.S. infiltrating “the whole world.”

Snowden told the Post he is screening documents before giving them to journalists and indicated there are more documents that will be released.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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