Ever heard of Edward Snowden? I bet you have.
Edward Snowden is an ex-CIA agent who leaked United States confidential information to news agencies about the existence of a data mining government program christened PRISM.
These leaks exposed very vital information about the US Government and specifically the workings of US secret surveillance. His acts, according to the government and American law amount to espionage.
The Edward Snowden story is highly controversial and he has even become something of a pop culture icon inspiring the production of various publications, music, documentaries, and even a multi-million-dollar biopic staring actor Joseph Gordon Levitt as Snowden.
So, what exactly happened?
Edward Joseph Snowden was born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina to a military family. During college, Snowden found he was a bit of a “computer wizard,” in his own words. In 2006 at age 23, Snowden was offered a position CIA which he accepted, and was stationed global communications division at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Snowden quickly distinguished himself on the top computer-team. He was sent to the CIA’s school for technology specialists in May 2006.
Upon completing his training, the CIA stationed Snowden in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was assigned to computer-network security.
In 2009, Snowden began work as a contractee for Dell, which manages computer systems for multiple government agencies. Assigned to an NSA facility at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, Snowden instructed top officials and military officers on how to defend their networks from Chinese hackers.
In March 2012, Dell reassigned Snowden to Hawaii as lead technologist for the NSA’s information-sharing office. At the time of his departure from the U.S. in May 2013, he had been employed for 15 months inside the NSA’s Hawaii regional operations center, which focuses on the electronic monitoring of China and North Korea, the last three of which were with consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.
While intelligence officials have described his position there as a “system administrator,” Snowden has said he was an “infrastructure analyst,” which meant that his job was to look for new ways to break into Internet and telephone traffic around the world.
On March 15, 2013—three days after what he later called his “breaking point” of “seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress.” Snowden quit his job at Dell.
Although he has stated his “career high” annual salary was $200,000, Snowden said he took a pay cut to work at Booz Allen, where he sought employment to gather data and then release details of the NSA’s worldwide surveillance activity. While in Hawaii, Snowden “may have persuaded between 20 and 25 fellow workers” to give him their logins and passwords “by telling them they were needed for him to do his job as a computer systems administrator.”
The NSA sent a memo to Congress and while the memo’s account is sketchy, it suggests that, contrary to Snowden’s statements, he used an “element of trickery to retrieve his trove of tens of thousands of classified documents.”
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.
A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a traitor and a patriot. His disclosures have fueled debates over mass surveillance, government secrecy, and the balance between national security and information privacy.
Together We Can Survive Anything,
P.S. Just two days after America voted Donald Trump into office, he took a meeting at the White House. And that’s normal.
After all, it’s the tradition every time one president makes way for another.
Only this time… it was different.
Possibly very different.
Not only did the meeting with Barack last an hour and a half longer than expected…
But we also think Barack SPILLED THE BEANS on a dire new crisis.
Not a looming terror attack. Not a Wall Street crash (at least not yet)…
But a shocking “trigger event” that could set the U.S. back decades — see here.
When he heard about this, I’ll bet Trump was shaking in his boots.