Everything We Know About The Guy Who Leaked Top-Secret Government Surveillance Information

Edward Snowden, 29, told The Guardian he doesn’t see himself as a hero. “I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”

1. His name is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA.

The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras.

2. He didn’t finish high school but later received his GED.

3. He joined the U.S. Army in 2003, broke his leg in a training exercise, and was discharged. He then started working as a security guard at a covert NSA facility at the University of Maryland.

4. He then began working for the CIA in IT intelligence. He said during this time he became disillusioned with how the government functions.

5. He voted for a third-party candidate in 2008.

7. He said he was upset when the Obama administration advanced policies he “thought would be reined in” and decided he had to act himself.


…you can’t wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act.

8. He says he’s currently an employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

9. Booz Allen confirmed he was an employee for less than three months in Hawaii.

10. The Guardian revealed his identity at his request. Snowden said, “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.”

11. He was also a source of leaks about the NSA to The Washington Post.

12. Snowden says he understood the consequences of leaking the information when he provided the Guardian with the first set of documents:


I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.

13. He copied the last set of documents he planned to leak three weeks ago in the NSA office in Hawaii.

14. He then told his NSA supervisor he had to be away for several weeks for an epilepsy treatment. He also told his girlfriend he had to leave but was vague about why. On May 20, he boarded a flight for Hong Kong where he remains.

BOBBY YIP / Reuters

15. He told the Guardian he chose Hong Kong because:


They have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.

16. He says the U.S. Consulate is “just up the road” and he said, “I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”

17. He says he rarely leaves his hotel because he’s afraid of being spied on. He lines the doors of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping and he covers his head and keyboard with a hood when he types passwords.


I’ve left the room maybe a total of three times during my entire stay … Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets.

18. He says he was thoughtful about what documents to leak:


I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest,” he said. “There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.

19. He isn’t on social media right now.

20. This is what he says about the government’s ability to monitor people:


Any analyst at any time can target anyone … I sitting at my desk certainly had the authorities to wire tap anyone.

21. He’ll be on the front page of Monday’s Guardian.

22. Snowden and his girlfriend moved out of their home in Waipahu, Hawaii on May 1, reports AP.

A real estate sign stands in front of a home in Waipahu, Hawaii, Sunday, June 9, 2013, where Edward Snowden lived with his girlfriend until recently. A Hawaii real estate agent says Snowden and his girlfriend moved out of their home and left nothing behind.

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