In graphic novel form, this book examines the life and inspiration of Edward Snowden, among the most famous, or infamous, people on the planet.
Snowden grew up in Maryland, just a few miles from the headquarters of the National Security Agency, or NSA. It was the sort of community in which one learns not to ask their neighbor, or their partner, just what they do for a living; it is probably secret. An attempt to join the Army after 9/11 was not successful. As a CIA employee, he had been stationed for a time in Switzerland. He was exposed to other systems of values, and started to wonder if America was really the”good guys.”
He left the CIA, and combined the NSA, eventually becoming a systems administrator, or sysadmin. He spent some time in Japan, which further removed any notion that America was on the side of the angels. As a sysadmin, he had access to all sorts of classified files that detailed America’s surveillance plans. Whenever he had an opportunity, he downloaded file onto flash drives.
Here are a few examples. An NSA program called”Captivated Audience” lets them track you through your smartphone and listen to conversations in your home, even if the telephone is Off. “Gumfish” allows the NSA to take a picture of you, at any time, using the camera in your notebook. Smart TVs, the ones that allow streaming of web content, possess a camera that the government can trigger at any time to watch anyone (like the telescreens in Orwell’s”1984″).
Now working in Honolulu for an NSA contractor, one afternoon Snowden jumped a cab to the airport with his flash drives. His next stop was Hong Kong where he leaked his advice to a few journalists. Following the global bombshell, he had been planning to fly to Latin America to request asylum. While in the air, his passport was revoked. He also knew that if he flew through the airspace of a US ally, the ally would force the plane to land. Snowden would be arrested, handed over to American authorities and”disappeared” (such as Bradley/Chelsea Manning). Snowden got up to Moscow, where he remains today.
Say what you will about Edward Snowden (he’s a hero or he is a traitor), this is an excellent, and very easy to read, look at why he did what he did. It’s very highly recommended.