On this episode of the Resistance Library, Dan and Sam discuss Edward Snowden. He might not yet be a historical figure, but he certainly is a hero. He is the whistleblower of all whistleblowers, the American who blew the lid off of Washington’s spying on private citizens. But Snowden’s leak revealed that it’s not just the U.S. government that is spying on virtually every American – big American telecommunications companies are also helping them to spy as well.

While often thought of as little more than a computer geek, Snowden is in fact a former Army Reserve member and even signed up for special forces training. However, he broke both of his legs in a training accident and was discharged soon afterward. His motivation for joining the military was not to avenge the 9/11 attacks, but specifically the invasion of Iraq and a desire to liberate oppressed peoples in the country. He enlisted in April 2004, and was discharged in September of that year.

In 2005, he then worked at the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language as a security guard. While a training ground for the National Security Agency (NSA), this is not a classified facility. However, Snowden did have to obtain a security clearance to work here. In 2006, he accepted a job with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after speaking to them at a job fair. Known as a “computer wizard,” he lived in a hotel room while he completed his training.

His first CIA assignment took place under diplomatic cover in Geneva, in March 2007. He claims that while there, he saw agents get a Swiss banker drunk, then had him arrested when he drove home. The CIA then, according to Snowden, offered to help him out in exchange for him becoming an informant. These claims are obviously disputed by the CIA.

He then worked for Dell starting in 2009, as an NSA subcontractor, where he was known as a “genius among geniuses.” His time there mainly involved training employees on how to protect data from Chinese hackers.

It was during his time at Dell that Snowden began to become disillusioned with his work.

“I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom, and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building… the NSA specifically targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default… they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them.” -Edward Snowden

Have a listen to hear more about the impact Snowden had and you can read Sam’s full article “Edward Snowden: The Untold Story of How One Patriotic American Exposed NSA Surveillance” at Ammo.com.

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Helpful Links:

Edward Snowden: The Untold Story of How One Patriotic American Exposed NSA Surveillance
Resistance Library
Sam Jacobs