Edward Snowden: The Whistleblower Who Shocked the World

Edward Joseph Snowden, born on June 21st, 1983 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, is a former agent who worked for the US intelligence agencies, including the CIA, NSA, and DIA. He is a famous whistleblower who disclosed classified information about the massive global surveillance and espionage practices carried out by secret services, mainly those of the United States and the United Kingdom.

Snowden’s revelations caused the NSA scandal in the summer of 2013. He was honored by several non-governmental organizations for his actions, and in 2014 he received the Right Livelihood Award. Snowden has been living in Moscow since 2013, as he was unable to receive asylum in western countries. In September 2022, he received Russian citizenship.

From Exposure to Exile

Until May 2013, Snowden worked as a systems administrator for the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton on behalf of the NSA. In his role, he had access to classified information, including US programs that monitored worldwide internet communication (XKeyscore, PRISM, Stellarwind, and Boundless Informant) and the British Tempora program. Snowden passed on this information to filmmaker Laura Poitras and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who published parts of it in June 2013 without revealing the source.

On June 9th, 2013, Snowden revealed his identity to the public in Hong Kong. On June 14th, 2013, the FBI issued an arrest warrant against Snowden for espionage, among other charges. Snowden left Hong Kong, but was stuck in the transit area of an international airport in Moscow for a long time, as diplomatic discussions were held about how to handle him.

On August 1st, 2013, it was reported that Snowden had received asylum from Russia. After five years, he could apply for Russian citizenship. On August 7th, 2014, Snowden’s lawyer announced that he had been granted a residency permit in Russia for three years, valid from August 1st, 2014. In Germany, Snowden is represented by human rights lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck.

On October 29th, 2015, the European Parliament recommended that all charges against Snowden be dropped and that he be protected as a human rights defender.

A Champion for Privacy Rights

Snowden’s exposure of the massive surveillance and espionage practices by secret services has made him a controversial figure in the world of politics. While some see him as a traitor and a criminal, others view him as a hero who courageously spoke out against government overreach and advocated for privacy rights. Snowden has been honored by numerous human rights organizations and has been awarded several prestigious awards, including the Right Livelihood Award.

In conclusion, Edward Snowden is a former agent turned whistleblower who has become a symbol of resistance against government overreach and an advocate for privacy rights. Although he lives in exile in Moscow, his impact on the world will continue to be felt for generations to come.

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