Edward Snowden Net Worth
Edward Snowden has an estimated net worth of $1 million. Edward Snowden is a former National Security Agency subcontractor who made headlines in 2013 when he leaked top-secret information about NSA surveillance activities.
Snowden collected and leaked top-secret documents about the NSA’s domestic surveillance practices that he found disturbing. After he fled to Hong Kong, he met with journalists from the Guardian and filmmaker Laura Poitras.
Newspapers began printing the documents he leaked, many of which detail surveillance of American citizens. The U.S. has charged Snowden with violations of the Espionage Act, while many groups have called him a hero.
Snowden has found asylum in Russia and continues to speak out about his work. Citizenfour, a documentary by Laura Poitras about his story, won an Oscar in 2015. He is also the subject of Snowden, a 2016 biopic directed by Oliver Stone and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and has published his memoir, Permanent Record.
To calculate the net worth of Edward Snowden, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.
Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:
|Net Worth:||$1 Million|
|Monthly Salary:||$12 Thousand|
|Annual Income:||$300 Thousand|
|Source of Wealth:||Computer security consultant|
Family & Early Life
Snowden was born on June 21, 1983, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His mother works as the chief deputy clerk for administration and information technology for the federal court in Baltimore (the family moved to Maryland when Snowden was a child). Snowden’s father, a former Coast Guard officer, later remarried and moved to Pennsylvania.
Edward Snowden’s Education
Edward Snowden dropped out of high school to attend Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland, where he studied computers (from 1999 to 2001, and again from 2004 to 2005).
Between community college stints, Snowden spent four months in special-forces training in the Army Reserves from May to September 2004, but he did not complete his training.
According to Snowden, he was discharged from the Army after “breaking both his legs in a training accident.”
However, an unclassified report released on September 15, 2016 by the House Intelligence Committee refuted his claim, stating that “he claimed to have left Army basic training due to broken legs when in fact he washed out due to shin splints.”
Snowden eventually found work as a security guard at the Center for Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland. The organization had ties to the National Security Agency, and Snowden had taken a job in information technology at the Central Intelligence Agency by 2006.
After being accused of attempting to breach classified files in 2009, he left to work for private contractors such as Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton, a technology consulting firm.
He worked as a subcontractor in an NSA office in Japan before being transferred to an office in Hawaii while at Dell. He quickly transferred from Dell to Booz Allen, another NSA subcontractor, and stayed for only three months.
During his years of work for IT, Snowden had noticed the wide reach of the NSA’s everyday surveillance. While working for Booz Allen, Snowden began copying top-secret NSA documents and building a dossier of practices he found invasive and disturbing. The documents contained extensive information about the NSA’s domestic surveillance practices.
After compiling a large body of documents, Snowden informed his NSA supervisor that he needed to take a leave of absence for medical reasons because he had been diagnosed with epilepsy.
On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong, China, and remained there to arrange a secret meeting with journalists from the British newspaper The Guardian and filmmaker Laura Poitras.
On June 5, The Guardian published secret documents it had obtained from Snowden. In those documents, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court implemented an order requiring Verizon to provide the NSA with “ongoing and daily” information about the telephone activity of its American customers.
The following day, The Guardian and The Washington Post published Snowden’s leaked information via PRISM, an NSA program that enables real-time electronic intelligence collection. A flood of information followed, and debate ensued both domestically and internationally.
“I am willing to sacrifice [my former life] because I cannot in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy the privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties of people around the world with this massive surveillance machine that it is secretly building,” Snowden said in interviews given in his Hong Kong hotel room.
The fallout from his revelations became increasingly clear in the months that followed, including a legal battle over the NSA’s collection of phone data. President Obama sought to calm fears of government spying in January 2014 by directing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to review the country’s surveillance programs.
Charges Against Edward Snowden
The US government swiftly responded legally to Snowden’s disclosures. Snowden was charged with “theft of government property,” “unauthorized communication of national defense information,” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person” on June 14, 2013.
The last two charges are covered by the Espionage Act. Prior to President Barack Obama’s inauguration, the act had only been used for prosecution three times since 1917. As of June 2013, the act had been invoked seven times since President Obama took office.
While some branded Snowden a traitor, others backed his cause. Over 100,000 people signed an online petition requesting that President Obama pardon Snowden by late June 2013.
Exile in Russia
Snowden had been in hiding for a little more than a month. He intended to seek asylum in Ecuador, but during a stopover, he was stranded in a Russian airport for a month after the American government cancelled his passport. The Russian government has turned down US requests to extradite Snowden.
Snowden made headlines again in July 2013, when it was revealed that he had been offered asylum in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. Snowden quickly changed his mind, expressing a desire to remain in Russia.
Anatoly Kucherena, one of his lawyers, stated that Snowden would seek temporary asylum in Russia and then apply for citizenship. Snowden expressed gratitude to Russia for granting him asylum, saying that “in the end, the law wins.”
Snowden stated in October that he no longer possessed any of the NSA files that he had leaked to the press. He distributed the materials to the journalists with whom he met in Hong Kong, but he did not keep copies for himself.
According to The New York Times, Snowden explained that bringing the files to Russia “wouldn’t serve the public interest.” Lon Snowden, Snowden’s father, visited his son in Moscow around this time and continued to publicly express his support.
Snowden’s request for clemency to the US government was denied in November 2013.
Critic of Government Surveillance
Snowden has remained a divisive figure in exile and a critic of government surveillance. In March 2014, he appeared via teleconference at the popular South by Southwest festival. Around this time, the US military revealed that the information Snowden leaked could have cost the country billions of dollars in security.
Snowden gave an exclusive interview to NBC News in May 2014. He told Brian Williams that he was a trained spy who worked undercover for the CIA and NSA, which National Security Adviser Susan Rice denied in a CNN interview.
Snowden explained that he saw himself as a patriot, and that his actions were beneficial. He claimed that his information leak sparked “a robust public debate” and “new protections for our rights in the United States and abroad to ensure they are no longer violated.” He also expressed a desire to return to America.
In February 2015, Snowden appeared via video conference with Poitras and Greenwald. Snowden had a videoconference with Upper Canada College students earlier that month. “The problem with mass surveillance is that when you collect everything, you understand nothing,” he told them. He also stated that government spying “fundamentally alters the balance of power between citizen and state.”
Snowden joined the social media platform Twitter on September 29, 2015, tweeting “Can you hear me now?” In just over 24 hours, he had nearly two million followers.
Only a few days later, Snowden spoke via Skype to the New Hampshire Liberty Forum, stating that he would be willing to return to the United States if the government could guarantee a fair trial.
Edward Snowden Pardon Campaign
Snowden stated in an interview with The Guardian on September 13, 2016, that he would seek a pardon from President Obama. “Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists – for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page, but when we look at them morally, ethically, and in terms of results, it appears these were necessary, vital things,” he said in the interview.
The following day, several human rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, launched a campaign urging Obama to pardon Snowden.
Snowden, who appeared via telepresence robot, expressed gratitude for the assistance. “I adore my homeland. I adore my family “He stated. “I have no idea where we’re going from here. I’m not sure what tomorrow holds. But I’m glad I made the choices I did. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined such a show of support three years ago.”
He also emphasized that his case has an impact that extends beyond him. “This isn’t really about me,” he explained. “It’s all about us. It is about our right to disagree. It is about the kind of country we want.”
The House Intelligence Committee released a three-page unclassified summary of its two-year investigation into Snowden’s case on September 15. Snowden was described as a “disgruntled employee who had frequent conflicts with his managers,” a “serial exaggerator and fabricator,” and “not a whistleblower” in the summary.
“Snowden caused tremendous damage to national security, and the vast majority of the documents he stole have nothing to do with programs affecting individual privacy interests — instead, they pertain to military, defense, and intelligence programs of great interest to America’s adversaries,” according to the report’s summary.
Members of the committee also unanimously signed a letter to President Obama requesting that Snowden not be pardoned. “We urge you not to pardon Edward Snowden, who committed the largest and most damaging public disclosure of classified information in our country’s history,” the letter said. “If Mr. Snowden returns to Russia, from which he fled in 2013, the United States government must hold him accountable for his actions.”
