A 29-year-old intelligence analyst who claims to have worked at the National Security Agency and the CIA has been revealed as the source of The Guardian's and The Washington Post's disclosures about the U.S. government's secret surveillance programs.
The leaks have led the NSA to ask the Justice Department to conduct a criminal investigation.
The Guardian says it's revealing Edward Snowden's identify at his own request.
The American is quoted as saying "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong."
According to the newspaper, Snowden said his "sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."
He told The Washington Post that he would "ask for asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy" in an interview from Hong Kong, where he is staying.
The Post quotes Snowden as saying "I'm not going to hide," adding that "Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest."
Thousands have signed a petition on the White House website calling him a national hero and demanding President Obama grant him a pardon.
Do you feel Snowden is a national hero or a traitor?