The case is similar to Bradley Manning's leaking of information to Wikileaks, only the US gov hasn't captured him (as yet anyway). No doubt if they do he'll face similar charges as Bradley Manning, and a similar fate. His crime? Going public with what the US gov is doing.
Here he is in an interview with The Guardian.
Some quotes from the story in the paper:
Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. "I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in." He added: "My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."
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. "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."
Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate, he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. "I am not afraid," he said calmly, "because this is the choice I've made."
He predicts the government will launch an investigation and "say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become".
Over the next three years, he learned just how all-consuming the NSA's surveillance activities were, claiming "they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them".
He described how he once viewed the internet as "the most important invention in all of human history". As an adolescent, he spent days at a time "speaking to people with all sorts of views that I would never have encountered on my own".
But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. "I don't see myself as a hero," he said, "because what I'm doing is self-interested: I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."
Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA's surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. "What they're doing" poses "an existential threat to democracy", he said. moreI thought all this NSA stuff was only to do with what's going on in the US. I was amazed at his assertions that the NSA is seeking to have access to private conversations and communications around the world. What? The US gov wants to spy on little old me here? WTF? This shit sounds much bigger than I thought.
Hmmmmm.... I wonder if there's any key words they might be looking for? Like "terrorist" or something? Maybe I should just give them a little hello to all those NSA people who may see fit to read my blog. Hi darlings!
You can thank Edward Snowden personally here.