NSA Contractor Risks Steep Jail Time For Data Leak

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(Courtesy: The Guardian)

(Courtesy: The Guardian)

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The Maryland man who admits he exposed two classified NSA surveillance programs says he did it to inform the public.

Mike Hellgren has more.

Edward Snowden’s mom still lives in Maryland. Federal authorities came to that home Monday morning.

“The greatest fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change,” said Edward Snowden.

Snowden, the man responsible for one of the largest security leaks in US history, has strong ties to Maryland. He had access to top secret government programs, exposing to the world how the US tracked cell phone and internet use in the name of democracy.

“That’s not the way that information should be released to the public. You have certain responsibilities when you have access to classified information. That has to be respected,” said Senator Ben Cardin.

“I had access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community,” Snowden said.

WJZ has been digging into Snowden’s past. When he was a boy, his family moved from North Carolina to Ellicott City, where his mother still lives. Her home has been inundated with reporters since the story broke.

“Very quiet. Nothing ever happens around here,” said one neighbor.

“You never think with a story like this, oh yeah, it’s the guy down the street. But turns out it was,” said another.

According to published reports, his mother works at the federal courthouse in Baltimore as a chief deputy clerk. Snowden reportedly dropped out of high school and attended Anne Arundel County Community College to earn credits for a GED, taking computer classes. He went into the Army, then worked as a security guard for a secret NSA facility at the University of Maryland before joining the CIA. He left there for a government contractor, maintaining access to government secrets. He moved to Hawaii, all the while copying sensitive documents before fleeing to Hong Kong.

“This is the truth. This is what’s happening. You should decide whether we need to be doing this,” Snowden said.

Several members of Congress say they are concerned about government eavesdropping and want to know more. Officials will start heading to Capitol Hill Tuesday to offer briefings.

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