Paradise Lost: The Cost of Freedom for NSA Leaker Edward Snowden

Alia Wong/Civil Beat

A weathered American flag sticker on the front window of the Waipahu neighborhood where fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden lived until recently fleeing to Hong Kong reads: “Freedom isn’t free.”

The 29-year-old may prove to be one of the most consequential whistleblowers in years, if not decades, for orchestrating intelligence leaks that have left the Obama administration defending widespread domestic monitoring of American citizens.

In some ways, Snowden is already paying, having given up his dream life on Oahu for a hotel room in Hong Kong where he expressed grave concern for his safety. In an extensive video interview with The Guardian, Snowden explained that he doesn’t expect to ever return to his old life, and that is a notable sacrifice.

“You live a privileged life, you’re living in Hawaii, in paradise and making a ton of money,” Snowden told the Guardian.

“What would it take to make you leave everything behind?”

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