He dropped out of high school in the middle of 10th grade, yet won well-paying positions that came with overseas travel and access to some of the world’s most closely held secrets.
He had a vivacious, outgoing girlfriend and boasted online about his interest in nubile, beautiful women, even as he secluded himself in a world of computer games, anime and close study of the Internet’s architecture.
Edward Snowden, the skinny kid from suburban Maryland who took it upon himself to expose — and, officials say, severely compromise — classified U.S. government surveillance programs, loved role-playing games, leaned libertarian, worked out hard and dabbled in modeling.
He relished the perks of his jobs with the CIA and some of the world’s most prestigious employers. Yet his girlfriend considered it a major accomplishment when she got him to leave the house for a hike with friends.
Snowden, 29, emerged a week ago from his status as an anonymous source for stories in The Washington Post and the Guardian, announcing to the world that he was prepared to be prosecuted for breaking his pledge to keep classified materials secret. But as quickly as he popped up in a fancy Hong Kong hotel, he vanished again, going underground as U.S. officials said they were preparing a legal case against him and several members of Congress called him a traitor.