The name Edward Snowden, a former employee of the National Security Agency, is probably familiar to you.
ITV’s new documentary series Secrets of the Spies will cover the details associated with Edward Snowden and what he did to become an international pariah.
This episode explores the world of espionage and includes interviews with ex-spies, historians, and forensic experts to learn more about this mysterious topic. Episode 3 airs on 23 Aug and focuses on cyber spycraft and whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.
Where is Edward Snowden?
Since September 2020, Edward Snowden has been living in Russia as a permanent resident. After fleeing to Moscow, he was granted asylum in Moscow. He now lives in exile in Moscow.
Snowden has maintained a low profile in Russia where he lives together with his wife and their two children. He does occasionally criticize government policies on social media. He stated that he would return to the US if he was given a fair trial. In August 2020, US President Donald Trump announced that he was looking into a pardon for Snowden.
Snowden is the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. The non-profit organization ‘protects and defends public interest journalism’.
What was Edward Snowden’s job?
Edward Snowden released thousands of documents from the National Security Agency (NSA), detailing the mass surveillance of the public by the intelligence agency. He had been working for the NSA until he released the documents. That’s when he became a famous whistleblower.
Snowden downloaded the top-secret documents and said he needed to take some time off from work. He flew to Hong Kong in may 2013 to pick them up and pass them on to journalist Glenn Greenwald, Barton Gellman, and Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker.
Later, the board was awarded its medal of public service to The Washington Post & The Guardian for their articles about Snowden’s documents.
Snowden was traveling from Hong Kong to Ecuador, where he planned on applying for asylum. However, the US canceled Snowden’s passport and left him stranded in Russia.
What secrets was Edward Snowden able to leak?
Some details about a global surveillance program that was run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies including Britain’s GCHQ were revealed in the leaks.
Snowden’s leaks included data that showed the US was spying on foreign leaders, including allies like Angela Merkel. The NSA also had access to the accounts of US citizens on Google, Yahoo, and Facebook. The NSA also had other surveillance capabilities that allowed it to monitor internet activity across the globe.
These documents also provided details about a British surveillance program called Tempora that allowed GCHQ (Britain’s intelligence agency), to tap undersea fiber optic cables and collect large amounts of private internet data.
The NSA and CIA as well as GCHQ also spied on online gamers Second Life and World of Warcraft, as well as Xbox Live. They attempted to recruit informants.
Was Edward Snowden ever sent to prison?
Edward Snowden was not sent to prison. However, he could face criminal charges if the US returned him to the USA. He was charged by the Department of Justice with violating the 1917 Espionage Act. If convicted, he could spend up to 30 years prison.
More than 1 million people signed a petition asking Obama to pardon Snowden in 2017, the last weeks of Obama’s administration. The White House stated that he had not submitted any official documents to request clemency.
Edward Snowden’s wife, Lindsay Mills
Lindsay Mills, a dancer/acrobat, has been with Snowden since 2009. They were married in 2017, and Mills gave birth in 2020 to their first child.
In 2013, Snowden fled Hong Kong for good. He told Mills, who was in Hawaii at the moment, that he was on vacation. She remained in the US for a time without Snowden. But Citizenfour, a 2014 documentary by Citizenfour, revealed that Mills had been living with Snowden in Russia since July 2014. Mills was there to accept the Oscar for Best Documentary.
Mills posted to her Instagram in May 2022. The Snowden’s welcomed their second child.
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Putin gives Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden, a whistleblower in the United States
Vladimir Putin signed Monday’s decree granting Russian citizenship for Edward Snowden, a whistleblower in the United States.
Snowden, 39, is a former US intelligence contractor who has lived in Russia since 2013. He was able to avoid prosecution in the US because he leaked secret files published by the Guardian that revealed extensive domestic and international surveillance operations by the US National Security Agency.
Snowden stated that in 2020 he and his wife, who were then pregnant, applied for Russian citizenship to avoid being separated from their son in an age of closed borders and pandemics. He was granted permanent residency rights by Russia in the same year. This opened the door to Russian citizenship.
“After years spent apart from our parents, I don’t want to be separated from my wife and our children,” Snowden said Monday . His name was on a list 72 foreign-born people for whom Putin would grant citizenship. My family will benefit from a little stability after nearly ten years of exile and two years of waiting. I pray for their privacy and for us all.
Quickly, the decree by Putin to grant Snowden citizenship led to jokes on social media about how the whistleblower would soon be conscripted into Russia’s army to fight in Ukraine as part the country’s national mobilization campaign.
Margarita Simonyan (editor-in-chief at RT, the state-owned broadcaster) asked: “Will Snowden mobilize?”
Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s Russian lawyer, told Ria Novosti that her client couldn’t be drafted as he had never served in the Russian Armed Forces. According to the lawyer, Snowden’s wife Lindsay Mills was also applying for Russian citizenship.
While he is largely anonymous, the whistleblower posts photos of his Russian family occasionally while residing in Russia. In 2019, he stated that he would return to the US if there was a fair trial.
Snowden, who previously criticized the Kremlin for its human rights record, has not spoken out publicly about Ukraine’s invasion. He had previously voiced doubts about Russia starting a war and blamed the media for “pushing the conflict”.
“I’ve lost all confidence that sharing my thoughts on this topic continues to prove useful because it was wrong,” Snowden said on Twitter on February 27, three days after Russia sent troops to Ukraine.