According to a local news website, Animal New York, the mysterious perpetrators were a small group of artists who are admirers of the former contractor who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency to the media. The activists hoisted the bust to the top of a Revolutionary War memorial, adding his name to a column. The website says the group allowed the installation of the statue to be documented, on the condition that their identities remained anonymous.
The idea for the tribute was conceived by two New York City-based artists, and they were joined by a West Coast sculptor. In a statement to the online outlet, they said they had "updated" the memorial to American prisoners of war (POWs) who died during the Revolutionary War "to highlight those who sacrifice their safety in the fight against modern-day tyrannies."