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At age 20, he listed Buddhism as his religion on a military recruitment form, noting that the choice of Agnostic was "strangely absent." Snowden has said that in the 2008 presidential election, he voted for a third-party candidate.
He has stated that he had been planning to comment on NSA surveillance programs at the time, but he decided to wait because he "believed in Obama's promises." He was later disappointed with President Barack Obama, saying that his policies were a continuation of those espoused by George W. A week after publication of his leaks began, technology news provider Ars Technica confirmed that Snowden had been an active participant at the site's online forum from 2001 through May 2012, discussing a variety of topics under the pseudonym "The True HOOHA".
Or was it a relatively instantaneous sea change that sneaked in undetected because of pervasive government secrecy?In 2013, Snowden was hired by an NSA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, after previous employment with Dell and the CIA.On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen Mac Askill." In accounts published in June 2013, interviewers noted that Snowden's laptop displayed stickers supporting Internet freedom organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Tor Project.
Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property.
Further disclosures were made by other newspapers including Der Spiegel and The New York Times. A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a patriot and a traitor.