Despite hiding out for over a year in Moscow, location still unpinned by the CIA, Edward Snowden is dominating the newswires with brand new revelations.

In his first long-form interview with WIRED magazine (September 2014 issue), Snowden appears hugging the American flag (the very same flag that was used for Pamela Anderson’s cover of George magazine), proclaiming that he wishes nothing to detract from the movement he seeks to inspire.

Tap (+) in the Next Issue app to add WIRED to your library, and read the full story now—an interview that took journalist James Bamford nearly a year to arrange.

Here, the key events that transformed Edward Snowden from a young computer mastermind wishing to “do his part” for his country, to what some deem the dictionary definition of “traitor.” Be sure to scroll to the bottom for Snowden’s two newest disclosures, what he describes as his “final straw” before blowing the whistle.


Snowden had always been passionate about serving his country, coming from a family in which everyone worked for the federal government, and volunteering for the Army special forces at the height of the war in Iraq.


Snowden climbed the technology specialist ranks in the CIA, where he learned of moral shortcomings in field agents, mass surveillance programs, transmission of raw private data to Israel, and plans to blaspheme anti-government politicians.


Snowden witnessed examples of torture, wiretapping, and targeted drone killings in Iraq. He first considered whistle-blowing, but hoped the new President would turn things around. When Obama entered the White House, Snowden became even more certain of what he had to do.


Two NSA secrets tipped Snowden over the edge, released for the first time in the WIRED interview.

1) The U.S. government single-handedly caused an Internet outage in Syria while planting an exploit to monitor emails and Internet traffic, and never told a soul.

2) The NSA was working on a secret program titled MonsterMind, designed to block malware and automatically fire back at the perpetrating countries, without any human involvement.

Snowden decided to make the fateful flight to Hong Kong on May 20, 2013, secret-filled thumb drives stashed in his pockets. Read the full interview in Next Issue for more from the most wanted man in the world.