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Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden
WHISTLEBLOWER
  • Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American whistle-blower and fugitive. A former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and contractor for the United States government, he copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013.
  • 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, and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy.
EARLY LIFE
  • Edward Joseph Snowden was born on June 21, 1983, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Snowden’s father, Lonnie, was also an officer in the Coast Guard,and his mother, Elizabeth, is a clerk 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. His parents divorced in 2001, and his father remarried.
  • In the early 1990s, while still in grade school, Snowden moved with his family to the area of Fort Meade, Maryland.
  • Although Snowden had no undergraduate college degree, he worked online toward a master’s degree at the University of Liverpool, England, in 2011.
  • 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 duty to fight in the Iraq War to help free oppressed people,Snowden enlisted in the United States Army Reserve on May 7, 2004, and became a Special Forces candidate.
  • He did not complete the training. After breaking both legs in a training accident,he was discharged on September 28 ,2004.
CIA
  • After attending a 2006 job-fair focused on intelligence agencies, Snowden accepted an offer for a position at the CIA.
  • In March 2007, the CIA stationed Snowden with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer-network security.
  • Assigned to the U.S. Permanent Mission to the United Nations, a diplomatic mission representing U.S. interests before the UN and other international organizations, In February 2009, Snowden resigned from the CIA.
SNOWDEN
  • In 2009, after being suspected of trying to break into classified files, he left to work for private contractors, among them Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton, a tech consulting firm. While at Dell, he worked as a subcontractor in an NSA office in Japan before being transferred to an office in Hawaii.
  • After a short time, he moved from Dell to Booz Allen, another NSA subcontractor, and remained with the company for only three months.
DISCLOSURES
  • The NSA sent a memo to Congress saying that Snowden had tricked a fellow employee into sharing his personal public key infrastructure certificate to gain greater access to the NSA’s computer system.
  • The exact size of Snowden’s disclosure is unknown, but Australian officials have estimated 15,000 or more Australian intelligence files and British officials estimate at least 58,000 British intelligence files.
  • NSA 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.
  • In July 2014, The Washington Post reported 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.
POLITICAL ASYLUM
  • On June 23, 2013, Snowden landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. WikiLeaks said he was on a circuitous but safe route to asylum in Ecuador.
  • Four countries offered Snowden permanent asylum: Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela. No direct flights between Moscow and Venezuela, Bolivia or Nicaragua existed, however, and the U.S. pressured countries along his route to hand him over.
  • Snowden would seek temporary asylum in Russia and possibly apply for citizenship later. Snowden thanked Russia for giving him asylum and said that “in the end the law is winning.”