A Crowdtilt crowdfunding campaign has been launched to raise legal fees for the NSA whistleblower and former CIA contractor Edward Snowden, who is currently in exile in Hong Kong.
The crowdfunding site was established on Snowden’s behalf by Facebook employee Dwight Crow and so far has raised over US$4,000 for Snowden.
Snowden asked to be revealed as the whistleblower who supplied sensitive documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post last week revealing the existence of a system called PRISM that spied on user activity on several websites, including those of Apple, Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, YouTube and others.
“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions but I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant,” Snowden told The Guardian newspaper.
The campaign is currently 40pc of the way towards a target of US$15,000.
Snowden is a 29 year-old, ex-Army security contractor who was paid US$200,000 a year to supply security services to bodies like the National Security Agency, the CIA and the FBI as part of his work with Booz Allen Hamilton.
Disillusioned by what he saw as attacks on privacy of individuals Snowden took it upon himself to leak documents to the media and prepared for the event by taking leave from his employers and setting himself up in a hotel room in Hong Kong.
He has said that he expects the US to fight vigorously for his extradition.
‘The right balance has been struck,’ says US President
In the meantime US President Barack Obama has defended the programmes used by the US intelligence community and said he believes “the right balance” has been struck in defending the US against terrorist attacks.
“When I came into office we had a healthy skepticism about these programmes. We evaluated them, scrubbed them thoroughly , expanded some of the oversight, increased some of the safeguards.
“My assessment and my team’s assessment was that they help us prevent terrorist attacks. You can’t have 100pc security and also 100pc privacy and zero inconvenience.
“We’re going to have to make some choices as a society. In evaluating these programmes they make a difference in capacity to anticipate and prevent terrorist activity.
“In the abstract you can complain about big brother and say potentially the programme has run amok, but when we look at the details I believe we have struck the right balance,” President Obama said.