Timeline of Edward Snowden

Early life

21 June 1983
Edward J. Snowden is born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as the second child of Lon and Elizabeth “Wendy” Snowden.

Snowden and his parents move to Crofton, Maryland. After their divorce in 2001, Snowden moves with his mother to Ellicott City, near Baltimore.

Fall 1997 – Late 1998
Snowden attends Arundel High School in Gambrills, Maryland, but drops out half-way the second year.

July 1998 – June 2004
Snowden works for Clockwork Chihuahua, a web design studio run from Fort Meade, Maryland.

Spring 1999 – 2001
Snowden takes for-credit computing classes at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) in Arnold, Maryland.

29 December 2001
Snowden starts posting on the Ars Technica forum as The One TrueHooha, later changed to TheTrueHOOHA, which he also uses for chatting on the Ars Technica IRC channel.

February – May 2002
Snowden takes classes at the Computer Career Institute (CCI), affiliated with Johns Hopkins University.

June 2002 – June 2003
Snowden works for Thomson Prometric, a test administration company, in Woodlawn, Maryland.

23 June 2002 – February 2004
Snowden is a web editor for Ryuhana Press, an anime art fan site made by Clockwork Chihuahua.

4 May 2004
Snowden passes the test for a General Equivalency Diploma (GED).

7 May 2004 – 28 September 2004
Snowden is enlisted in the US Army Reserve as an 18X Special Forces recruit at Fort Benning, Georgia.

2004 – Fall 2005
Snowden returns to Anne Arundel Community College for taking computing classes.

February 2005 – November 2005
Snowden works as a security guard at the University of Maryland’s Center for the Advanced Study of Language (CASL), for which he obtains a security clearance.

Intelligence contractor

November 2005 – August 2006
Snowden works as systems administrator/server manager for BAE systems under a CIA Global Communications Services Contract in the Washington DC area.

September 2006 – 16 April 2009
Snowden works for the CIA at the Global Communications Division of the Directorate of Support.

September 2006 – February 2007
For his new job, Snowden attends a six-month technical training.

March 2007 – February 2009
Snowden works as a Telecommunications Informations Systems Officer (TISO) under the cover name Dave M. Churchyard at the CIA station inside the US mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Snowden works for a couple of days at the CIA station in Milan, Italy.

May 2009 – February 2012
Snowden works in a variety of roles in the United States for Perot Systems, which was taken over by Dell in September 2009.

Summer 2009
Snowden enrolls in online classes offered by the University of Maryland University College.

August 2009 – 1 September 2010
Snowden works as a systems administrator under the NSA’s Agency Extended Information Systems Services (AXISS) contract at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

2-11 September 2010
From Japan, Snowden flies to India, in order to provide technical assistance at the US embassy in New Delhi.

3-9 September 2010
Snowden takes classes in Java programming and ethical hacking for an EC-Council certificate at Koenig Solutions in Moti Nagar, New Delhi.

December 2010 – February 2012
Snowden, returned to Maryland, works in a “pre-sales technical role” for Dell, supporting a CIA contract which didn’t require security clearance.

Snowden starts an online study for a Masters degree in Computer Security through the University of Liverpool, but did not finish the course.

31 August 2011 – 11 January 2012
Snowden takes a four-month leave of absence; it is not clear how he spent that time.

Contractor in Hawaii

Late March 2012 – March 2013
Snowden works as a systems administrator for Dell at the Office of Information Sharing of the NSA’s Cryptologic Center, located in the Kunia Tunnel in Hawaii.

21 May 2012
Snowden’s last known posting on the forum of Ars Technica under the nickname TheTrueHOOHA.

July 2012
Snowden starts bulk downloading highly classified documents from the secure NSANet and JWICS networks using scraping tools.

August 2012
Snowden requests for a “thin-on-thick” computer on his desk, which would become beneficial for exfiltrating the downloaded files.

September 2012
Snowden passes a test for a position at the NSA’s hacking division, Tailored Access Operations (TAO), but turned down a subsequent job offer.

1 December 2012
Snowden, under the nickname Cincinnatus, first contacts Glenn Greenwald, saying that he has sensitive documents that he would like to share.

11 December 2012
Snowden organizes a Crypto Party in Hawaii, in cooperation with Runa Sandvik, who was a developer at the TOR project.

6 January 2013
Snowden, under the nickname anon108, puts online a GPG instruction video for Glenn Greenwald.

13 January 2013
Snowden, under the nickname Citizen Four, first contacts filmmaker Laura Poitras and they start an encrypted e-mail exchange, after he received her public key through Micah Lee from the EFF.

Early February 2013
Laura Poitras reaches out to Washington Post freelancer Barton Gellman in order to meet about “something confidential”.

12 March 2013
Senate hearing of DNI James Clapper, which Snowden said was his “breaking point”.

30 March 2013 – 11 June 2013
Snowden works as an infrastructure analyst for Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) at the NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center (NTOC) in the new Cryptologic Center near Wahiawa, Hawaii.

