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Edward Snowden: Who is he, and what kind of life is he leaving behind?

Edward Snowden, who leaked the information on the NSA's monitoring program, was a well-paid analyst for a consulting firm with a girlfriend and a home in 'paradise' (Oahu). All gone now.

By Correspondent / June 11, 2013

Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, on June 9, in Hong Kong. The Guardian identified Snowden as a source for its reports on intelligence programs on Sunday.

The Guardian/AP

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Washington

In the interest of revealing what he saw as the privacy violations of millions of Americans by their own government, Edward Snowden, 29, has likely forfeited his future at an age when most young adults are still shaping the arc of their lives.

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A high school dropout turned analyst with high-level security clearance, he’s now a wanted man whose name is Googled around the globe and face flashed on airport television screens from Washington to Hong Kong, where he fled before he identified himself as the source of leaks revealing the National Security Administration’s programs to electronically monitor citizens.

Bespectacled and serious in the videotaped interview with the journalists who broke his story, Mr. Snowden is now a hot topic of debate: Whistleblower or traitor? Will he be extradited? Face jail time?

So who is he? What life does he leave behind?

First off, effective immediately, he is unemployed. Booz Allen Hamilton, the consulting firm, has fired him. Reports suggest he was making $122,000 as an infrastructure analyst.

Before embarking for Hong Kong, Snowden was living in Hawaii – “paradise,” he called it – with a girlfriend, Lindsay Mills. Together, they rented a three-bedroom home in the Waipahu community on the island of Oahu, according to USA Today.

As for Ms. Mills, news outlets reported Tuesday, she is “an acrobatic pole performer” who blogged about her peripatetic life with Snowden, whom she called “E.” She aired her heartache publicly on a blog that has since been dismantled. Her comments suggested – and Snowden similarly told The Guardian – that she didn’t know of his plans.

“Surely there will be villainous pirates, distracting mermaids, and tides of change in this new open water chapter of my journey,” she wrote, according to ABC News. “But at the moment all I can feel is alone. And for the first time in my life I feel strong enough to be on my own. Though I never imagined my hand would be so forced.”

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