News Column

Snowden Sought Security Job for Chance to Snoop

June 25, 2013

US whistleblower Edward Snowden applied to work with security contractor Booz Allen Hamilton to allow him access to secret data on the US government's cyber spying programme, a report said Tuesday.

Snowden approached the contractor for a job, with the aim of collecting evidence for his planned leaks on the National Security Agency (NSA) programme, he told the local South China Morning Post while he was in Hong Kong.

"My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

"That is why I accepted that position about three months ago," Snowden said.

Albert Ho, a legislator from Hong Kong's Democratic Party, told reporters on Monday that Snowden was urged to leave the territory in a message on Friday from an unidentified person who claimed to represent the Hong Kong government.

"By going through not entirely legal avenues and using a person whose identity isn't entirely clear to tell [Snowden] that the government wants him to leave. This is a highly unusual action," Ho said.

Ho said he believed that those who wanted Snowden to leave Hong Kong "represented Beijing authorities."

Snowden left Hong Kong by plane on Sunday and arrived in Moscow on Monday, but his whereabouts since then remain unclear.

Ecuador's foreign minister said his government was considering an application for asylum by Snowden.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said it would be "deeply troubling" if either China or Russia had known about Snowden's travel plans from Hong Kong, and warned of consequences for ties with both countries.

But a Chinese analyst said the case was unlikely to have a long-term impact on relations between Beijing and Washington.

"It was impossible to extradite him, otherwise China would lose its reputation in the international community," said Jin Canrong, an international relations expert at People's University in Beijing.

China allowed the US to avoid a potentially more damaging extradition wrangle, Jin told dpa

He said Washington probably expected Beijing to do more to cement the goodwill created after the two nations' leaders met earlier this month.

"Because the two sides just had the summit, the US had too high expectations of China," Jin said.

"But I think after it all quietens down, the US will appreciate China," he said. "Actually, they know that China has done a good job."

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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