Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the NSA who leaked the NSA Power Point slides to the Washington Post and The Guardian, has been very open with the media regarding his background, education, work history and motives surrounding his leaking of NSA information. Snowden was born in Elizabeth, North Carolina in June of 1983. His parents were Lonnie Snowden, an officer in the US Coast Guard, and Wendy Snowden, a clerk for a Maryland federal court. Snowden did not graduate high school due to prolonged illnesses, but went on to obtain his GED and take college-level classes relating to computers.

Snowden enlisted in the US Army Reserves after completing his GED. This career did not last long for Snowden as he was discharged following a training exercise during which he broke both of his legs. A relatively short time after that, Snowden was employed by the CIA as an Information Technology security officer, the NSA as a security guard, and finally as a private contractor for many large companies, including Dell and Booz Allen.

While working for Booz Allen, Snowden was assigned to NSA offices in both Japan and Hawaii, where he had access to some of the NSA's highly guarded information, which became the information that Snowden leaked in 2013. The most cited reason given by Snowden regarding his motive for the leak of information about PRISM and other NSA surveillance programs is that the public has a right to know what thea government is doing.

Following the leak, Snowden abruptly took leave from Booz Allen (citing needs for medical treatment) and left his girlfriend behind in Hawaii. Snowden then traveled to Hong Kong, and began the process of seeking political asylum in several countries. Snowden left Hong Kong and began working with Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, and a handler, Sarah Harrison, to submit requests for political asylum in several different countries.

In the US, federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property. The US Army has been blocking access to The Guardian, which published the NSA information regarding surveillance programs and personnel locations in June of 2013.

 

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