Military Wiki
Edward Snowden
Screen capture from the interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras on June 6, 2013
Born Edward Joseph Snowden
June 21, 1983(1983-06-21) (age 39)
Elizabeth City, North Carolina, U.S.
Residence Russia (temporary asylum)
Nationality American
Occupation System administrator
Known for Revealing details of classified United States government surveillance programs
Home town Wilmington, North Carolina
Criminal charge Theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person (June 2013).
Awards Sam Adams Award[1]

Edward Joseph "Ed"[2][3] Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an exiled American computer specialist and former CIA employee and NSA contractor who disclosed classified details of several top-secret United States and British government mass surveillance programs to the press. He is living in Russia under temporary political asylum and is considered a fugitive from justice by American authorities,[4][5][6][7] who have charged him with espionage and theft of government property.[8][9][10]

Snowden's release of NSA material was called the most significant leak in US history by Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg.[11][12] Based on disclosures leaked to The Guardian in May 2013, while employed by NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, a series of exposés was published revealing programs such as the interception of US and European telephone metadata and the PRISM, XKeyscore, and Tempora Internet surveillance programs.[13][14] Snowden has been a subject of controversy: he has been variously called a hero,[15][16] a whistleblower,[17][18][19][20][21] a dissident,[22] a traitor,[23][24] and a patriot.[25][26] Some US officials, such as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, condemned his actions as having done "huge, grave damage" to US intelligence capabilities while others, such as former president Jimmy Carter, applauded his actions.[27][28] In Snowden's own words, his "sole motive" for leaking the documents was "to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."[29] The disclosures have fueled debates over mass surveillance, government secrecy, and the balance between national security and information privacy.[30]


Childhood, family, and education

Edward Joseph Snowden was born on June 21, 1983,[31] in Elizabeth City, North Carolina,[32] and grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina.[33] His father, Lonnie Snowden, a resident of Pennsylvania, was an officer in the United States Coast Guard,[34] and his mother, a resident of Baltimore, Maryland, is a clerk at a federal court in Maryland.[33][35] His parents are divorced, and his father subsequently remarried.[36]

By 1999, Snowden had moved with his family to Ellicott City, Maryland.[33] He studied at Anne Arundel Community College[33] to gain the credits necessary to obtain a high-school diploma but he did not complete the coursework.[37][38] Snowden's father explained that his son had missed several months of school owing to illness and, rather than return, took and passed the tests for his GED at a local community college.[29][39][40]

Snowden worked online toward a Master's Degree at the University of Liverpool in 2011.[41] Having worked at a U.S. military base in Japan, Snowden was reportedly interested in Japanese popular culture, had studied the Japanese language,[42] and also worked for an anime company domiciled in the United States.[43][44] He also said he had a basic understanding of Mandarin Chinese and was deeply interested in martial arts and, at age 19 or 20, listed Buddhism as his religion on a military recruitment form, noting that the choice of agnostic was "strangely absent".[45]

Political views

Snowden has said that in the 2008 presidential election he voted for a third-party candidate. He has stated he had been planning to make disclosures about NSA surveillance programs at the time, but he decided to wait because he "believed in Obama's promises". He was later disappointed that Obama "continued with the policies of his predecessor".[46] For the 2012, political donation records indicate that he contributed to the primary campaign of Republican candidate Ron Paul.[47][48]

Several sources have alleged that Snowden, under the pseudonym "TheTrueHOOHA", authored hundreds of posts on technology news provider Ars Technica's chat rooms.[3][49][50] The poster discussed a variety of political topics. In a January 2009 entry, TheTrueHOOHA exhibited strong support for the United States' security state apparatus and said he believed leakers of classified information "should be shot in the balls".[51] However, in February 2010 TheTrueHOOHA wrote, "I wonder, how well would envelopes that became transparent under magical federal candlelight have sold in 1750? 1800? 1850? 1900? 1950?"[52]

