9 things to know about Edward Snowden
The man behind one of the biggest political leaks ever earned $200K, lived in Hawaii and had a 'very comfortable life' before fleeing to Hong Kong.
Behind one of the biggest leaks in political history is a 29-year-old man named Edward Snowden, who by his own account is facing an uncertain future after disclosing information about the National Security Agency's data collection on American citizens and foreigners.
Regardless of whether you consider him a hero or a traitor, Snowden's motivations are likely to baffle many readers, especially as details about his life emerge.
For one, Snowden has given up the kind of life that, at least from the outside, would appear to be one many Americans can only dream of. Before fleeing to Hong Kong, he lived in a quiet suburb of Honolulu and was earning a salary of roughly $200,000 working for consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), The Guardian reports. Snowden told the newspaper he had "a very comfortable life."
Snowden leaked the information to The Guardian and The Washington Post that the NSA and the FBI were tapping into the servers of some of the world's biggest tech companies, including Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO).
Here are eight more things to know about Snowden:
He never finished high school. Snowden described himself as a lackluster student who earned a GED after failing to complete the coursework to obtain a high school diploma.
Broken legs derailed his military ambitions. After obtaining his GED, Snowden enlisted in the U.S. Army and started a training program to join the special forces. He said he was discharged after breaking both legs in a training accident.
His computer talents led him to the CIA. Snowden started out working as a security guard for the NSA, but his computer programming talents got him hired by the Central Intelligence Agency, which later stationed him in Geneva, Switzerland.
A drunk Swiss banker prompted his disillusionment. His loss of faith in government started when CIA operatives allegedly got a Swiss banker drunk, then encouraged the man to drive home. After the banker was arrested for drunk driving, one undercover agent offered to help and successfully recruited the banker, Snowden claims. "Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions," he said.
He lied to his boss and girlfriend. After copying the documents he would leak to the media, Snowden told his boss at Booz Allen that he needed to receive treatment for epilepsy and would be away for a "couple of weeks." He told his girlfriend he'd also be away for a while, but was vague about the reason. He then boarded a flight to Hong Kong, where he was holed up in a swanky hotel. He checked out of the hotel Monday, according to reports.
His bedside reading is Dick Cheney's biography. Snowden has a copy of "Angler," the biography of former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in his hotel room. Snowden is also reading Internet news sources and watching TV to keep track of the effects of his whistleblowing.
He lined his hotel door with pillows. Snowden lined the door of his hotel room with pillows to deter eavesdropping, The Guardian notes. He also covers his laptop and his head with a large red hood to prevent cameras from zooming in on his screen when he's entering his passwords.
He's running out of money. Snowden's stay in what the newspaper calls a "plush hotel" apparently came at a cost, with CNN reporting that the whistleblower is in danger of running out of money and wants to find asylum. Asked what he thinks will happen to him, he told the Guardian, "Nothing good."
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
So all of this means what?
Why not report on all of the sleazy, under-handed, criminal things the federal politicians continue to do day in and day out? Huh? Report on how the flood of illegals in this country is taking it's toll on the taxpayers. What exactly does any of this have to do with how we're being treated by the very people and agencies that are supposed to be SERVING us, the citizens of this country.
What he earned has a lot to do with it; you see, many folk with education, experience and verifiable references were turned away for this position due to factors, which, if stated, would have lead to a lawsuit against Booz Allen Hamilton.
He did not think of his security or that of others, hence, it was not necessary to forward his concern to higher ranking officials, or even a politician who does not like President Obama.
Many of our fellow citizens live overseas, to incite university students, when we disagree with foreign governments policies, or their interference with north Americans who own business overseas, and engage in illegal practices, such as contamination of waters, using pesticides not approved by the FDA, for use here, etc.
LET'S STOP KIDDING OURSELVES TRYING TO CONVINCE OTHERS THAT THIS DUDE HAS UNCOVERED AN UNPRECEDENTED GOVERNMENT PRACTICE. THAT IS WHY THE WORD "POLITICAL" ASYLYM EXISTS.
Google it and read it for yourself. Funny how I can recall all the articles about our Government doing the bogus Warrant-less wiretapping long before Obama was ever elected. Funny how all the Bush lovers all of a sudden are suffering Major Memory losses.
What people earn has everything to do with a country where the wage gap has expanded from 40 to 1 to well over 400 to 1. What he has earned has everything to do with it since the Government was footing the BILL! What people pick to read can give insight. If a person had the Koran by their bedside, folks would clearly have a different take on what he choose to read.
I disagree with Both Bush and Obama on this issue. However that hardly makes this guy anything other than a Criminal. The only truth here is that people choose to be Dumb about this issue until Obama continued what Bush Started.
When guns and security are the method and the issue count on abuses, the need to monitor, and an ongoing attempt to overreach into a police state.
It doesn't matter if it's your campus police, your city police, the state patrol, the army, or the "national security" apparatus. People run these things, and people want it all. I do, you do, and they do, too.
The folks who aren't concerned are the ones who believe they've got a pass and aren't subject to the guns+security operations themselves. . . . Sure about that?
Remember, secret courts with secret judges in secret chambers with secret testimony aren't just for Colombian bam-bam trials anymore.
How many recall that of all the big Carriers back then, only Qwest Communications refused to allow the Government's request. Funny how the CEO was shortly after, run out of town. But all we hear is about the IRS and the bogus election swinging farce 501(c)s. Funny how folk are a Hero, depending in not what they did, but only according to who's President.
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