Study Notes

Edward Snowden

Level:
A-Level
Board:
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Edward Snowden was a former contractor to the National Security Agency who leaked classified information about the extent of global surveillance programmes.

Snowden leaked the details of surveillance being carried out by the US Government, European Governments and Telecommunication companies in June 2013. The material was leaked to the Guardian and Washington Post.

The US Department of Justice sought to charge Snowden with two violations of the Espionage Act and the theft of government property. However, the US have faced significant difficulties in charged Snowden. The US Department of Justice tried to extradite him from Hong Kong where he had fled, but this attempt was denied over inconsistencies in the paper work. From this point, Snowden claimed asylum in Russia where he resides to this day.

Snowden is a divisive figure with some calling him a hero and patriot, whilst others call him a dissident and traitor.

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