News / USA

Edward Snowden: High School Dropout to Intelligence Consultant

VOA News
A 29-year-old American man who claims to have exposed top secret U.S. surveillance programs appears to be a high school dropout who rapidly moved through U.S. intelligence circles.

Edward Snowden grew up in North Carolina and Maryland. In an interview with British newspaper The Guardian, he said he never completed high school, but studied computing at a Maryland community college and obtained a General Educational Development diploma.

Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
x
Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
The Guardian quoted the U.S. military as saying Snowden enlisted in the army reserve as a special forces recruit in May 2004 but did not complete the training and was discharged four months later.

Snowden told the paper that his military career was cut short after he "broke both his legs in a training accident."

The Guardian said Snowden got his first job as a security guard for the U.S. National Security Agency, or NSA, which assigned him to a covert facility at the University of Maryland.

The paper said Snowden's talent for computer programming helped him to move on to a job with the Central Intelligence Agency as an Information Technology security specialist. It says the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland by 2007. The CIA generally refuses to confirm or deny employment with the agency.

Snowden told the paper that he left the CIA in 2009 and took on several jobs as a private contractor for the NSA, including assignments at the computer company Dell and a U.S. military facility in Japan.

U.S. defense consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton said it hired Snowden earlier this year at an office in Hawaii. It said he had been employed for less than three months when he told reporters that he was the source of leaks on the U.S. surveillance programs.

The company expressed shock at the revelations and said that if confirmed, Snowden's actions represent "a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm."

Neighbors said Snowden lived in a house near Honolulu for several months, sharing it with his girlfriend. They say he kept largely to himself and stored an usually large number of boxes in his garage.

The Guardian said Snowden is an Internet freedom advocate, placing stickers on his laptop bearing the names of groups such the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tor Project.

It also quoted him as saying voted for a "third party" candidate in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Snowden says he believed in the promises of President Barack Obama, who won that election, and waited to see how Mr. Obama would govern before exposing the secret programs.

Snowden said he eventually disclosed the information in part because Mr. Obama, in his view, "continu[ed] the policies of his predecessor."

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: oldlamb from: China
June 15, 2013 1:25 AM
I don't know US' governent and media hwo to accuse China's hacking into Pentagon and human right after US's false appearance was dismantled.


by: nn
June 13, 2013 2:34 AM
But then if you are not a criminal and you know it they won't wire tap you. They are NOT watching everyone's activity in this country, paranoid people. Facebook and Google are doing that.


by: Anonymous
June 12, 2013 11:16 PM
USA government should not use monitoring system to control to abroad of US peoples in internet. and then if USA government use that system to censor to monitoring others countries of ally people's in cyber worlds example japan or korea or taiwan even europe. we're fear and worries the profile of personal information be leak from USA internet of provider company


by: steve from: not the USA thankfully
June 11, 2013 5:59 PM
ah yes the smear campaign has begun to take away from the REAL discussion on how the NSA SPIED on US and International Citizens in violation of their own constitution. The people who should be on trial are those who set up this system. Who needs the Taliban when you have your own government to screw you over under the pretense of protecting you from terrorism. Your country has become a joke and any one who supports the actions of this and the former government should be hanging their heads in shame. You disgust me.


by: Keith Rushing
June 11, 2013 5:44 PM
'm watching the news, and this so called "hero, whistle blower" chump Edward Snowden, age 29, is a high school dropout, discharged form the military after 5 months, worked at the CIA and then for a private company at NSA. An IT expert? Stated he "had the authority to wiretap, "judges, even the President with a personal email address." (grandiosity) Any basic job such as he claims has a purview and parameters limited by a jurisdiction. The NSA flow-chart he allegedly disseminated betrays nor reveals absolutely anything exactly that isn't presumed by foreign Intel. Nevertheless it is stipulated as "classified information." and meets the criteria for treason. This is a classic misinformation campaign feebly constructed in the timely wake of hacking disclosures by the Chinese military. The constitution of the United States is an anachronistic document. There are some really sick and diabolical people in this era. Every avenue of available investigative resource is now folded into an aggrandized apparatus that by its very structure, is so heavily compartmentalized, that no single person or entity can fully comprehend nor compromise it.


by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
June 11, 2013 7:50 AM
Putting down High School dropouts? Add to your list Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, and Ray Kroc to name a few.

In Response

by: Alex from: Kyle tx
June 14, 2013 10:51 AM
Those HS dropouts you mention made/are making positive contributions to society. Conversely, Snowden has the IT skills of the adolescent hackers of the Pentagon computers and their immature, irresponsible character. He is a traitor by all means - he is looking to deflect to China, who's government has always denied basic human rights to IT's OWN Citizens!


by: Greg from: Kansas
June 10, 2013 8:18 PM
I am totally puzzled that a young man with a GED diploma and some community college can go to work for the CIA, NSA, and get a job making $200K with Booz Allen Hamilton.

In Response

by: James from: New England
June 11, 2013 6:22 PM
Many programmers are self taught, some of the best ones are self taught. If you're a good programmer you can get an amazing job. I'm not going to assume he was unqualified just because he was uneducated.

In Response

by: BK
June 11, 2013 6:39 AM
He is one of those rejects that just does not belong, or deserve his position. Government is full of them.

In Response

by: Scott
June 11, 2013 5:52 AM
Education has nothing to do with I.Q. If you've got it, you've got it.

In Response

by: Frederic Mulika from: Marietta
June 10, 2013 11:59 PM
US is gave this man chance in his career, but he let his country down


by: Edward Penny from: England
June 10, 2013 4:08 PM
Put him on trial and let the justice system do its work, Just think Bradley Manning will have a new playmate

In Response

by: francis from: leibnitz
June 11, 2013 9:27 AM
is education really the final leveller?

In Response

by: OshyLike from: Albany
June 11, 2013 8:55 AM
The guy lacked certain aspect of epistemology. Education inputs universality. His case is like a technician who is not an engineer. His skill did not make him an Enterpreneur but an employee. His deficiency of certain aspect of knowledge and finding himeslf in a position that made him earn so much as an employee, probably made him to spill the beans and violates his oath of engagement. If he is an enterpreneur like Richard Brandson et al, he will not ruin his business.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid