Edward Snowden is a former National Security Agency subcontractor. He was the talk of the US when he exuded top-secrets about NAS surveillance activities to the world.
Snowden was born in 1983 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. After dropping out of high school he persuaded computer studies at Anne Arundel Community College between 1999-2002 and 2004-2005.
During his time at community college, he spent 4 months in 2004, in a spectral-forces training in the Army Reserves but he was unable to complete the program.
Later he landed at a job as a security guard at the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language, which was connected to the National Security Agency (NSA).
By 2006, he took a job as information-technologists at the Central Intelligence Agency. However, in 2009 he was accused of trying to break into some classified files and he left work.
He worked with several private contractors like Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton. When he was with Dell, he worked as a subcontractor in a NAS Japanese office and later was transferred to Hawaii.
During his career in IT, he was given access to NSA everyday surveillances. While working at Booz Allen, he started copying NAS top-secret documents which he found very disturbing.
After he assembled a satisfactory amount of files, he took a leave of absence and flew to Hong Kong, China. There he met with several journalists from the UK publication ‘The Guardian’ and the filmmaker Laura Poitras.
In 2013, The Guardian released the 1st set of secret documents. Within these documents was an order given by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to Verizon; an American telecommunications company to release its customer phone records and other activities.
The following day, The Guardian and The Washington Post further released information on PRISM; an NSA program designed to collect information electronically.
Bizarre information was released over the next months.
In 2013, the US government charged Snowden over several charges including, ‘theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person’ and in 2014, then-president Obama ordered the US Attorney General to analyst the surveillance programs in the country to calm down the situation.
Snowden managed to stay hidden for some time. He was planning to move to Ecuador but was stranded in Russian as his passport was annulled by the US.
He was offered asylum in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia but he decided to stay in Russia.
The same year after exposing the documents from the NSA, Snowden requested clemency from the US government but the request was turned down.
While in exile he became a critic of government surveillance. During this time the US military revealed that because of the damage caused by Snowden, the situation was becoming more and more devastating upon its security structure.
In 2014, he gave an interview to Brian Williams of NBC News that he was a trained spy by the CIA and NSA but the claims were denied by both agents.
In 2015, he joined Twitter and used the platform to communicate all over the globe. Following up on an interview with the Guardian interview, many human rights groups requested President Obama to pardon Snowden but the House Intelligence Committee released a 3-page report on Snowden along with a singed petition asking the president not to pardon Snowden.
According to the new president, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden should be executed for the mess he created.
‘I don’t care. The reality here is that yes, Donald Trump has appointed a new director of the Central Intelligence Agency who uses me as a specific example to say that, look, dissidents should be put to death. But if I get hit by a bus, or a drone, or dropped off an airplane tomorrow, you know what? It doesn’t actually matter that much to me, because I believe in the decisions that I’ve already made.’
As of 2020, President Trump says that he’s really considering pardoning the whistleblower Snowden but nothing had been confirmed so far.
He was featured in ‘Citizenfour’ documentary by Laura Poitras and in the biopic by ‘Snowden’. His memoir ‘Permanent Record’ was published in 2019. It’s said that all profits of the book sale go to the Department of Justice as its content violates the nondisclosure agreement signed by Snowden.
Snowden was in a relationship with Lindsay Mills since 2009. She moved to Moscow to join Snowden in 2014. The couple got married in 2017 and resides in Russia according to sources.