WASHINGTON — A 29-year-old former technical assistant for the Central Intelligence Agency was the source for a series of recent disclosures about the government's collection of huge amounts of private Internet and telephone data, the British newspaper The Guardian revealed on Sunday.
The Guardian identified the source as Edward Snowden, who has worked at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee for various defense contractors. He has most recently worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, a defense contractor, the newspaper said.
The Guardian said it was revealing Mr. Snowden's identity at his own request. In an interview with the newspaper, Mr. Snowden, who is currently staying in a hotel in Hong Kong, said he expected that the American government would seek to prosecute him for disclosing top-secret documents detailing the Obama administration's extensive surveillance program.
"I have no intention of hiding who I am," he was quoted as saying, "because I know I have done nothing wrong."
Mr. Snowden's disclosures to The Guardian and The Washington Post over the last week have reignited the long-smoldering controversy over the scope of government surveillance of American citizens, which appears to have expanded substantially since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In recent days, the Obama administration and other proponents have defended the surveillance program, revealing that it had helped to thwart terrorist plots, in order to bolster assertions that such data collection was necessary to keep Americans safe.
Others though, have accused the president of abandoning pledges made as a candidate and early in his presidency to roll back the surveillance architecture created by the administration of George W. Bush.