Snowden Timeline

June 5, 2013 – British daily newspaper The Guardian breaks news of US National Security Agency (NSA) documents that show an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that requires Verizon to hand over phone call metadata from millions of Americans to the FBI and NSA.

June 6, 2013: The Guardian and Washington Post report the US National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers under a top secret court order granting the government unlimited authority to obtain communications data for a three-month period. Furthermore, another program dating back to 2007 codenamed PRISM allows NSA to extract the details of customer activities—including “audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents” and other materials—from computers at Microsoft, Google, Apple and other Internet companies.

June 9, 2013 – The Guardian and Washington Post disclose Edward Snowden as the source for the disclosures. Snowden speaks from Hong Kong to explain his actions.

June 9, 2013 – Booz Allen releases a statement confirming that Snowden has been an employee of the firm for almost three months.

June 11, 2013 – The EU demands US assurances that Europeans’ rights are not being infringed by the newly-revealed surveillance programs. Booz Allen Hamilton says it has fired the infrastructure analyst for violating its ethics code.

June 12, 2013 – The South China Morning Post publishes an interview with Snowden in which he says that U.S. intelligence agents have been hacking networks around the world for years.

June 17, 2013 – During a live online chat, the person identified as Snowden by Britain’s Guardian newspaper insists U.S. authorities have access to phone calls, e-mails and other communications far beyond constitutional bounds.

June 18, 2013 – Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce argues the PRISM program has helped stop a number of alleged terrorist attacks.

June 21, 2013 – Federal prosecutors unseal a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia on June 14, 2013, charging Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.

June 22, 2013 – A senior U.S. administration official says the United States has contacted authorities in Hong Kong to seek the extradition of Snowden.

June 23, 2013 – Snowden flies through Moscow from Hong Kong. Russian President Vladimir Putin later verifies he is in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport.

June 23, 2013 – U.S. government revokes Snowden’s passport.

June 30, 2013 – German news magazine Der Spiegel reports that classified leaks by Snowden detail NSA bugging of European Union offices in Washington and New York, as well as an EU building in Brussels.

July 1, 2013 – Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency reports Snowden asylum request.

July 12, 2013 – Snowden meets with human rights activists and lawyers. He confirms he is requesting asylum from Russia while awaiting safe passage to Latin America.

July 16, 2013 – Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena tells CNN that Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia. If the request is granted, Snowden would be able to live in Russia for at least a year.

July 24, 2013 – Russian news media reports that Russia has approved documents that would allow Snowden to enter the rest of the country while his temporary asylum request is considered.

August 1, 2013 – Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena tells CNN that Snowden’s application for political asylum for a year has been approved, and he has left the Moscow airport.

November 3, 2013 – A letter, purportedly written by Snowden, is published in the German magazine Der Spiegel. The letter, entitled “A Manifesto for the Truth,” says “mass surveillance is a global problem and needs a global solution.”

December 17, 2013 – Snowden posts an open letter to Brazil, offering to help investigate U.S. surveillance of Brazilian citizens.

January 23, 2014 – Attorney General Eric Holder says, “if Mr. Snowden wanted to come back to the United States and enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers.” Snowden says in an online chat later that day that, returning to the U.S. is “unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws.”