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50 Facts About Edward Snowden – A Former NSA Contractor

Edward Snowden is an American computer professional, privacy activist, former CIA employee, former NSA contractor, famous as a whistleblower who leaked classified information related to global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA. Here are 50 facts about the computer wizard -

  1. Snowden is known with various names - a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a patriot, and a traitor.
  2. He was named as the top global thinker by Foreign Policy Magazine in the year 2013.
  3. He was voted as Person of the Year 2013, by The Guardian, with four times the number of votes than any other candidate.
  4. He topped the list “Ten Tech Heroes” of 2013 at TechRepublic. Editor Jack Wallen wrote "Prior to this leak, the public was unaware of the depth of surveillance and the true nature of government secrecy. His disclosures have also had major implications for those in the technology field."
  5. He was awarded the biennial German “whistleblower prize,” along with an accompanying award equal to 3,000 euro in August 2013.
  6. He received the Sam Adams Award in Moscow by a group of four visiting American former intelligence officers and whistleblowers, in October 2013.
  7. Snowden was chosen to give Britain's "Alternative Christmas Message," in the year 2013. The message is the Channel 4's alternative to the Royal Christmas Message by Queen Elizabeth II.
  8. On February 18, 2014, he was elected as Rector of the University of Glasgow, a position widely described as symbolic.
  9. He is the first American Rector in the position’s history of 366 years. He received more than half of the 6560 votes and beat three competitors.
  10. He was honored with the first-ever “positive” award, named the “Julia and Winston Award” at German Big Brother Awards gala on April 11, 2014.
  11. He was ranked one among the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” in April 2014.
  12. Edward Joseph Snowden was born on June 21, 1983, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
  13. His father Lonnie Snowden was an officer in the Coast Guard and his mother, Elizabeth B. Snowden, is chief deputy at the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.
  14. His has an older sister, Jessica who works as a lawyer at the Federal Judicial Centre in Washington.
  15. His maternal grandfather, Edward J. Barrett, was a rear admiral in the United States Coast Guard. He later on became a senior official with the FBI and was in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, when it was struck by an airliner hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists.
  16. He scored above 145 on two separate IQ tests, for which his father was not at all surprised, as he said "We always considered Ed the smartest one in the family."
  17. His father describes Snowden as "a sensitive, caring young man" and "a deep thinker."
  18. While in grade school, in the early 1990’s, Snowden had to move to Maryland with his family.
  19. He happened to miss high school for around nine months due to Mononucleosis.
  20. However, he did not return to high school, but passed the GED test and Anne Arundel Community College.
  21. He does not have a bachelor’s degree, but worked online toward a master's degree at the University of Liverpool in 2011.
  22. His parents filed for divorce in the year 2001, after which his father remarried.
  23. He trained for 6 days in core Java programming and advanced ethical hacking, during his visit to India on official business at the U.S. embassy.
  24. He was enlisted in the U. S. Army Reserve as a Special Forces candidate on May 7, 2004. He was enlisted through the 18X enlistment option.
  25. However, he was discharged from the Army Reserve on September 28, 2004, without completing any training, after breaking both his legs.
  26. Two years after leaving Anne Arundel Community College, he joined as a security guard with National Security Guard.
  27. He attended a job fair focused on intelligence agencies in the year 2006, in which he was offered a position at Central Intelligence Agency.
  28. He was initially assigned to the global communications division at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
  29. He was later stationed in Geneva by the CIA, but left the job to work for private contractors including Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton in the year 2009.
  30. While working with Dell, he was transferred to Tokyo, Japan and later to Hawaii as a subcontractor in an NSA office.
  31. In his four years with Dell, he rose from supervising NSA computer system upgrades and a "cyberstrategist" and an "expert in cyber counterintelligence."
  32. He was reassigned to Hawaii, as lead technologist for the NSA's information-sharing office in March 2012.
  33. He left Dell and joined Booz Allen, another subcontractor, where he worked only for three months, before blowing the whistle.
  34. In May 2013, Snowden took the decision that changed his life forever and flew to Hong Kong with large store of documents containing vast information on NSA's domestic surveillance practices.
  35. He stated his medical condition of epilepsy as the reason for leave of absence from Booz Allen.
  36. By early June, he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill. However, it is said that he first contacted Greenwald, a journalist at The Guardian, in late 2012.
  37. In January 2013, he contacted documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, reportedly after seeing her New York Times documentary about NSA whistleblower William Binney.
  38. According to Greenwald, Snowden has disclosed over 9,000 to 10,000 documents.
  39. He was living with his girlfriend Lindsay Mills, whom he left behind when he took the flight to Hong Kong. The duo has been living together in Hawaii. However, Mills had no idea that he was about to disclose classified information to the public.
  40. He was charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence with an unauthorized person, by federal prosecutors on June 14, 2013. Each of these charges carries a maximum prison term of ten years.
  41. Snowden’s disclosures created great tension by October 2013, between the U. S. and some close allies that the NSA had spied on including Brazil, France, Britain, Germany, Mexico and Spain.
  42. Following this, he applied for political asylum to 21 countries including France, Poland, Brazil, Germany, Finland, India, Austria, Ecuador, Norway, Netherlands and Spain.
  43. He was granted temporary asylum in Russia for one year, after a period of 39 days in transit section.
  44. His Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, revealed that Snowden had got a website maintenance job at Russia's largest websites, but the identity of the site was refused to be shared due to security reasons.
  45. On August 7, 2014, his Russian lawyer announced that Snowden had received a three-year residency permit. This was exactly six days after his one-year temporary asylum expired.
  46. In February 2014, he joined the board of directors of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, co-founded by Daniel Ellsberg, in which journalists Greenwald and Poitras also sit on the board.
  47. A dramatic thriller, “Classified: The Edward Snowden Story,” was released on September 19, 2014, with actor Kevin Zegers playing the role of Edward Snowden, Michael Shanks as Glenn Greenwald and Carmen Aguirre as Laura Poitras.
  48. On October 10, 2014, “Citizenfour,” a documentary about Snowden, received its world premiere at the New York Film Festival. The film was released in the U.S. and Europe to positive reviews, and won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
  49. He opened a Twitter account, amassing over a million followers in just 24 hours on September 29, 2015. However, he followed only the NSA.
  50. On October 29, 2015, the European Parliament voted 285 to 281 for a non-binding resolution for EU states to drop criminal charges against Snowden and prevent his extradition by third parties.

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