NSA leak case: Edward Snowden's whereabouts unknown
WASHINGTON (KABC) -- An all-out manhunt was under way Monday for a whistleblower behind the biggest intelligence breach at the National Security Agency.
Edward Snowden, who is on the run, was last seen in Hong Kong. The U.S. and Hong Kong have an extradition treaty, but China could refuse to hand over Snowden if they believe the request is politically motivated.
The luxurious Mira Hotel in Hong Kong was home for Snowden in the past three weeks. He ate every meal from room service and stuffed pillows under the door to prevent eavesdropping. He used the code name "Verax," which is Latin for truth teller, to communicate with the Washington Post.
On Monday, the 29-year-old NSA contractor checked out of the hotel after doing an interview with British newspaper The Guardian. Snowden acknowledged that the U.S. will be coming for him.
"If they want to get you, they will get you in time," said Snowden. "That's a fear I will live under for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be."
Snowden leaked information on classified U.S. surveillance programs. U.S. officials said he's being pursued because he revealed secrets used to track terrorists.
"Leaks of sensitive classified information that cause harm to our national security interests are a problem," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein called the leaks an "act of treason" that should be prosecuted.
Snowden dropped out of high school and began to build his top secret resume. He started as an NSA security guard, and then had a failed attempt to become a Special Forces soldier, followed by a big leap to a CIA spy in Switzerland. He then spent four years as a contractor, working with computers at the NSA in Japan, Washington and Hawaii, where he disappeared from his job early last month, claiming medical leave for epilepsy. He blew the whistle on what he calls the abuses of the privacy rights of Americans.
"I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email," said Snowden.
Snowden apparently has more top secret documents, including the names of hundreds of secret agents. Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, who exposed the classified information, said there will be more "significant revelations" coming in the next several weeks and months. Over the weekend, Greenwald identified Snowden as his source at Snowden's request.
national news, john hartung
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