On June 17, 2013, Snowden's father spoke in an interview on Fox TV, expressing concern about misinformation in the media regarding his son. He described his son as "a sensitive, caring young man...He just is a deep thinker".[39] In accounts published in June 2013, interviewers noted that Snowden's laptop displayed stickers supporting internet freedom organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Tor Project.[29] Snowden considers himself "neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American".[53]


On May 7, 2004, Snowden enlisted in the United States Army Reserve as a Special Forces recruit but did not complete any training.[31][54] He said he wanted to fight in the Iraq War because he "felt like [he] had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression."[29] In an email to The Guardian the U.S. army confirmed his enlistment as Special Forces recruit and said he was discharged on September 28, 2004. The email said, "He did not complete any training or receive any awards".[55] Snowden stated that this was the result of breaking both of his legs in a training accident.[56]

His next employment was as a National Security Agency (NSA) security guard for the Center for Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland,[57] before, he said, joining the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to work on IT security.[58] In May 2006 Snowden wrote in Ars Technica that he had no trouble getting work because he was a "computer wizard". In August he wrote about a possible path in government service, perhaps involving China, but said it "just doesn't seem like as much 'fun' as some of the other places".[54]

Snowden said that in 2007 the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer network security.[59] Snowden described his CIA experience in Geneva as "formative", stating that the CIA deliberately got a Swiss banker drunk and encouraged him to drive home. Snowden said that when the latter was arrested, a CIA operative offered to intervene and later recruited the banker.[60] Swiss President Ueli Maurer said it did not seem likely "that this incident played out as it has been described by Snowden and by the media".[61] The revelations were said to be sensitive as the Swiss government was passing legislation for more banking transparency.[62]

Snowden left the CIA in 2009 and began work for Dell, a private contractor, inside an NSA facility on a U.S. military base in Japan .[29] Snowden remained on the Dell payroll until early 2013.[63] Persons familiar with the 2013 government investigation into Snowden's history said that Snowden had downloaded sensitive NSA material in April 2012.[64] NSA Director Keith Alexander has said that Snowden held a position at the NSA for the twelve months prior to his next job as a consultant,[65] with top secret Sensitive Compartmented Information clearances.[66] According to The New York Times, Snowden took a Certified Ethical Hacker training course in 2010.[67] USIS completed a background check on Snowden in 2011.[68]

Snowden described his life as "very comfortable", earning a salary of "roughly US$200,000".[69] At the time of his departure from the United States in May 2013, he had been employed by consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton for less than three months inside the NSA at the Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center in Hawaii,[70][71][72] earning $122,000.[73] 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.[74] He said he had taken a pay cut to work at Booz Allen,[75] and that he sought employment in order to gather data on NSA surveillance around the world so he could leak it.[76] The firm said Snowden's employment was terminated on June 10, 2013 "for violations of the firm's code of ethics and firm policy".[73][77]

According to Reuters, a source "with detailed knowledge on the matter" stated that Booz Allen's hiring screeners found some details of his education "did not check out precisely", but decided to hire him anyway; Reuters stated that the element which triggered these concerns, or the manner in which Snowden satisfied the concerns, were not known.[78] The résumé stated that Snowden attended computer-related classes at Johns Hopkins University. A spokesperson for Johns Hopkins said that the university did not find records to show that Snowden attended the university, and suggested that he may instead have attended Advanced Career Technologies, a private for-profit organization which operated as "Computer Career Institute at Johns Hopkins".[78] The University College of the University of Maryland acknowledged that Snowden had attended a summer session at a UM campus in Asia. Snowden's resume stated that he estimated that he would receive a University of Liverpool computer security master's degree in 2013. The university said that Snowden registered for an online master's degree program in computer security in 2011 but that "he is not active in his studies and has not completed the program".[78]

Before leaving for Hong Kong, Snowden resided in Waipahu, Hawaii, with his girlfriend.[79] According to local real estate agents, they moved out of their home on May 1, 2013, leaving nothing behind.[38]

Media disclosures

Snowden first made contact with Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian in late 2012.[80] Greenwald found the measures that the anonymous source asked him to take to secure their communications, such as encrypting email, too annoying to employ. Snowden then moved on to contact documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras in January 2013.[81] According to Poitras, Snowden chose to contact her after seeing her report on William Binney, an NSA whistleblower, in The New York Times. Greenwald began working with Snowden in either February[82] or in April after Poitras asked Greenwald to meet her in New York City.[80] Barton Gellman, writing for The Washington Post, says his first "direct contact" was on May 16, 2013.[83] According to Gellman, Snowden approached Greenwald after the Post declined to guarantee publication of all 41 of the PRISM Powerpoint slides within 72 hours and publish online an encrypted code that would allow Snowden to later be able to prove to a foreign embassy that he was the source.[83]

Snowden communicated using encrypted email,[81] using the codename "Verax". He asked not to be quoted at length for fear of identification by semantic analysis.[83]

According to Gellman, prior to their first meeting in person, Snowden wrote, "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end."[83] Snowden also told Gellman that until the articles were published, the journalists working with him would also be at mortal risk from the United States Intelligence Community "if they think you are the single point of failure that could stop this disclosure and make them the sole owner of this information."[83]

In May 2013, Snowden was permitted temporary leave from his position at the NSA in Hawaii, on the pretext of receiving treatment for his epilepsy.[29] In mid-May Snowden gave an electronic interview to Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum which was published weeks later by Der Spiegel.[84] On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong,[85][86] where he was staying when the initial articles about the NSA that he had leaked were published.[85][87] Among other specifics, Snowden divulged the existence and functions of several classified U.S. surveillance programs and their scope, including notably PRISM, NSA call database, and Boundless Informant. He also revealed details of Tempora, a British black-ops surveillance program run by the NSA's British partner, GCHQ. In July 2013, Greenwald stated that Snowden had additional sensitive information about the NSA that he has chosen not to make public, including "very sensitive, detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do".[88] In September 2013, the existence of a classified decryption program codernamed Bullrun was revealed.[89][90]

By October 2013, Snowden's disclosures had created tensions[91] between the US and some of its close allies after they revealed the US had spied on countries including France,[92][93] Mexico,[94] Germany,[95][96] Brazil,[97] Britain[98] and China,[99] as well as 35 world leaders.[100]


Snowden's identity was made public by The Guardian at his request[82] on June 9, 2013. He explained: "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong."[29] He added that by revealing his identity he hoped to protect his colleagues from being subjected to a hunt to determine who had been responsible for the leaks.[101] Snowden explained his actions saying: "I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things [surveillance on its citizens]... I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded... My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."[2] When Snowden met with representatives of human rights organizations on July 12, he said:

The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the U.S. Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair....

I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: "Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."[102]

Snowden, in an early June email sent to the Washington Post, said that in the past, whistleblowers had been 'destroyed by the experience', and that he wanted to "embolden others to step forward" by demonstrating that "they can win".[103] In October, Snowden spoke out again on his motivations for the leaks in an interview with the New York Times, saying that the system for reporting problems does not work. "You have to report wrongdoing to those most responsible for it", Snowden explained, and pointed to the lack of whistleblower protection for government contractors, the use of the 1917 Espionage Act to prosecute leakers, and his belief that had he used internal mechanisms to 'sound the alarm', his revelations "would have been buried forever".[104][105]

Flight from the U.S.

Snowden left Hawaii for Hong Kong alone on May 20, 2013. Snowden was bound for the Republic of Ecuador via Moscow on June 23, as Hong Kong authorities were deliberating the US government's request for his extradition.

Hong Kong

Snowden explained his choice of Hong Kong thus:

NSA employees must declare their foreign travel 30 days in advance and are monitored. There was a distinct possibility I would be interdicted en route, so I had to travel with no advance booking to a country with the cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained. Hong Kong provided that. Iceland could be pushed harder, quicker, before the public could have a chance to make their feelings known, and I would not put that past the current U.S. administration.[75]

Snowden said that he was predisposed "to seek asylum in a country with shared values", and that his ideal choice would be Iceland.[5][29] The International Modern Media Institute, an Icelandic freedom of speech advocacy organization, issued a statement offering Snowden legal advice and assistance in gaining asylum.[106] Iceland's ambassador to China, Kristín A. Arnadóttir, pointed out that asylum could not be granted to Snowden, because Icelandic law requires that such applications be made from within the country.[107]

Snowden vowed to challenge any extradition attempt by the U.S. government, and had reportedly approached Hong Kong human rights lawyers.[108] Snowden told the South China Morning Post that he planned to remain in Hong Kong until "asked to leave",[109] adding that his intention was to let the "courts and people of Hong Kong" decide his fate.[110] According to Glenn Greenwald, information about U.S. intelligence operations in China that Snowden gave to the South China Morning Post while in Hong Kong were motivated by "a need to ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China."[111] In late August the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that Snowden was living at the Russian consulate shortly before his departure from Hong Kong to Moscow.[112] Anatoly Kucherena rejected the Kommersant story, stating that Snowden "did not enter into any communication with our diplomats when he was in Hong Kong."[113][114] Kucherena became Snowden's lawyer in July and was then head of the Russian Interior ministry's public council,[115] in addition to serving as a member[116] of the public council for the Federal Security Service (FSB).[117] In early September, however, Russian president Vladimir Putin acknowledged that "Mr. Snowden first appeared in Hong Kong and met with our diplomatic representatives."[118]

As speculation mounted that Snowden's departure from Hong Kong was imminent, media reports emerged that the British government warned airlines that Snowden was not welcome in the United Kingdom.[119][120] On June 20 and 21, a representative of WikiLeaks said that a chartered jet had been prepared to transport Snowden to Iceland,[121] and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced that he was brokering a discussion between Snowden and the Icelandic government for possible asylum.[122]

On June 23, U.S. officials said that Snowden's US passport had been revoked.[123] On the same day, Snowden boarded the commercial Aeroflot flight SU213 to Moscow, accompanied by Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks.[124][125] Hong Kong authorities said that Snowden had not been detained as requested by the United States, because the United States' extradition request had not fully complied with Hong Kong law,[126][127][128] and there was no legal basis to prevent Snowden from leaving.[129][130][Notes 1] On June 24, Julian Assange said that WikiLeaks had paid for Snowden's lodging in Hong Kong and his flight out.[133]

Ecuadorean embassy car in front of Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow on June 23, 2013.

Snowden's passage through Hong Kong inspired a local production team to produce a low-budget five-minute film entitled Verax. The film, depicting the time Snowden spent hiding in the Mira Hotel while being unsuccessfully tracked by the CIA and China's Ministry of State Security, was uploaded to YouTube on June 25, 2013.[134][135]


On Sunday, June 23, 2013, Snowden landed in Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport, en route to Ecuador.[136] On the same day, before leaving Hong Kong, US officials annulled his passport.[137] Snowden remained in the Sheremetyevo transit zone until being granted temporary political asylum by the Russian government at the end of July 2013.

In a July 1 statement,[138] Snowden remarked:

Although I am convicted of nothing, [the US government] has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.[139]

Although Snowden had a seat reserved to fly on to Cuba June 24, he did not board that flight. In August, Fidel Castro rejected media reports that the plane would have been denied landing had Snowden been on board.[140]

Morales plane incident

On July 1, 2013, president Evo Morales of Bolivia, who had been attending a conference of gas-exporting countries in Russia, appeared predisposed to offer asylum to Snowden during an interview with Russia Today.[141] The following day, the airplane carrying him back to Bolivia from Russia was rerouted to Austria and reportedly searched there[142][143] after France, Spain and Italy[144] denied access to their airspace due to suspicions that Snowden was on board.[145]

