One, odd angle of this very large story jumped out at me.
From Reason Magazine:
It seems extremely strange to me that an apparently committed Libertarian/Randite*:
In 2003, Snowden enlisted in the United States Army. He was discharged after breaking both of his legs in a training accident. He then went to work as a security guard for a covert NSA facility at the University of Maryland. After that he went to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), where he worked on IT security. In 2007 the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer network security. Leaving the CIA in 2009, he worked for a private contractor inside an NSA facility on a United States military base in Japan.At the time of his departure from the US in May 2013, he had been working for defense contractor and private intelligence agency Booz Allen Hamiltonfor less than three months, as a system administrator inside of the NSA in Hawaii. He described his life as "very comfortable", living with his girlfriend and earning a salary of "roughly US$200,000."The Guardian describes Snowden as intensely passionate about the value of privacy; his laptop is adorned with stickers supporting internet freedomorganizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Tor Project. Although he says he "believed in Obama's promises", he "voted for a third party" in the 2008 election. Political donation records indicate that he contributed to the primary campaign of Ron Paul.
- Actively seek out employment in the covert government spying field at an age when most people are still interning at large companies, learning the family business in the shipping department or upselling macadamia nut cookies at Starbucks.
- Rise like a rocket in the business of prying into other people's secretes so fast that before the age of 30 he would be living in paradise, making nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year at a job that required "very little work" but at which he was able to bug the phone of the President of the United States if he felt like it.
* Updated to reflect the fact that I have not personally spoken to Mr. Snowden and cannot, therefor, gauge the level of his committedness as a Libertarian/Paul supporter outside of what has been reported in the article and my own encounters with a skajillion Libertarians over the years.