Edward Snowden was an "infrastructure analyst" for the National Security Administration, working as a contractor in Hawaii.
He became increasingly disturbed by the fact that the federal government has a gigantic, secret spying apparatus to monitor people around the globe.
Snowden decided to leak proof of previously unknown clandestine spying programs to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian.
The government was not really sure how to respond to the leaks at first.
But eventually landed on the explanation that the programs they were running were "legal" based on secret court rulings.
While The Guardian articles were making international news, Snowden flew to Hong Kong.
Snowden fled to Hong Kong because it was a country with "the cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained."