Edward Snowden Has Twitter and He’s Not Backing Down

Above: Fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has opened up a Twitter account
Above: Fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has opened up a Twitter account

In 2013, former CIA and NSA employee, Edward Snowden, leaked confidential documents revealing details of global surveillance programs run by the United States government. One program called PRISM allowed the government to monitor American’s online communication through email and instant messaging services. Another gave them access to the daily phone records of millions of people.

It was even revealed that the NSA was tracking the online sexual activity of people they considered “radicalizers” in order to collect information they could later use to discredit them. Snowden revealed that even though the NSA would say they were only spying to protect national security, in reality they were collecting all the information they could get their hands on. Information that had nothing to do with national security now, and never would.

Needless to say, the allegations that the NSA was watching everything everyone in the country did were not taken lightly. Snowden was charged with theft of government property and two counts of violating the Espionage Act. He left the U.S and sought asylum in Russia, which is where he is now. He has the choice to come back to the U.S and face the charges against him, or apply for permanent residency in Russia.

Snowden has been called everything from a traitor to a hero. He believes he did the right thing by revealing NSA secrets, because the American people deserve to know they are being spied on. Obviously the U.S government doesn’t agree, which is why, according to Snowden, they have charged him with crimes that won’t allow him to explain himself to a jury and convince them what he did was in their best interest. They just want to sweep him under the rug as a traitor and be done with it.

But Snowden has no intention of laying low. Yesterday he signed up for a Twitter account, and his first tweet was “Can you hear me now?” He already has over a million followers but he only follows one account— the NSA. Kind of poetic, really. Clearly, a lot of people are interested in what he has to say, and believe in what he’s doing.

He’s currently on Board of Directors for the Freedom of the Press Foundation which according to their website is a non-profit organization “dedicated to helping support and defend public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government.” They support the type of journalism that aims to keep the public informed on what the government is doing behind closed doors. They support whistleblowers who come forward despite the risk of prosecution, and aren’t afraid to tell the truth.

We’ll never know every corrupt thing the government does behind all our backs, but at least Snowden and his supporters are trying to shed some light on some of it. He’s acknowledged that in the past whistleblowers have been “destroyed by the experience,” but he would like to “embolden others to step forward” by demonstrating that “they can win.” Real life doesn’t have to be like a season of House of Cards where the journalist is silenced using any method possible, the public remains blissfully unaware, and a couple corrupt politicians continue to rule the world.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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