Big Brother

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2013 (AFP) – A fierce debate about Internet privacy and the limits of US executive power erupted on Tuesday, in a victory for the young intelligence technician at the center of a global leak storm. While Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate intelligence committee, branded the leak an “act of treason,” White House spokesman Jay Carney refused to say whether Obama saw Snowden as a traitor.

“I won’t characterize him or his status. We believe it is the appropriate posture to take to let the investigation move forward,” Carney said.

Snowden, a technician working for the private defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, traveled from Hawaii to Hong Kong on May 20 with a cache of secrets harvested from NSA servers, according to the Guardian newspaper.

He gave a video interview to the Guardian in a hotel to explain his motives but has since checked out and his location is a mystery, although the paper’s Washington bureau chief said he was still in the southern Chinese city.

Snowden told the Guardian he could not “allow the US government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re