Snowden tells life story and why he leaked in new memoir

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Nationwide Safety Company contractor Edward Snowden has written a memoir, telling his life story intimately for the primary time and explaining why he selected to danger his freedom to develop into maybe essentially the most well-known whistleblower of all time.

Snowden, who now lives in Russia to keep away from arrest below the U.S. Espionage Act, says his six years working for the NSA and CIA led him to conclude the U.S. intelligence neighborhood “hacked the Constitution” and put everybody’s liberty in danger and that he had no selection however to show to journalists to disclose it to the world.

“I realized that I was crazy to have imagined that the Supreme Court, or Congress, or President Obama, seeking to distance his administration from President George W. Bush’s, would ever hold the IC legally responsible — for anything,” he writes.

The e book, “Permanent Record,” is scheduled to be launched Tuesday. It presents by far essentially the most expansive and private account of how Snowden got here to disclose secret particulars concerning the authorities’s mass assortment of People’ emails, cellphone calls and Web exercise within the title of nationwide safety.

His choice to show from obscure IC wonk to whistleblower in 2013 set off a nationwide debate concerning the extent of presidency surveillance by intelligence companies determined to keep away from a repeat of the Sept. 11 assaults.

Snowden, who fled first to Hong Kong after which Russia, makes an attempt in his memoir to position his considerations in a up to date context, sounding the alarm about what he sees as authorities efforts worldwide to delegitimize journalism, suppress human rights and help authoritarian actions.

“What is real is being purposely conflated with what is fake, through technologies that are capable of scaling that conflation into unprecedented global confusion,” he says.

The story traces Snowden’s evolution from childhood, from rising up within the 1980s in North Carolina and suburban Washington, the place his mom labored as a clerk on the NSA and his father served within the Coast Guard.

He got here of age because the Web developed from an obscure authorities laptop community and describes how a youthful fascination with expertise — as a toddler, he took aside and reassembled a Nintendo console and, as a youngster, hacked the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory community — finally led him to a profession as an NSA contractor, the place he noticed high-tech spy powers with growing revulsion.

Analysts used the federal government’s assortment powers to learn the emails of present and former lovers and stalk them on-line, he writes. One explicit program the NSA referred to as XKEYSCORE allowed the federal government to scour the current Web historical past of common People. He says he discovered via that program that almost everybody who’s been on-line has no less than two issues in widespread: They’ve all watched pornography at one time, and so they’ve all saved movies and photos of their household.

“This was true,” he writes, “for virtually everyone of every gender, ethnicity, race, and age — from the meanest terrorist to the nicest senior citizen, who might be the meanest terrorist’s grandparent, or parent, or cousin.”

He struggled to share his considerations with the girlfriend, who joined him in Russia and is now his spouse.

“I couldn’t tell her that my former co-workers at the NSA could target her for surveillance and read the love poems she texted me. I couldn’t tell her that they could access all the photos she took — not just the public photos, but the intimate ones,” he writes. “I couldn’t tell her that her information was being collected, that everyone’s information was being collected, which was tantamount to a government threat: If you ever get out of line, we’ll use your private life against you.”

Earlier than summoning a small group of journalists to Hong Kong to reveal categorised secrets and techniques, realizing return to the U.S. was inconceivable, he says he ready like a person about to die. He emptied his financial institution accounts, put money right into a metal ammo field for his girlfriend and erased and encrypted his previous computer systems.

Snowden, 36, lives in Moscow, the place he stays exterior the attain of a U.S. Justice Division that introduced Espionage Act expenses simply weeks after the disclosures. He spends a lot of his days behind a pc and collaborating in digital conferences with fellow board members on the Freedom of the Press Basis. “I beam myself onto stages around the world” to debate civil liberties, he writes.

When he does exit, he tries to shake up his look, generally carrying completely different glasses. He retains his head down when he walks previous buildings geared up with closed-caption tv. He described being acknowledged as soon as in a Moscow museum and consenting to a selfie request from a teenage woman talking German-accented English.

The best remorse of his life, he says, “is my reflexive, unquestioning support” for the wars that adopted Sept. 11.

“It was as if whatever institutional politics I’d developed had crashed — the anti-institutional hacker ethos instilled in me online, and the apolitical patriotism I’d inherited from my parents, both wiped from my system — and I’d been rebooted as a willing vehicle of vengeance.”

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Comply with Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

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