Challenges the popular image of Edward Snowden as hacker turned avenging angel, while revealing how vulnerable the United States' national security systems have become.
"A groundbreaking, compelling investigation that convincingly challenges the popular image of Edward Snowden as hacker-turned-avenging angel, while revealing how vulnerable our national security systems have become. In the wake of the scandal that emerged after details of American government surveillance were made public by WikiLeaks in 2013, Edward Snowden, formerly an employee of an outside contractor at the NSA facility in Hawaii, became the controversial center of an international conversation about the limits of power and privacy. Had the U.S. government overstepped important boundaries in its anti-terrorism efforts? Was Snowden's theft of information legitimized by the nature of the secrets being kept from the American people? We learn in How America Lost Its Secrets that Snowden stole a great deal more than documents relating to domestic surveillance. He also stole secret documents from the NSA, the CIA, the Department of Defense, and the British cipher service revealing the sources and methods they employed in their monitoring of adversaries. He then transported these state secrets to an adversary country, Russia, without authorization. Which raises the question: Who is Edward Snowden--hero, traitor, whistle-blower, spy? Edward Jay Epstein brings a lifetime of journalistic and investigative acumen to bear on this question and more. Retracing Snowden's steps from disgruntled tech worker to international notoriety, he seeks to understand both how we lost our secrets and the man who took them. Along the way, we discover Snowden's sometimes troubling pseudonymous writing on the Internet, as well as aspects of his private and public life previously elided. We see that by outsourcing parts of our own security apparatus to private companies in order to save money, the government has made classified information far more vulnerable to theft and misuse. Snowden, working for one of these private companies, ultimately sought employment precisely where he could most easily gain access to the most sensitive classified information. He claims to have acted to serve his country, but in his new home, Moscow, he is treated as a prized intelligence asset in the new Cold War. With unerring insight, meticulous reporting, and the pacing of a thriller writer, Epstein follows the Snowden trail across the globe, unearthing revelations that shed a whole new light on one of the most controversial and fascinating events of the new millennium."--Dust jacket.