Edward Snowden, the source behind a slew of revelations about National Security Agency spying programs in recent years, is now on Twitter and gaining followers fast.

He’s verified with a blue checkmark and everything. And as of posting, Snowden follows only one Twitter account: The NSA.

Here’s his first tweet – an apparent Verizon Wireless joke and subtle dig at the spy agency: “Can you hear me now?”

Snowden, a former NSA contractor, lives in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum after revealing himself as the source of the NSA documents to several media outlets, including The Washington Post – and he still faces criminal charges in the United States.

He maintains a pretty high profile – serving on the board of directors for the Freedom of the Press Foundation and making fairly frequent livestreamed appearances.

But other than an account used for question sessions on social sharing site reddit, Snowden has kept a fairly discreet online presence while in exile. He explained why in a recent interview with Fusion’s Kashmir Hill:

“One of the big challenges in the situation I’m in is that I have all these opsec routines that I follow. All the web publishing platforms have massive amounts of analytics embedded in them. Facebook, for example, databases how long you’re on each page, what posts you click on, what pictures you’ve seen, and they store this permanently.

“Inevitably someone in a high risk situation like me is going to get owned.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.