“Their report is so artlessly distorted that it would be amusing if it weren’t such a serious act of bad faith,” Snowden responded on Twitter. He responded with a series of tweets debunking the committee’s claims, saying: “I could go on and on. Bottom line: the American people deserve better after “two years of investigation.” This report undercuts the committee.”
Snowden also tweeted that the committee’s summary was released in an attempt to discourage people from watching the biopic Snowden, which was released in the United States on September 16, 2016.
Edward Snowden and Donald Trump
Donald Trump tweeted in April 2014, well before becoming president, that Edward Snowden should be executed for the harm his leaks had caused the United States.
Following President Trump’s election, Snowden told viewers of a teleconference in Sweden in November 2016 that he was unconcerned about the government’s increased efforts to apprehend him.
“I don’t mind. Yes, Donald Trump has appointed a new director of the Central Intelligence Agency who uses me as an example to say that, look, dissidents should be executed.
But what if I get hit by a bus, a drone, or dropped out of an airplane tomorrow? “It doesn’t really matter to me because I believe in the decisions I’ve already made,” Snowden explained.
In a May 2017 open letter, Snowden joined 600 other activists in urging President Trump to drop the investigation and any potential charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for his role in classified intelligence leaks.
Movies on Edward Snowden
Snowden was featured in Laura Poitras’ critically acclaimed documentary Citizenfour in 2014. Her meetings with Snowden and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald were recorded by the director. In 2015, the film was nominated for an Academy Award. “When the decisions that govern us are made behind closed doors, we lose the ability to control and govern ourselves,” Poitras said during her acceptance speech.
Snowden, a biopic directed by Oliver Stone and starring Edward Snowden, was released in September 2016. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the lead, and Shailene Woodley plays his girlfriend Lindsay Mills.
Memoir: ‘Permanent Record’
Snowden returned to the headlines in September 2019 with the release of his memoir, Permanent Record. In it, he describes his disappointment with President Obama’s efforts to build on the far-reaching surveillance programs of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and details the events leading up to the fateful day in June 2013 when he revealed the secret documents that shook the intelligence community and changed his life forever.
On the same day his memoir was published, the Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit claiming Snowden had violated the nondisclosure agreements he signed with the federal government, entitling the Justice Department to all profits from book sales.
The suit also named the publisher, Macmillan, and asked the court to freeze the company’s assets related to the book to “ensure that no funds are transferred to Snowden or at his direction while the court resolves the United States’ claims.”
Edward Snowden’s Girlfriend
Lindsay Mills was one of the people Snowden left behind when he moved to Hong Kong to leak secret NSA files. They had been living together in Hawaii, and she had no idea he was about to reveal classified information to the public.
Mills graduated from Maryland’s Laurel High School in 2003 and the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2007. While living in Hawaii with Snowden, she began her career as a pole-dancing performance artist.
Mills appeared onstage with the Citizenfour documentary team for their Oscar acceptance speech in January 2015.
Snowden and Mills were reported to have married in September 2019.
Where Is Edward Snowden Now?
Edward Snowden was still living in Moscow, Russia, as of 2019. In February 2016, he stated that he would return to the United States in exchange for a fair trial.
Although Snowden remains in Russia, NBC News reported in February 2017 that the Russian government was considering handing him over to the US in order to curry favor with President Donald Trump.
Edward Snowden Quotes
I do agree that when it comes to cyber warfare, we have more to lose than any other nation on earth.
I would rather be without a state than without a voice.
I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.
If I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.
I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression.
I don’t see myself as a hero because what I’m doing is self-interested: I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.
I care more about the country than what happens to me. But we can’t allow the law to become a political weapon or agree to scare people away from standing up for their rights, no matter how good the deal. I’m not going to be part of that.
If an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc analyst has access to query raw SIGINT databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want. Phone number, email, user id, cell phone handset id (IMEI), and so on – it’s all the same.
View our larger collection of the best Edward Snowden quotes.
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