Monday, June 10, 2013

Kansas City's tenuous connection to whistle-blower Edward Snowden

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Meet 29-year-old Edward Snowden, the man who leaked sensitive NSA documents published last week
  • The Guardian
  • Meet 29-year-old Edward Snowden, the man who leaked sensitive NSA documents published last week

Booz Allen Hamilton, the defense contractor that hired newly minted whistle-blower Edward Snowden less than three months ago, has two offices in the Kansas City area.

Snowden, a 29-year-old intelligence analyst, outed himself on Sunday to British newspaper The Guardian as the source of leaks to journalist Glenn Greenwald's scoops about how deeply the United States government has surveilled its own citizens and others. Among the revelations were that the National Security Agency has a rolling top-secret court order to compel Verizon (and likely other major wireless carriers) to hand over customer metadata to the federal government.

The leaks have once again touched off a national debate over how to balance security interests with personal privacy of U.S. citizens.

Booz Allen Hamilton confirmed on Sunday that Snowden was one of its employees in Hawaii and called his apparent disclosures "shocking" and vowed to cooperate in any investigation.

The $5.9 billion company has locations in Leavenworth and downtown Kansas City. Its downtown location is on the ninth floor of 2300 Main, a building just north of Union Station better known as Two Pershing Square. It's not clear how many of the contractor's 25,000 employees work in the Kansas City area, but the firm is hiring at both offices, according to its website.

Snowden, a high school dropout and former CIA analyst, has gone to ground in a hotel in Hong Kong, which has an extradition treaty with the United States that's subject to approval by the Chinese government. He told The Guardian he expects the U.S. government to throw its weight around until it has exacted its punishment against him.

"I'm not afraid," he told the newspaper, "because this is the choice I've made."

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