Washington: Edward Snowden, the man behind leaks exposing America`s secretive Internet surveillance programmes, was on Tuesday fired by the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton for violating the company`s code of ethics.
"Booz Allen can confirm that Edward Snowden, 29, was an employee of our firm for less than 3 months, assigned to a team in Hawaii. Snowden, who had a salary at the rate of USD 122,000, was terminated June 10, 2013 for violations of the firm`s code of ethics and firm policy," the company said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
"News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm. We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter," it said.
Meanwhile, lawmakers continued to brand him as a traitor.
"He`s a traitor. The (US) President outlined last week that these were important national security programs to help keep Americans safe and give us tools to fight the terrorist threat that we face. The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk," the House of Representatives speaker, John Boehner, told the ABC`s "Good Morning America".
"It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it`s a giant violation of the law," he said.
Reiterating that the Congress is fully in loop on the issue and the program has a Congressional approval, Boehner said there is no American who`s going to be snooped on in any way unless they are in contact with some terrorist somewhere around the world.
"Every time that I have been in a briefing, nine of the 10 people in the room are lawyers there to protect the privacy of the American people," Boehner said.
"It is despicable what`s happened. I know he`s a sympathetic figure for some. But that`s not the way to deal with these kind of issues. There`s got to be another way of raising concerns without sharing some of our most, you know, prized trades, if you will, as it relates to understanding what`s happening around the world. And there`s no question these programs have kept us safe," Senator Bob Corker, told the CNBC news.
Meanwhile, a new poll showed that most of the Americans back the tracking activities of the Us government, which they believe is to keep the nation safe.
According to a Washington Post-Pew Research Centre poll, 45 percent of all Americans say the government should be able to go further than it is, saying that it should be able to monitor everyone`s online activity if doing so would prevent terrorist attacks.
A slender majority, 52 percent, say no such broad-based monitoring should occur.
"Overall, 56 percent of Americans consider the NSA`s accessing of telephone call records of millions of Americans through secret court orders `acceptable`, while 41 percent call the practice `unacceptable`," the daily reported.