The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden. He is a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell. He has been working in Hawaii.

He says he's now holed up in a hotel room in Hong Kong.  He will likely face criminal charges for stealing the classified documents. The man says he would "ask for asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy."

Three weeks ago, Snowden made final preparations that resulted in last week's series of blockbuster news stories. At the NSA office in Hawaii where he was working, he copied the last set of documents he intended to disclose.

He has had a very comfortable life that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. Quote, "I'm willing to sacrifice all of that 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."

Do you think he's a traitor or hero? His own words in the video.