“Richard Nixon got kicked out of Washington for tapping one hotel suite,” said American-in-exile Edward Snowden in an interview with The Nation. “Today we’re tapping every American citizen in the country.” The former NSA and CIA contractor risked his life to release secret documents that reveal that the American government is employing surveillance against its own citizens and the leaders of other countries on a massive scale, the largest ever before seen in history.
Daniel Ellsberg, who wrote the Pentagon Papers that were instrumental in ending the Vietnam War, called it the largest and most significant governmental leak of all time. Snowden is now living in Russia and faces a criminal trial if he should ever return to the United States. But his leaks have revealed the extent to which intelligence agencies working for the U. S. government, and other governments, were systemically violating the rights of the people they were sworn to protect.
9. GCHQ (The UK)
In 2014 the reporters charged with releasing Snowden’s classified information to the public revealed some troubling facts about the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), an intel organization whose stated aims are to “protect information” and “keep society safe.” The leaks showed that GCHQ has developed sophisticated methods of artificially increasing traffic to websites, creating fake social media sites that resemble real sites like Facebook, and collecting data stored on social media sites on a massive scale.