Edward Snowden has been revealed as the whistleblower who provided The Guardian (UK) with information for its groundbreaking new report on the NSA.
The man who controversially outed the National Security Agency's surveillance practices to the newspaper unexpectedly outed himself on Sunday.
He's been working with the NSA for four years and copied the last set of documents he intended to leak three weeks ago at his Hawaii office.
Snowden, 29, is a Booz Allen Hamilton employee who requested a two-week leave of absence, told his girlfriend he had to leave and flew to Hong Kong.
Why there? "Because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government."
Snowden, who previously worked at the CIA after being discharged from the U.S. Army, has now been holed up in a Hong Kong hotel for three weeks.
He's seemingly at peace with the consequences his actions could bring, although he is "intensely nervous" about being spied on, according to reports.
"I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," he tells the Guardian.
"I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
"The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won't be able to help any more. That's what keeps me up at night," he added.
Snowden's motivation for leaking NSA documents and information are rooted in a desire to check what he considers government's abuses of power:
"The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to."
Snowden will likely draw comparisons with that against Wikileaks source Bradley Manning, though Snowden, as a civilian, will not face a military tribunal.
Just the same, several lawmakers have already called for him to be prosecuted.
The Guardian also published a video interview with Snowden came as the paper was under increasing pressure this weekend to be more transparent.
After doubts were cast on its original reporting about the NSA's surveillance programs, Snowden's choice to reveal himself immediately turned heads.