Asylum applications

On July 1, 2013, Snowden had applied for political asylum to 20 countries.[146] A statement attributed to Snowden also contended that the U.S. administration, and specifically Vice President Joe Biden, had pressured the governments of these countries to refuse his petition for asylum.[147] Several days later, Snowden made a second batch of applications for asylum to 6 countries, but declined to name them citing prior interference by US officials.[148][149] Finland, Germany, India, Poland, Norway, Austria, Italy, and the Netherlands cited technical grounds for not considering the application, saying that applications for asylum to these countries must be made from within the countries' borders or at border stations.[146][150][151][152][153][154] Ecuador had initially offered Snowden a temporary travel document but later withdrew it:[155] on July 1, president Rafael Correa said the decision to issue the offer had been "a mistake".[156][157]

On June 25 and July 15, Russian president Putin said that Snowden's arrival in Moscow was "a surprise" and "like an unwanted Christmas gift".[158] Putin said that Snowden remained in the transit area of Sheremetyevo, noted that he had not committed any crime on Russian soil,[159] and declared that Snowden was free to leave and should do so.[160] He also claimed that Russia's intelligence agencies neither "had worked, nor were working with" Snowden.[158][160] Putin's claims were received skeptically by some observers:[161][162] one Moscow political analyst said "Snowden will fly out of Russia when the Kremlin decides he can go"[163] and in July Yulia Latynina expressed her view that Snowden was under the "total control" of Russia's security services.[164] According to the Jamestown Foundation, an anonymous source informed them in early July that Snowden was not, in fact, residing at the airport but at a safe house controlled by Russia's intelligence and security agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB).[165] Correa of Ecuador said that Snowden was "under care" of Russia and could not leave Moscow.[166]

On July 1, Putin said that if Snowden wanted to be granted asylum in Russia, Snowden would have to "stop his work aimed at harming our American partners".[167][168] A spokesman for Putin subsequently said that Snowden had withdrawn his asylum application upon learning about the conditions.[146][169]

On July 12, in a meeting at Sheremetyevo Airport with representatives of human rights organizations and lawyers that the Kremlin helped organize,[170] Snowden stated that he was accepting all offers of asylum that he had already received or that he would receive in the future, noting that his Venezuela's "asylee status was now formal",[102] he also said he would request asylum in Russia until he resolved his travel problems.[171] On July 16, 2013, Russian Federal Migration Service officials confirmed that Snowden had submitted an application for temporary asylum in Russia.[172] According to Kucherena, Snowden had stated that he would meet Putin's condition for granting asylum and would not further harm US interests.[172] On July 23 Kucherena said his client intended to settle in Russia.[173]

Amid media reports in early July 2013 attributed to US administration sources that Obama's one-on-one meeting with Putin, ahead of a G20 meeting in St Petersburg scheduled for September, was in doubt due to Snowden's protracted sojourn in Russia,[174][175] top US officials repeatedly made it clear to Moscow that Snowden should without delay be returned to the United States to face justice.[176][177][178] In a letter to Russian Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov dated July 23, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sought to eliminate the "asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden's claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise":[9][179] he assured the Russian government that the U.S. would not seek the death penalty for Snowden irrespective of the charges he might eventually face and said Snowden would be issued a limited validity passport for returning to the U.S., and that upon his return, Snowden would benefit from legal and constitutional safeguards and not be tortured, as "torture is unlawful in the United States".[9] The same day, the Russian president's spokesman reiterated the Kremlin's position that it would "not hand anyone over"; he also noted that Putin was not personally involved in the matter as Snowden "had not made any request that would require examination by the head of state"; according to him the issue was being handled through talks between the FSB and the FBI.[180][181]

In late July 2013, Lon Snowden expressed a belief that his son would be better off staying in Russia, saying he was no longer confident his son would receive a fair trial in the United States,[182] and that Russia was probably the best place to seek asylum.[183] The elder Snowden said that the FBI had offered to fly him to Russia on their behalf but that he had declined citing a lack of assurance that he would see his son, and adding that he didn't wish to be used as "an emotional tool".[184]

Temporary asylum in Russia

On August 1, 2013, Snowden left the airport after more than a month in the transit section, having been granted temporary asylum in Russia for one year.[185] Snowden's attorney, Anatoly Kucherena, said the asylum could be extended indefinitely on an annual basis, and that Snowden had gone to an undisclosed location which would be kept secret for security reasons.[186]

In response to the asylum grant, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. administration was "extremely disappointed" by the Russian government's decision and that the meeting scheduled for September between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin was under reconsideration.[187][188] Some U.S. legislators urged the president to take a tough stand against Russia, possibly including a U.S. boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.[188][189] On August 7, the White House announced that Obama had canceled the meeting previously planned with Putin in Moscow citing lack of progress on a series of issues that included Russia's granting Snowden temporary asylum.[190][191][192] Following cancellation of the bilateral talks, Putin's foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov said they were "disappointed" and that it was clear to him that the decision was due to the situation around Snowden, which they "had not created"; Ushakov alleged that the U.S. had been avoiding signing an extradition agreement and had "invariably" used its absence as a pretext for denying Russian extradition requests.[193][194]

Lon Snowden spoke with his son on August 15, 2013, via an internet chat program although Lon Snowden's lawyer had advised against it, saying "we don't really know who this guy is on the other end". Edward's lawyer, Kucherena, had also advised against any interactions between the family members unless they were in person. In mid-August, The Wall Street Journal reported that Lon Snowden's legal team was concerned that Greenwald and WikiLeaks were using Snowden to advance their own agendas.[195] About the same time, The Huffington Post reported that Edward Snowden had sent them a statement, confirmed by the American Civil Liberties Union as authentic, saying that no one associated with his father represented him or had any special knowledge about his situation. He stated that he remained confident in the lawyers and journalists with whom he had been working, and that there was no conflict between them.[196][197]

The owner of a secure email service which Snowden used, Lavabit, shut down the service after being forced to release the secure keys to his site to the FBI, exposing all 410,000 users to FBI's resulting ability to read all email routed via Lavabit.[198]

In an October 2013 interview, Edward maintained that he did not bring any classified material into Russia "because it wouldn’t serve the public interest". He added "there’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents".[199]

Criminal prosecution and investigation

On June 14, 2013, United States federal prosecutors charged Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person”, the last two charges having been brought under the 1917 Espionage Act.[8][9][10]



According to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and others, Snowden's actions precipitated an intense debate on privacy and warrantless domestic surveillance in the United States.[30][200]


Edward Snowden was awarded the biennial German "whistleblower prize" in August 2013, in absentia, with an accompanying award equal to 3,000 euro. Established in 1999, the award is sponsored by the German branch of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms and by the Association of German Scientists.[201] Organizers in Berlin said the prize was to acknowledge his "bold efforts to expose the massive and unsuspecting monitoring and storage of communication data, which cannot be accepted in democratic societies".[202] Snowden responded to the award, saying it was "a great honor to be recognized for the public good created by this act of whistleblowing", and that it was not him, but the public who "affected this powerful change to abrogation of basic constitutional rights by secret agencies".[203]

Edward Snowden receiving the Sam Adams Award in October 2013

The Sam Adams Award was presented to Snowden by a group of American former intelligence officers and whistleblowers. In October 2013, after two months as an asylee, Snowden made his first public appearance to accept the award in Moscow. FBI whistleblower Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project was one of four Americans to present the award. She told The Nation, "We believe that Snowden exemplifies Sam Adams’s courage, persistence and devotion to truth—no matter what the consequences. We wanted Snowden to know that, as opposed to the daily vitriol from the US government and mainstream media, 60 percent of the United States supports him, including thousands in the national security and intelligence agencies where we used to work."[204][205][206]

Depiction in popular culture

Classified: The Edward Snowden Story, a dramatic thriller about Edward Snowden, is to be released on September 19, 2014. The film is directed by Jason Bourque and produced by computer hacker turned filmmaker Travis Doering; actor Kevin Zegers plays the character of Edward Snowden."[207]

