Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who fled to Russia after leaking information about the US government’s mass surveillance program, is publishing a memoir.
The book, “Permanent Record,” will go on sale on September 17. It is being published globally by Macmillan Publishers.
Snowden, who once worked for the CIA in addition to the NSA, has been living in Russia since leaking thousands of classified documents to the press in 2013 which revealed the scope of US government surveillance after 9/11.
Praised as a whistleblower and a privacy advocate by his defenders, the United States accuses Snowden of endangering national security.
He is facing espionage charges in the United States that could send him to prison for decades.
“Edward Snowden decided at the age of 29 to give up his entire future for the good of his country,” John Sargent, the CEO of Macmillan Publishers USA, said in a statement.
“He displayed enormous courage in doing so, and like him or not, his is an incredible American story,” Sargent said. “There is no doubt that the world is a better and more private place for his actions.”
On his Twitter account, Snowden said “I wrote a book” and included a link to a video of himself.
I wrote a book. pic.twitter.com/wEdlOFMnMn
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) August 1, 2019
“Everything that we do now lasts forever, not because we want to remember but because we’re no longer allowed to forget,” he says in the video. “Helping to create that system is my greatest regret.”
(Added by GVS News Desk)
During his years of IT work, Snowden had noticed the far reach of the NSA’s everyday surveillance. While working for Booz Allen, Snowden began copying top-secret NSA documents, building a dossier on practices that he found invasive and disturbing. The documents contained vast information on the NSA’s domestic surveillance practices.
After he had compiled a large store of documents, Snowden told his NSA supervisor that he needed a leave of absence for medical reasons, stating he had been diagnosed with epilepsy. On May 20, 2013, Snowden took a flight to Hong Kong, China, where he remained as he orchestrated a clandestine meeting with journalists from the U.K. publication The Guardian as well as filmmaker Laura Poitras.
On June 5, The Guardian released secret documents obtained from Snowden. In these documents, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court implemented an order that required Verizon to release information to the NSA on an “ongoing, daily basis” culled from its American customers’ phone activities.
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The following day, The Guardian and The Washington Post released Snowden’s leaked information on PRISM, an NSA program that allows real-time information collection electronically. A flood of information followed, and both domestic and international debate ensued.
“I’m willing to sacrifice [my former life] 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,” Snowden said in interviews given from his Hong Kong hotel room.
The fallout from his disclosures continued to unfold over the next months, including a legal battle over the collection of phone data by the NSA. President Obama sought to calm fears over government spying in January 2014, ordering U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to review the country’s surveillance programs.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk