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On the run and out of a job: Consulting company fires professed NSA leaker

The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras

Edward Snowden, the analyst who says he leaked information about government surveillance programs.

Edward Snowden, who outed himself as the source of leaks about massive government surveillance programs, is out of a job.

The consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton, which does billions of dollars in business for the National Security Agency and other corners of the federal government, said Tuesday that it had fired Snowden “for violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy.”

The announcement came after House Speaker John Boehner flatly labeled him “a traitor.”

Boehner, in an interview with ABC News, said that Snowden had put Americans at risk when he disclosed the programs, under which the NSA collects the phone records of Americans and Internet data on foreigners.

“He’s a traitor,” Boehner said. “It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are.  And it’s a giant violation of the law.”

Two days after he came forward as the source of newspaper articles about the programs, saying that he was troubled by the “massive surveillance machine” built by the U.S. government, Snowden remained at large.

He gave an interview to The Guardian from Hong Kong and mused about seeking asylum in Iceland, but his whereabouts Tuesday were unknown. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin told Reuters that Russia would consider an asylum request from Snowden.

Booz Allen Hamilton had previously said Snowden had worked there three months. On Tuesday, it said his salary was $122,000. The Guardian previously reported that he made $200,000.

While other members of Congress denounced Snowden, Sen. Ron Wyden said he wanted public hearings and suggested Americans have not gotten “straight answers from the intelligence leadership.”

At a hearing in March, Wyden, D-Ore., asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper whether the NSA was collecting “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.”

Clapper answered: “No, sir.”

Wyden and seven other senators introduced a bill Tuesday to require the Justice Department to declassify secret opinions by a national security court that have justified the mass collection of Americans’ phone records.

“Americans deserve to know how much information about their private communications the government believes it’s allowed to take under the law,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News contributed to this report.

 

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