Edward J. Snowden (Born June 21, 1983) is an American IT specialist and a former employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton (a contractor for the National Security Agency). In June 2013 Snowden revealed the mass domestic surveillance program known as "PRISM,". This is an internet snooping program run by the National Security Agency after passage of the Patriot Act and Amendments. He explained to shocked Americans that the National Security Agency had in effect built a dossier on every man, woman and child in the United States of America, and probably beyond borders.
Snowden told an interviewer,
|“I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the president if I had a personal e-mail.|
It’s getting to the point you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you have ever made.”
Training materials provided by Snowden for XKeyscore program detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous NSA databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed. The program covers "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet", including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata. Under US law, the NSA is required to obtain an individualized FISA warrant only if the target of their surveillance is a 'US person', though no such warrant is required for intercepting the communications of Americans with foreign targets. But XKeyscore provides the technological capability, if not the legal authority, to target even US persons for extensive electronic surveillance without a warrant provided that some identifying information, such as their email or IP address, is known.
Flight and exile
After leaking the information in question, Snowden stayed in Hong Kong for a while; he then left China and went to Russia en route to seeking asylum in Ecuador. Snowden was apparently travelling on a passport that had been revoked. The Wikileaks organization has helped Snowden to stay ahead of Obama's grasp. The president of Ecuador Rafael Correa explained that Snowden cannot go to Ecuador. At one point, Obama had Evo Morales, the prime minister of Bolivia detained in an inept attempt to intercept Snowden. As of July 6, 2013, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had offered asylum to Snowden.
Snowden is a Libertarian and a Buddhist. Although he has claimed to have fought for freedom of speech, he nonetheless ignored that Ecuador was also practicing massive surveillance measures. He was alleged to be a Russian agent. Thereup on Russian government granted Snowden asylum for three years in Russia. In addition, the left wing professor and Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers on March 12, 2016, when tweeting his dining room altar of revolutionary heroes (many of which included the likes of Vladimir Lenin, Malcolm X, Karl Marx and Che Guevara), included a picture of Snowden that thanked him.
John Boehner called Snowden a "traitor" who committed a "giant violation of the law" that put Americans at risk. Numerous other high-ranking officials have hawkishly demanded his extradition from the People's Republic of China. From China, however, reactions have been supportive, with calls by politicians, and various civil liberties organizations, to implore Beijing to block extradition attempts, on grounds of national security.
While many blasted Snowden, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and one of the chamber's most conservative members, said, "it's going to be an open question how this young man is judged." "If he goes to an independent third country like Iceland and if he refuses to talk to any sort of formal government about this, I think there's a chance that he'll be seen as an advocate of privacy." 
Snowden told the British left wing newspaper The Guardian:
- "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
The Washington Post quotes him as saying:
- "Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest."
- Obama neglected most other issues, notably the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, in his pursuit of the young man.
- "US revokes NSA leaker Edward Snowden's passport, as he reportedly seeks asylum in Ecuador," Fox News, 23 June 2013
- "With WikiLeaks' Help, NSA Leaker Snowden Seeks Asylum Interested Ecuador Via Moscow," Forbes, 23 June 2013
- Boehner describes NSA leaker as 'traitor'
- Meet the NSA leaker, Human Events
- Edward Snowden comes forward as source of NSA leaks, Washington Post