Edward Snowden is an American computer specialist and former contractor for the National Security Agency. He made headlines with his disclosure of classified information on global surveillance by the NSA in 2013.
Edward Snowden has been called a hero, a traitor, a patriot and a dissident. His disclosure of classified documents detailing the extent of digital espionage by the NSA to several international media outlets was one of the most significant leaks in US history. Around the world, governments and citizen activists responded in outrage to the news that a US spy agency had monitored and collected telephone and Internet metadata on their citizens and political leaders. The issue of data protection rose to the forefront of political discussions, particularly in Germany where relations with the US were particularly tense following news that Chancellor Angela Merkel's smartphone had been tapped. DW has been covering the fallout of the leaks, Snowden's request for asylum, the protection of whistleblowers and Internet security since the news first broke in June 2013.
The intelligence agencies issued a joint statement saying the hacking was for the purpose of "intelligence gathering," rather than an attempt to disrupt operations. President Trump had previously placed blame on China.