Here is a look at the life of Edward Snowden, who admitted to leaking information about US surveillance programs to the press.
Birth date: June 21, 1983
Birth place: Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Birth name: Edward Joseph Snowden
Father: Lonnie Snowden, former Coast Guard officer
Mother: Elizabeth Snowden, federal court administrator
Marriage: Lindsay Mills (2017-present)
Children: with Lindsay Mills: two children
Dropped out of high school.
The Guardian reported that in 2009, Snowden got the first of several jobs with private contractors that worked with the National Security Agency (NSA).
May 7, 2004 – Enlists in the Army Reserve as a Special Forces candidate.
September 28, 2004 – Is discharged from the Army Reserve without completing any training.
2013 – Works for Booz Allen Hamilton for less than three months, assigned to a team in Hawaii. Snowden is terminated on June 10, 2013.
May 16, 2013 – Snowden has his first direct exchange with Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman.
May 20, 2013 – Snowden leaves for Hong Kong.
May 24, 2013 – In an email to Gellman, Snowden requests that the Post publish information about PRISM, a surveillance program that gathers information from Facebook, Microsoft, Google and others.
June 5, 2013 – The Guardian reports that the US government has obtained a secret court order that requires Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of Americans to the NSA.
June 6, 2013 – The Guardian and the Washington Post disclose the existence of PRISM, a program they say allows the NSA to extract the details of customer activities – including “audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents” and other materials – from computers at Microsoft, Google, Apple and other Internet companies.
June 9, 2013 – The Guardian and Washington Post disclose Snowden as their source for the intelligence related leaks.
June 9, 2013 – Booz Allen Hamilton releases a statement confirming that Snowden has been an employee of their firm for almost three months.
June 12, 2013 – The South China Morning Post publishes an interview with Snowden in which he says that US intelligence agents have been hacking networks around the world for years.
June 17, 2013 – During a live online chat, the person identified as Snowden by Britain’s Guardian newspaper insists that US authorities have access to phone calls, emails and other communications far beyond constitutional bounds.
June 18, 2013 – Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce details how the PRISM program has helped stop several alleged terrorist attacks.
June 21, 2013 – Federal prosecutors unseal a complaint filed in US District Court in Virginia on June 14, 2013, charging Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.
June 22, 2013 – A senior US administration official says the United States has contacted authorities in Hong Kong to seek the extradition of Snowden.
June 23, 2013 – Snowden flies to Moscow from Hong Kong. Russian President Vladimir Putin later verifies that Snowden is in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport.
June 23, 2013 – A source tells CNN that the US government has revoked Snowden’s passport.
June 30, 2013 – German news magazine Der Spiegel reports that classified leaks by Snowden detail NSA bugging of European Union offices in Washington and New York, as well as an EU building in Brussels.
July 12, 2013 – Snowden meets with human rights activists and lawyers. He says he is requesting asylum from Russia while he awaits safe passage to Latin America.
July 16, 2013 – Snowden’s Russian attorney, Anatoly Kucherena, tells CNN that Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia. If his request is granted, he would be able to live in Russia for at least a year.
July 24, 2013 – Russian news media reports that Russia has approved documents that would allow Snowden to enter the rest of the country while his temporary asylum request is considered.
August 1, 2013 – Kucherena tells CNN that Snowden’s application for political asylum for a year has been approved and he has left the Moscow airport.
October 31, 2013 – Kucherena tells CNN that his client has been hired by an unnamed Russian website.
November 3, 2013 – A letter, purportedly written by Snowden, is published in the German magazine Der Spiegel. The letter, titled “A Manifesto for the Truth” says, “mass surveillance is a global problem and needs a global solution.”
December 17, 2013 – Snowden posts an open letter to Brazil, offering to help investigate US surveillance of Brazilian citizens.
January 23, 2014 – Attorney General Eric Holder says, “If Mr. Snowden wanted to come back to the United States and enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers.” Snowden says in an online chat the same day that, “(a return to the US is) unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistle-blower protection laws.”
March 10, 2014 – Snowden speaks via teleconference from Russia to an audience of thousands at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, urging the audience to help “fix” the US government’s surveillance of its citizens. The event marks the first time Snowden has directly addressed people in the United States since he fled the country with thousands of secret documents last June.
May 28, 2014 – NBC News airs an interview with Snowden in which he claims, “I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word – in that I lived and worked undercover, overseas, pretending to work in a job that I’m not – and even being assigned a name that was not mine.” In an interview with Wolf Blitzer, NSA Adviser Susan Rice denies that Snowden was ever a US spy.
August 7, 2014 – Snowden’s attorney announces that he has been granted an extension to stay in Russia for three more years.
February 23, 2015 – NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers says that Snowden’s surveillance leaks have had a “material impact” on the agency’s ability to prevent and detect terror plots.
June 4, 2015 – In response to President Barack Obama signing the USA Freedom Act that will limit our nation’s surveillance on private citizens, Snowden writes an op-ed for The New York Times saying, “ending the mass surveillance of private phone calls under the Patriot Act is a historic victory for the rights of every citizen…”
July 28, 2015 – The White House rejects a petition to pardon Snowden and maintains its position that Snowden should return to the United States. The petition contains over 167,000 signatures supporting Snowden.
September 29, 2015 – Snowden joins Twitter and gains over 110,000 followers in less than an hour after posting his first tweet.
October 5, 2015 – According to Snowden, he is willing to go to prison if he is permitted to return to the United States. Snowden and his lawyers wait to discuss a deal with the US government.
May 30, 2016 – Holder says Snowden performed a “public service” by triggering a debate over surveillance techniques, but still must pay a penalty for illegally leaking a trove of classified intelligence documents.
September 16, 2016 – The film “Snowden,” directed by Oliver Stone, opens in US theaters.
December 22, 2016 – Congress releases a report saying Snowden has been in contact with Russian intelligence officials since arriving in Russia. Snowden immediately takes to Twitter following the report’s release to dispute the accusations, writing “they claim without evidence that I’m in cahoots with the Russians.”
January 17, 2017 – Russia extends Snowden’s asylum until 2020.
September 17, 2019 – Snowden’s memoir, “Permanent Record,” is published.
September 17, 2019 – The US Justice Department sues Snowden for allegedly breaking contracts he signed with the CIA and NSA from 2005 to 2013. The lawsuit claims Snowden should have submitted any of his writings for agency review before publication if they included intelligence information and that he needed written approval from the agencies before he could publish.
April 16, 2020 – Kucherena tells Russia’s TASS news agency that Snowden has filed a request to extend his residency permit in Russia for three more years.
September 18, 2020 – According to court records, Snowden agrees to forfeit to the US government more than $5 million he earned from his book and speaking fees. In the agreement, Snowden says he still wants the ability to appeal the judge’s earlier decision against him.
October 22, 2020 – Snowden has been given permanent residency in Russia, his lawyer tells state-run news agency RIA Novosti.
November 2, 2020 – Snowden announces that he and his wife are applying for Russian citizenship while also keeping their US nationalities.