Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden is on the run. He is currently seeking refuge in Russia, the only county in Europe that would take him in. His crime is leaking information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in America. He is "an enemy of the state", and the U.S. government revoked his passport, making it impossible for him to leave Russia. But what did he actually do?

In 2006 Edward Snowden started working for the CIA, as a systems administrator and telecommunications system officer. Snowden has stated that this was not the world's most exiting job, so he quit in 2009 and became a contractor at a private company inside the NSA. Here he was one of the 1000 "sysadmins" allowed to look at many parts of the system without leaving electronic traces. This allowed him to obtain lots of valuable information he sooner would leak to the world. Early in 2013 came the big leak. 1.7 million sensitive files from the NSA went with Snowden when he met with journalists Glenn Greenwald and Lauren Poitras in Hong Kong. He gave his permission for them to publish his name, and soon after the US federal government charged him with espionage. In the leaked documents there was information on several global surveillance programs. Combined these programs could access almost all wireless devices, phone calls, emails and so on. This means that the NSA has trillions of bites of information about people, their whereabouts, their data traffic and internet usage.

Although Snowden is classified as a criminal, he has still been called a hero. The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, claimed he was a hero. In an exclusive interview Snowden said he did what he needed to do, and is not afraid for his life. Because even though he is counted as a hero by some, he does have a few enemies. There have been government officials who have said they would be glad to see him dead. The NSA and their contractors have obtained a substantial amount of information on people from different countries as well as the US. In the interview Snowden states he cannot say whether or not they share this information with these countries, but it does seem like he knows. He also states that the government is more focused on catching the messenger instead of focusing on the leaked information.

 

President Obama says that Snowden should return to the United States and face court with a lawyer to defend himself. Snowden retaliates, saying the charges they have charged him with do not allow him to defend himself properly. All in all he has done something against the law, and fled the country, so in my opinion he should be punished if he returns, but I do think the government is being a bit harsh charging him with espionage, as he is not using the information to hurt or take anyone down, he is simply doing it for the benefit of the people.    

 

 

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