30 March-12 April 2013
For his new job, Snowden attends a two-week training course at (or BAH offices near) NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland.

5 April 2013
Snowden sends an internal e-mail to the NSA’s Office of General Counsel asking clarification about a legal issue from the training material.

13 April 2013
Snowden returnes to Hawaii, and picks up the keys to a new rental home the next day.

10 May 2013
Snowden sends Jessica Bruder in New York a packet with a backup copy of NSA files, which was then hidden by Dale Maharidge in North California. Similar copies were received by Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF), one person who wants to remain private and one unknown person.

Mid-May 2013
Snowden copies the last set of documents he wants to disclose.

15 or 17 May 2013
Snowden tells his BAH supervisor Steve Bay that he needs a couple of weeks leave of absence for epilepsy treatment on the US mainland.

16 May 2013
Snowden, under the nickname Verax, first contacts Barton Gellman directly and sends him the PRISM presentation on May 24.

After mid-May 2013
Laura Poitras and hacktivist Jacob Appelbaum interview Snowden to determine whether he is who he says he is

Fugitive in Hong Kong

19/20 May 2013
Snowden flies from Hawaii via Japan to Hong Kong, where he arrives at Chep Lap Kok airport and subsequently checks in at the Mira hotel at Nathan Road in Kowloon.

24 May 2013
Snowden sends Barton Gellman the PRISM presentation and asks for a guarantee that The Washington Post would publish it in full within 72 hours.

27 May 2013
Snowden has his first direct encrypted chat contact with Greenwald, after Micah Lee sent him a thumb drive with a secure operating system. Greenwald agrees to travel to Hong Kong with Poitras.

1/2 June 2013
Aboard flight CX831 to Hong Kong, Laura Poitras provides Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill with USB drives containing a few thousand highly classified documents.

1-13 June 2013
Snowden exchanges emails with Micah Lee about setting up a website for a global petition against surveillance: www.supportonlinerights.com

3 June 2013
Snowden meets Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, followed the next morning by Ewen MacAskill, at the Mira hotel in Hong Kong, where he stays in room 1014.

5/6 June 2013
The Guardian publishes the Verizon order, dated 25 April 2013, which marks the start of the Snowden revelations.

6 June 2013
The Guardian and The Washington Post publish about the PRISM program, which is the first revelation with worldwide impact.

9 June 2013
The Guardian releases a video interview in which Snowden reveals himself as the leaker of the recent NSA documents.

11 June 2013
The Guardian first publishes about the NSA visualization tool BoundlessInformant.

12 June 2013
South China Morning Post (SCMP) reporter Lana Lam is invited to the Sheraton hotel for a chat interview with Edward Snowden.

14 June 2013
The US Justice Department charges Snowden with theft of government property and two counts of violating the 1917 Espionage Act, unsealed on 21 June.

22 June 2013
The US State Department revokes Snowden’s passport.

23 June 2013
Snowden, accompanied by Sarah Harrison from Wikileaks, boards Aeroflot flight SU213 to Moscow from Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport.

Asylum in Russia

23 June 2013
Snowden and Harrison arrive at Terminal F of the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow.

25 June 2013
US Secretary of State John kerry asks the Russian government to extradite Snowden, which is refused by president Putin the next day.

Late June 2013
Snowden applies for political asylum to 21 countries: Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and Venezuela.

2 July 2013
The plane of Ecuadoran president Evo Morales is grounded near Vienna, Austria and searched because US officials suspected that Snowden may have been on board.

12 July 2013
Snowden appears in public at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow for a meeting with human-rights advocates and others.

1 August 2013
The Russian government grants Snowden temporary asylum for one year.

February 2014
Snowden joins the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) and is named president of the board in 2016.

7 March 2014
Snowden provides a written testimony in response to questions from members of the European Parliament.

10 March 2014
Snowden gives his first appearance by video teleconference, speaking to a crowd at the South by Southwest (SXSW) technology festival in Austin, Texas. Many other video interviews would follow.

8 April 2014
Snowden appears by video teleconference for a hearing by a commission of the Council of Europe.

28 May 2014
Snowden’s first appearance in an interview for American television

24 October 2014
Release of “Citizen Four”, a documentary film by Laura Poitras about Snowden at the Mira hotel in Hong Kong.

13 January 2015
Release of “Terminal F: Chasing Edward Snowden”, a Danish documentary film about the hunt for Snowden in Hong Kong and Moscow.

29 September 2015
Snowden starts a public Twitter account: @snowden

15 September 2016
Release of “Snowden”, a biographical thriller movie by Oliver Stone.

January 2017
The Russian government decides to extend Edward Snowden’s asylum until early 2020.

6 June  2018
Release of the documentary “Edward Snowden: whistleblower or a spy?” marking the 5-year anniversary of the start of the Snowden-revelations.

A listing of Snowden’s public appearances from 2013-2015 can be found here

A collection of all the documents revealed by the press is available on this website

(Sources: US House of Representative Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) report about the Snowden leaks; Résumé Ed Snowden; various news reports and background articles; own research)