Remember Edward Snowden, the CIA operative turned rogue informant, turned Russian teen heartthrob? He gave us such joy, helping us while away the dog days of summer with his international exploits. He bedded down in a Hong Kong luxury hotel before making his way to a Russian airport, where he lived in perpetuity before earning asylum into that country.
As Edward Snowden settles in for the long Russian winter, he is causing controversy in the United States once more. New allegations bring to light questions about whether or not the CIA knew there was cause for concern regarding Snowden as far back as 2009. A new report indicates that while working for the CIA, Snowden was formally reprimanded by a superior when he was suspected of trying to break into unauthorized computers.
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The New York Times reports, “His supervisor wrote a derogatory report in his personnel file, noting a distinct change in the young man’s behavior and work habits, as well as a troubling suspicion.”
The report was placed into Snowden’s personnel file, but it went unheeded. Eventually Snowden ended up working as an NSA contractor. Four years later, he fled the United States, leaking thousands of classified documents in the wake of one of the biggest whistle-blower scandals in U.S. history.
Snowden, who now makes his home in Moscow, had not made a public appearance since being granted asylum by Russia over the summer. However, he ventured out earlier this week, meeting with four American whistle-blowers, who gave him the Sam Adams award for integrity in intelligence. The prize is given annually and is decided upon by a group of retired CIA officers.
One member of the four whistle-blowers, Jeselyn Radack said in a TV interview that Snowden appeared “very centered and brilliant,” she said. “Smart, funny, very engaged. I thought he looked very well.”
Regarding whether or not Snowden regretted his actions, another member of the party said in the same interview, “He’s made his peace with what he did. He’s convinced that what he did was right. He has no regrets. And he’s willing to face whatever the future holds for him.”
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There is an ongoing criminal investigation into the actions of Snowden to realize the depth and scope of his actions, and what warning signs there may have been, like the report from his supervisor at the CIA, which could have been used to prevent Snowden’s access to top secret documents. According to the Times, “There were other signs that have since drawn investigators’ attention. In early 2009, someone using Mr. Snowden’s screen name expressed outrage at government officials who leaked information to the news media, telling a friend in an Internet chat that leakers ‘should be shot.'”
It has been a big week for Snowden. On Thursday, his father arrived in Moscow to see him for the first time. A rendezvous for the two had not yet been established, but the elder Snowden had previously been assured that there would be no complication in arranging a meeting with his son.