On May 20, Edward Snowden flew to the Chinese territory of Hong Kong. He was staying in a Hong Kong hotel when the initial articles revealing information about the NSA that he had leaked were published. News stories based on documents disclosed by Snowden were as follows:
- On June 5, The Guardian released a top secret order of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that ordered a business division of Verizon Communications to provide "on an ongoing daily basis" metadata for all telephone calls “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls” and all calls made “between the United States and abroad.” 
- On June 6, The Guardian and the Washington Post revealed PRISM, a clandestine electronic surveillance program that allegedly allows the NSA to access e-mail, web searches, and other Internet traffic in realtime.
- On June 9, The Guardian revealed Boundless Informant, a system that "details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information [the NSA] collects from computer and telephone networks."
- On June 12, the South China Morning Post disclosed that the NSA has been hacking into computers in China and Hong Kong since 2009. 
- On June 17, The Guardian reported that the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), a British intelligence agency, had intercepted foreign politicians' communications at the 2009 G-20 London Summit.
- On June 20, The Guardian revealed two secret documents, signed by Attorney General Eric Holder, describing the rules by which the NSA determines whether targets of investigations are foreign or domestic.
- On June 21, The Guardian made further disclosures about 'Tempora,' an 18-month-old British operation by GCHQ to intercept and store mass quantities of fiber-optic traffic.
- On June 23, the Sunday Morning Post reported that Snowden had said the NSA had hacked Chinese mobile-phone companies to collect millions of text messages and had also hacked Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Asian fiber-optic network operator Pacnet. The newspaper said Snowden provided documents that listed details of specific episodes during a four-year period.
Snowden's identity was made public by The Guardian at his request on June 9. He explained his reasoning for forgoing anonymity: "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong." He added that by revealing his identity he hoped to protect his colleagues from being subjected to a hunt to determine who had been responsible for the leaks.