The man responsible for bringing the National Security Agency surveillance leaks to the public's attention is speaking out.
Edward Snowden, 29, told the Guardian newspaper he was on the job only three months when he discovered that top secret government agencies were collecting phone records of Americans and gathering data from major U.S. Internet companies.
The former CIA employee says he revealed the program because it invades privacy.
Does the Fourth Amendment ban government from randomly searching Americans' Internet and phone records? Seton Motley, founder and president of Less Government addressed that question and more on CBN's Morning News, June 10.
"Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded," he said. "I, sitting at my desk, certainly have the authority to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email."
Government officials call Snowden's actions reckless and dangerous.
In a press conference President Obama said the government surveillance was necessary to fight terrorism.
"But the fact of the matter is, in our modern history, there are a whole range of programs that have been classified because when it comes to, for example, fighting terror, our goal is to stop folks from doing us harm," the president said.
But Snowden says the programs are ripe for abuse and believes the public should know about them.
"When you're subverting the power of government that's a fundamentally dangerous thing to democracy," he said.
Some lawmakers are calling for Snowden to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation.
"It's dangerous to our national security and it violates the oath of which that person took. I absolutely think they should be prosecuted," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said.
Other lawmakers, like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., support Snowden's actions. Paul says he wants to block the NSA's broad surveillance programs.
"We're talking about trolling through billions of phone records," Paul said. "We're not talking about going after a terrorist. I'm all for that. But don't troll through a billion phone records every day. That is unconstitutional. It invades our privacy."
The Kentucky lawmaker is considering filing a class action lawsuit at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Snowden has taken refuge in Hong Kong, where he faces possible extradition and years in prison.
"You can't come forward against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and be completely free from risk because they're such powerful adversaries that no one can meaningfully oppose them," he said.
He told the Guardian he may try to seek asylum in Iceland.