June 16, 2013

Snowden's life surrounded by spycraft

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 4)

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This photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Hong Kong. The Guardian identified Snowden as a source for its reports on intelligence programs after he asked the newspaper to do so on Sunday. (AP Photo/The Guardian)

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This Sept. 19, 2007, file photo, shows the National Security Agency building at Fort Meade, Md. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

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Neighbors said the couple were pleasant, quiet and kept to themselves.

Angel Cunanan, a 79-year-old doctor who lives next door, said he would wave to them and say hello in the morning.

"Sometimes I said, 'Why don't you come in for a cup of coffee?' But they never did," Cunanan said. Cunanan says Snowden said he worked for the military.

Another neighbor, Carolyn Tijing, said the couple always left the blinds closed and stacked the garage from floor to ceiling with moving boxes, so high they blocked any view inside.

Mills' online posts hint at a happy home life in Hawaii together: pictures of sunsets, time on the beach and his-and-hers cups of Japanese shaved ice.

But by January of this year, Snowden secretly was edging forward with a plan to leak NSA documents, contacting documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras with an anonymous offer to share information on U.S. intelligence. The following month he contacted Glenn Greenwald, an American living in Brazil who writes on surveillance issues for The Guardian, as well as Barton Gellman, a reporter for The Washington Post.

In March, Snowden switched employers, moving to contractor Booz Allen Hamilton in Hawaii. The company confirmed he was employee for less than three months, at an annual salary of $122,000.

Snowden and Mills prepared for a May 1 move a couple of blocks away, because the owner of the rental wanted to put it up for sale.

"E and I received the keys to our next abode yesterday," Mills wrote on her blog on April 15. "We took time to envision what each room could look like once we crammed our things in them. And even discussed hanging silks in the two-story main room."

Mills headed back to the East Coast for a visit and when she returned to Hawaii, she wrote, Snowden unexpectedly told her he, too, needed to get away; he told his employer that he needed some time off for medical treatment. On May 20, Snowden flew to Hong Kong.

Three weeks later, as intelligence officials raced to control the damage from the NSA leaks, Snowden revealed himself as the person responsible.

"When you're in positions of privileged access," Snowden told The Guardian, "you see things that may be disturbing...until eventually you realize that these things need to be determined by the public — not by somebody who is simply hired by the government."


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