Edward Snowden is a former American intelligence contractor. In 2013 he revealed the existence of secret wide-ranging information-gathering programs conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA). Snowden left the CIA for the NSA in 2009, where he worked as a private contractor for the companies Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton. During this time, he began gathering information on a number of NSA activities – most notably, secret surveillance programs.
In May 2013 Snowden flew to Hong Kong, where he conducted a series of interviews with two journalists from the newspaper The Guardian. Subsequently several newspapers printed the leaked documents, many of them detailing the monitoring of American citizens. The U.S. has charged Snowden with violations of the Espionage Act. He has found asylum in Russia and continues to speak about his work. The documentary on his story by Laura Poitras (“Citzenfour”) won an Oscar in 2015.