Edward Joseph Snowden
He(born June 21, 1983) is an American computer professional, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, and former contractor for the United States government who copied and leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 without authorization. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.
Edward Joseph Snowden was born on June 21, 1983,in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.His maternal grandfather, Edward J. Barrett, was a rear admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard who became a senior official with the FBI and was at the Pentagon in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. Snowden’s father Lonnie was also an officer in the Coast Guard, and his mother Elizabeth is a clerk for at the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. His older sister, Jessica, was a lawyer at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. Edward Snowden said that he had expected to work for the federal government, as had the rest of his family.His parents divorced in 2001, and his father remarried. Snowden scored above 145 on two separate IQ tests.
In the early 1990s, while still in grade school, Snowden moved with his family to the area of Fort Meade, Maryland. Mononucleosiscaused him to miss high school for almost nine months. Rather than returning to school, he passed the GED test and took classes at Anne Arundel Community College. Although Snowden had no undergraduate college degree he worked online toward a master’s degree at the University of Liverpool, England, in 2011. He was reportedly interested in Japanese popular culture, had studied the Japanese language,and worked for an anime company that had a resident office in the U.S.He also said he had a basic understanding of Mandarin Chinese and was deeply interested in martial arts. At age 20, he listed Buddhism as his religion on a military recruitment form, noting that the choice of Agnostic was “strangely absent.”
Feeling a humanitarian obligation to fight in the Iraq War to help free oppressed people, Snowden enlisted in the United States Army Reserve on May 7, 2004, as a Special Forces candidate through its 18X enlistment option.He did not complete the training.After breaking both legs in a training accident, he was discharged on September 28, 2004.
He was then employed for less than a year in 2005 as a security guard at the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language, a research center sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA). According to the University this is not a classified facility, though it is heavily guarded. In June 2014, Snowden told Wired that his job as a security guard required a high-level security clearance, for which he passed a polygraph exam and underwent a stringent background check
Global surveillance disclosures
Australian officials have estimated 15,000 or more Australian intelligence files and British officials estimate at least 58,000 British intelligence files NSA Director Keith Alexander initially estimated that Snowden had copied anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 NSA documents Later estimates provided by U.S. officials were on the order of 1.7 million, a number that originally came from Department of Defense talking points. In July 2014, The Washington Postreported on a cache previously provided by Snowden from domestic NSA operations consisting of “roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts.” A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report declassified in June 2015 said that Snowden took 900,000 Department of Defense files, more than he downloaded from the NSA.
In 2013, Snowden was hired by an NSA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, after previous employment with Dell and the CIA. On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii, and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill. Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Further disclosures were made by other publications including Der Spiegel and The New York Times.
On June 21, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property.Two days later, he flew into Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, but Russian authorities noted that his U.S. passport had been cancelled and he was restricted to the airport terminal for over one month. Russia ultimately granted him right of asylum for one year, and repeated extensions have permitted him to stay at least until 2020. He reportedly lives in an undisclosed location in Moscow, and continues to seek asylum elsewhere in the world.