Edward Snowden

On this date in 1983, Edward Snowden was born in Wilmington, North Carolina. Snowden is known for leaking highly classified information from the National Security Agency, where he worked, to the press in June 2013. Snowden did not receive a complete formal education. He dropped out of high school and later out of Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland, where he studied computer science.

He taught himself computer science, information technology, politics and Japanese and Chinese culture and language and earned his GED. He briefly joined the U.S Army, where he listed himself as Buddhist because agnostic was not an option, according to his own web posting.

Beginning in 2006, Snowden started working on-and-off for the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, receiving top-security clearance. In May 2013 he left the U.S for Hong Kong and less than a month later was fired from the NSA for leaking classified information to The Guardian and Washington Post. Snowden later was granted asylum in Russia.

Some see him as a whistleblower, exposing many of the post-9/11 laws and the politicians who passed them for compromising Americans’ freedom and privacy. Others view Snowden as a traitor who jeopardized national security by revealing confidential information.

Photo: Snowden in the 2013 film “Praxis.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation