|Born||Edward Joseph Snowden
June 21, 1983
Elizabeth City, North Carolina, U.S.
|Residence||Russia (temporary asylum)|
|Employer||Booz Allen Hamilton
Kunia, Hawaii, U.S.
(until June 10, 2013)
|Known for||Revealing details of classified United States government surveillance programs|
Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American computer specialist who worked for the CIA and the NSA and leaked details of several top-secret United States and British government mass surveillance programs to the press.
Based on information Snowden leaked to The Guardian in May 2013 while employed at NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, the British newspaper published a series of exposés that revealed programs such as the interception of U.S. and European telephone metadata and the PRISM, XKeyscore, and Tempora Internet surveillance programs. Snowden’s release of NSA material was called the most significant leak in US history by Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg.
On June 14, 2013, United States federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property. Snowden had left the United States prior to the publication of his disclosures, first to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he received temporary asylum and now resides in an undisclosed location.
Snowden has been a subject of controversy: he has been variously called a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a traitor, and a patriot. Snowden has defended his leaks as an effort “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.” Some U.S. officials condemned his actions as having done “grave damage” to the U.S. intelligence capabilities while others, such as former president Jimmy Carter, have applauded his actions.Meanwhile, the media disclosures have renewed debates both inside and outside the United States over mass surveillance, government secrecy, and the balance between national security and information privacy.