NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is one of the most wanted men on the planet, both by folks that want him to spill more beans, the powerful people who want him to stop. Today, he granted the Guardian an exclusive Q&A, and he's already making it clear that this whistle-blowing won't end with him.
In response to a question from Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, Snowden has made it pretty clear that no matter what happens, this leak is going to keep rolling. When asked if he's disseminated any documents to others, potentially with some sort of deadman switch, he simply said:
All I can say right now is the US Government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.
What that means specifically is anybody's guess, and there's no way he'd want to explain. He has come out and said that there's more information to be released. In particular, data about the exact way the NSA accesses data directly, something that's been a bit hazy given the conflict between PRISM slides that indicate it's happening and company statements that deny it completely.
More detail on how direct NSA's accesses are is coming, but in general, the reality is this: if an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc analyst has access to query raw SIGINT databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want. Phone number, email, user id, cell phone handset id (IMEI), and so on - it's all the same. The restrictions against this are policy based, not technically based, and can change at any time.
Their denials went through several revisions as it become more and more clear they were misleading and included identical, specific language across companies. As a result of these disclosures and the clout of these companies, we're finally beginning to see more transparency and better details about these programs for the first time since their inception.
They are legally compelled to comply and maintain their silence in regard to specifics of the program, but that does not comply them from ethical obligation. If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the Intelligence Community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?