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Edward Joseph Snowden is an American former technical contractor and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee who worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), before leaking details of classified NSA mass surveillance programs to the press. Snowden shared classified material on a variety of top-secret NSA programs, including the interception of US telephone metadata and the PRISM surveillance program, primarily with The Guardian, which published a series of exposés based on Snowden's disclosures in June 2013. Snowden said the leaks were an effort "to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."
Snowden faces charges of espionage and theft of US Government property for alleged leaks said to rank among the most significant breaches in the history of the NSA. Matthew M. Aid, an intelligence historian in Washington, said disclosures linked to Snowden have "confirmed longstanding suspicions that NSA's surveillance in this country is far more intrusive than we knew."On June 14, 2013, US federal prosecutors filed a sealed complaint, made public on June 21, charging Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified intelligence with an unauthorized person; the latter two allegations are under the Espionage Act.
On June 23rd 2013, the Hong Kong government announced that it had allowed the departure from the territory of Snowden. Hong Kong officials said that the United States' extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law. Snowden moved to Moscow aboard an Aeroflot flight.
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