How accurate is the Snowden movie

"Snowden": This is how the NSA whistleblower is doing today

His revelations sparked a worldwide scandal that went down in history as the so-called "NSA affair". While Edward Snowden was the top topic in the news for many years, it is all the more surprising that the whistleblower has been quiet for a long time. We'll show you what happened to the American refugee.

today on August 18, 2019, the film "Snowden" celebrates its Free TV premiere on RTL. In the film by Oliver Stone ("Wall Street", "Savages") the development of the former NSA employee Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon Levitt) to the whistler blower is shown. The biopic, which opened in German cinemas in 2016, not only shows the entire disclosure affair surrounding the American secret service, but also provides insights into the escape and the consequences of the affair on the life of the former IT specialist. But the US government's hunt for Edward Snowden is less fictional than it seems.

The sacrifice of privacy

Edward Snowden's top priority is human safety. He actually didn't want to sit in front of the computer himself, but rather serve in the US Army, but a training accident ruled his plans. The then 22-year-old computer scientist ended up in the CIA secret service in 2005, where he was deployed for IT security. He showed a great talent for hacking, for which he was literally wooed by the secret services. Four years later he was living in Hawaii and working for the NSA. But what sounds so heavenly had its price.

Because even if he could have led a carefree life through his work, Snowden's conscientiousness prevailed. The fact that he served not only the defense of terrorism in the secret services but also the control of ordinary citizens became his own ethical and moral burden, as he admitted in an interview with Glenn Greenwald (via The Guardian):

“I don't want to live in a world where everything I say, do [...] is recorded. And that is not something that I am ready to support, this is not something that I am ready to build and that is not something I want to live under. "


Snowden saw in his work for the NSA a form of bringing mankind into line, whereby human freedom fell victim to precisely this work. In 2013 he started to anonymously disseminate a lot of documents and information by approaching various journalists, including Glenn Greenwald. But finally Snowden flew, or rather fled, to Hong Kong, from there disclosed his millions of data and information about various security agencies to American newspapers and finally lifted his anonymous veil.

Before that, he always signed his emails with the pseudonym "citizen four". Laura Poitras, whom Snowden also approached at this time, eventually used this name as the title for her 2014 documentary about Edward Snowden.

The cover-up control by the secret services

Snowden's revelations revealed that the secret services used a wide variety of ways to control global (Internet) communication, of course in camera. And that is exactly what made the affair scandalous not only in the US, but worldwide. For 15 years, people from different countries were observed via fiber optic cables, routers, emails, phone calls, apps, online games, hardware and much more.

There was also no stopping at Germany. The BND and the NSA even worked together, but not “only” in the population, but also in the government. The Federal Chancellor's cell phone turned out to be the perfect means of espionage. Worldwide, however, governments, banks, companies, various congresses and so on were also monitored. Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, this espionage work found its alleged legalization.

As a result, Snowden saw the only correct way out in the publication of these very secret documents, which was the starting signal for the lengthy cat-and-mouse game between the whistleblower and the American government. After numerous submitted, rejected and offered asylum applications and the blocking of his passport by the US government, Snowden finally ended up in Russia, where he still lives with his girlfriend to this day.

From supervisor to monitored

Snowden's right of asylum in Russia will continue until 2020. What will happen to Edward Snowden after that is uncertain. In the USA, the current president prefers the death penalty, but it is not clear whether it will apply. But a charge on several counts is considered certain.

But Snowden is not sitting sadly in a corner today, trembling and waiting for his end. While keeping his location secret, he is connected live to conferences on IT security and freedom of the press and uses Twitter to express his political opinion, including about the Russian government:

The Russian government's escalating campaign of repression towards those engaged in peaceful protest must end. The right to stand against injustice, or march for free elections — guaranteed by article 31 of Russia's Constitution — is universal and inalienable.

- Edward Snowden (@Snowden) August 2, 2019


Edward Snowden was able to bring about many changes with the publication of his information and documents. Legislation on Internet security has been made unambiguous and free of possible loopholes, and controls over the work of the secret services have also been tightened. Internet giants such as Google and Microsoft have also followed suit and are more and more concerned about the privacy of their users. Even if the situation is still not perfect today, Snowden was still able to achieve a lot.

The American whistleblower is a man who became a hero through betrayal and who continues to use his political influence for the people to this day. Joseph Gordon Levitt adopted Snowden's character through interviews and video recordings in such a way that he was able to capture his intellect. So if you are interested in the life and person of Edward Snowden, you should not miss the biographical film on RTL on Sunday evening. But while “Snowden” is an exciting drama, don't forget that it describes a subject that is more topical than ever.