DATE OF BIRTH
June 21, 1983
Elizabeth City, N.C.
The Indypendent’s Whistleblower Poster Series
This is the first in a series of four posters featuring whistleblowers who have taken great risks to expose the crimes and the misdeeds of our government.
WHAT HE LEAKED
Snowden provided internal NSA documents to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald detailing a previously undisclosed program, PRISM, which gives the agency “direct access” to data held by Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and other U.S. internet giants. Snowden also disclosed a secret court order showing the U.S. government had forced Verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of Americans. Furthermore, Snowden’s leaks have revealed massive U.S. surveillance of millions of people’s phone and internet activity in countries around the world, including allies in Europe and Latin America.
In a January 2010 poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, the U.S. public said by a 63-25 margin that the government didn’t go far enough in restricting civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism efforts. In the wake of Snowden’s leaks, a new poll by Quinnipiac shows respondents now believe by a 45-40 margin that the government goes too far in restricting civil liberties.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
“In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material — and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago.”
— Daniel Ellsberg, Author of the Pentagon Papers
IN HIS OWN WORDS
“I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act.”
“At this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from…omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents.”
Snowden was charged with three felonies in June: theft of government property and two charges of violating the Espionage Act. He faces up to 30 years in prison.
After initially fleeing to Hong Kong, since June 23 Snowden has been stranded in a transit zone in a Moscow airport with a revoked U.S. passport. Three countries — Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua — have offered him political asylum. The U.S. has threatened dire consequences for any country that shelters Snowden.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more surveillance state coverage, see:
Glenn Greenwald Reflects on Meeting Snowden, by Glenn Greenwald
As the NSA Follows You, We Follow the Money, by Emily Masters
Avoiding Online Surveillance: Tips & Tricks, by Tactical Tech Team
Under the Gaze, by Nicholas Powers
For a PDF version of this issue, click here.