Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old who worked as an analyst for the National Security Agency (NSA) has been called a criminal, a coward, and a traitor who betrayed his country. He ‘disappeared’ in Hong Kong after leaking details of a secret Internet and telephone surveillance program in the US. Many wanted him to be caught and sent back to the United States to face a trial.
The Snowden family had a long history of military service dating all the way back to Colonial times. Their patriotism was deeply rooted and quite apparent in their everyday lives. Edward had an impressive career in the intelligence community and by the age of 27 he had gained access to its deepest secrets. It was then that he made what some have called an ‘arrogant ‘ decision.
It all began when he came across some disturbing information about the way in which the US government went about gathering, processing, and distributing information. Snowden discovered that anybody is the United States was vulnerable to the loss of privacy under the pretense of preventing terrorism. The rights of an entire nation were being violated and the most senior officials were secretly acting against the interest of the public without a law to justify their actions.
From Hong Kong, Snowden contacted some journalists he believed he could trust. On that occasion, he carried in his backpack over a million top secret NSA documents. The journalists traveled from New York to a hotel in Hong Kong where a secret meeting with an unpredictable outcome would be held.
The journalists had no idea who they would be meeting, and Edward Snowden was well aware that he could be led out of the place in handcuffs. These documents were so sensitive that he was running the risk of decades of imprisonment or even death. He was presenting evidence of serious crimes that had been committed by the Intelligence Agency.
The journalists published their first story without naming their source, but as the stories began to appear, the NSA eventually figured out who was leaking the information. Snowden then presented himself as the whistleblower and set off a game of ‘catch me if you can’ with the US government and a ‘where is he now’ guessing game with the media. Everybody seemed desperate to find Snowden for their own selfish reasons.
The government of the United States then used all the available technology and resources to search for Snowden. This was the biggest loss of secrets in US history and the government was willing to do whatever it could to get him and the materials back before any more harm could be done. They staged the largest manhunt the world had ever seen and it seemed inevitable that Snowden would be smashed.
Some call him a traitor and others call him a hero.