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Britain's Guardian newspaper has identified a 29-year-old former CIA technical worker as the source for leaks about US spy agencies that have rattled Washington's security services in the past few days.
The Guardian, which published revelations that US security services monitored millions of phone calls as well as
tapping into internet servers, said its source, Edward Snowden, had asked it to reveal his identity.
"I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," Mr Snowden told The Guardian in an interview posted on the newspaper's website.
According to the Guardian, Mr Snowden has been working for the National Security Agency (NSA) for the last four years, employed by various outside contractors, including tech consultancy Booz Allen, and computer company Dell.
Three weeks ago, he copied secret documents at the NSA office in Hawaii and told his boss he needed time off for treatment for epilepsy. He packed his bags and on May 20 flew to Hong Kong, leaving behind a salary of about $US200,000, a girlfriend with whom he lived in Hawaii, a stable career and a loving family.
"I'm willing to sacrifice all of that because I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're
secretly building," he said.