With just over 20,000 inhabitants, the small town of Elizabeth City is considered one of the best places to live on the East Coast of the United States and could be the ideal destination to rest after a life of work. It might have remained a lost point on the map, if it weren’t for Edward Snowden making it popular around the world nearly a decade ago.
In June 2013, shortly before his 30th birthday, technology consultant Edward Joseph Snowden shook the world by leaking through the newspapers The Guardian Y The Washington Post, classified as top secret documents on various programs of the main security agencies in the United States.
Snowden was born on June 21, 1983 in Elizabeth city. One of its few attractions is the Pasquotank River and the Coast Guard post, where Snowden’s father worked. This closeness to the military world led him to enlist in the Army in 2004, but it only lasted five months, since he was discharged due to an accident.
It was then that the pilgrimage began by different government agencies that would transform him into one of the most wanted fugitives in the United States and one of the icons of freedom of expression.
Although he is still required by the United States for treason, in late 2020 a federal court declared the espionage actions illegal. “I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the activities of the NSA as illegal and in the same ruling they give me credit for exposing them,” Snowden said on Twitter.
He worked as a security guard for secret facilities of the National Security Agency (NSA); computer security expert with diplomatic protection for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); and as an external consultant in technology for companies that provided services to military installations.
As part of his work, Snowden obtained evidence that the NSA was building a clandestine electronic surveillance program and a gigantic database of telephone records in the United States, so he decided to work with journalists. The Guardian Y The Washington Post to be released in June 2013.
Called PRISM, it obtained communications from at least nine large US companies that provide services on the Internet, including Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Dropbox. In addition, it revealed the existence of XKeyscore, a secret NSA computer system for searching and analyzing global internet data.
Snowden has remained asylum in Russia since the end of 2013, but only in 2020 did he get permanent residence.