Bow Ties, Spies and Money: A Look Inside Hawaii's Intel Community

NSA press release

Mere hours before the world was introduced to Edward Snowden, more than 400 people, many of them from Hawaii’s intelligence community, gathered for a gala inside the hangar of the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor at Ford Island.

Military personnel were dressed in cummerbunds, bow ties and decorated mess jackets. Civilians were equally as sharp, wearing tuxedos and “Aloha crisp,” a style identified by pressed aloha shirts and slacks.

The black tie affair was to celebrate the U.S.’s triumph during the Battle of Midway, a skirmish that was won in large part because of naval intelligence gathering and code breaking.

It was also to honor people like Snowden, who before he fled Hawaii and blew the whistle on secret National Security Agency surveillance operations, worked for the U.S. government combing through top secret data as a way to protect our borders and keep us safe from terrorists.

Snowden’s last U.S. employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, was a sponsor of the Battle of Midway ball. The billion-dollar defense contractor had given a last minute donation to make sure the nonprofit event would go on.

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