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Jun 11, 2013 11:41 AM by NBC News

The hunt is on for 29-year-old Edward Snowden

The hunt is on for 29-year-old Edward Snowden. The U.S. Government wants to find him before one of our enemies does.

Snowden told the Guardian Newspaper he was hiding out in Hong Kong. 40,000 people have signed a White House petition urging the President to pardon him. Americans are debating whether he's a traitor, or a hero.

These are New Yorkers, rallying in support of Edward Snowden.

They think he's a hero, but the government doesn't.

Experts say the Whistleblower Protection Act won't protect him. "It doesn't have any teeth there to protect you against retribution from the agency that you're reporting abuse on," said Former Intelligence Analyst, Russell Tice.

Authorities have launched a worldwide manhunt to track him down - concerned about what he knows and what he's saying. "Obviously, we'd be concerned if some of that very sensitive information that he has would fall into the hands of a foreign government," said Former CIA Chief of Staff, Jeremy Bash.

The concern is not only privacy but National Security. If Snowden knows government secrets and he's talking to reporters, officials want to know if he's speaking with someone else . . .

The FBI has visited his father's home in Pennsylvania - and his mother's in Maryland.

In Washington this afternoon, members of The House get a closed-door briefing on the leak. The Senate will be briefed Thursday. "If the government has probable cause, if they have reason to believe somebody is a terrorist, go after that person. But don't have a blanket check on hundreds of millions of Americans who are innocent," said Senator Bernie Sanders, (I) Vermont.

We're also learning more about the self-proclaimed whistleblower.

The Guardian reports that he dropped out of high school and got a GED.

He spent five months in the army reserves before breaking his legs.

He then went from being an NSA security guard to a CIA spy and later joined private contractors to continue the work.

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