See also


  1. Hong Kong's Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen argued that government officials did not issue a provisional arrest warrant for Snowden due to "discrepancies and missing information" in the paperwork sent by U.S. authorities. Yuen explained that Snowden full name was inconsistent, and his U.S. passport number was also missing.[131] Hong Kong also wanted more details of the charges and evidence against Snowden to make sure it was not a political case. Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen said he spoke to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder by phone to reinforce the request for details "absolutely necessary" for detention of Snowden. Yuen said "As the US government had failed to provide the information by the time Snowden left Hong Kong, it was impossible for the Department of Justice to apply to a court for a temporary warrant of arrest. In fact, even at this time, the U.S. government has still not provided the details we asked for."[132]


  1. "Former U.S. officials give NSA whistleblower Snowden award in Russia". 10 October 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things'" (video). The Guardian. London. June 9, 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mullin, Joe. (June 13, 2013) "NSA leaker Ed Snowden’s life on". Ars Technica.
  4. Gellman, Barton; Markon, Jerry (June 9, 2013). "Edward Snowden says motive behind leaks was to expose 'surveillance state'". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Gellman, Barton; Blake, Aaron; Miller, Greg (June 9, 2013). "Edward Snowden comes forward as source of NSA leaks". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  6. Father to meet fugitive Snowden in Russia
  7. Exclusive: NSA contractor hired Snowden despite concerns about resume discrepancies | Reuters
  8. 8.0 8.1 Finn, Peter; Horwitz, Sari (June 21, 2013). "U.S. charges Snowden with espionage". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 "US attorney general's letter to Russian justice minister". BBC. July 26, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 U.S. vs. Edward J. Snowden criminal complaint. The Washington Post.
  11. "Daniel Ellsberg Calls Edward Snowden A 'Hero,' Says NSA Leak Was Most Important in American History". Huffington Post. 
  12. Ellsberg, Daniel (June 10, 2013). "Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America". The Guardian. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  13. Greenwald, Glenn; MacAskill, Ewen (June 6, 2013). "NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others". The Guardian. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  14. Shane, Scott; Somaiya, Ravi (June 16, 2013). "New Leak Indicates U.S. and Britain Eavesdropped at '09 World Conferences". The New York Times. 
  15. Why Edward Snowden Is a Hero. The New Yorker.
  16. Oliver Stone defends Edward Snowden over NSA revelations. The Guardian. (July 5, 2013).
  17. Daniel Ellsberg: Edward Snowden Was Right To Leave The U.S. Huffington Post.
  18. Amash: Snowden a whistle-blower, 'told us what we need to know'. Fox News (August 4, 2013).
  19. Richard Cohen's reverse on Snowden: not a 'traitor', but a whistleblower | Tom McCarthy | Comment is free |
  20. "As Edward Snowden Receives Asylum in Russia, Poll Shows Americans Sympathetic to NSA 'Whistle-Blower' – Washington Whispers". August 1, 2013. 
  21. Gold, Hadas. "Former Sen. Gordon Humphrey emails with Edward Snowden". Politico. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  22. "В Госдуме Э.Сноудена назвали новым диссидентом и борцом с системой ("Some in State Duma has called E. Snowden a dissident and fighter against the system")". RBC Daily. 26. Retrieved August 4, 2013. ""Head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, Alexei Pushkov, has called Edward Snowden, whistleblower on the US intelligence services, a new dissident fighting the system." 
  23. LoGiurato, Brett (June 11, 2013). "John Boehner: Edward Snowden Is A 'Traitor'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  24. de Nesnera, Andre (August 8, 2013). "Is NSA Leaker Edward Snowden a Traitor?". Washington: Voice of America. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  25. Klein, Ezra. "Edward Snowden, patriot". The Washington Post. 
  26. "Opinion: Edward Snowden is a patriot – Trevor Timm". Politico.Com. 
  27. Blake, Aaron (June 9, 2013). "Clapper: Leaks are ‘literally gut-wrenching,’ leaker being sought". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  28. "Jimmy Carter Defends Snowden, Says U.S. Has No "Functioning Democracy"". 
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Further reading

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