The Joke’s On The NSA: Edward Snowden’s Cheeky Twitter Entrance


Millions of words have been published about you. You’ve seen yourself lionised and smeared, labelled a people’s hero and an enabler of terrorism. But finally you can speak directly to your audience.

So what do you say to the world?

For National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, the man who has made an enemy of the most powerful military and surveillance state to have ever existed, the answer is a little humour.

Snowden, who exposed the incredible reach of US spying and data retention in 2013, today joined the social media site twitter, drawing close to 750,000 followers in just 10 hours.

Forced to claim asylum in Russia after sharing NSA documents with journalists in Hong Kong, Snowden has appeared in interviews and on panels broadcast around the world, but will now have direct contact with his followers.

The Intercept, an investigative news organisation set up with the help of journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras, who Snowden contacted with the leaked documents, reported today that the whistleblower would have direct control of the account.



After announcing his arrival, Snowden bantered with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and plugged the Freedom of the Press Foundation.



The NSA – Snowden’s chief adversary and former employer – has itself used Twitter to try to counter the devastating publicity it has endured since the Snowden revelations.

In its attempts to do so, the organisation has also tried to project a sense of humour.



Likewise, Snowden today poked fun at the impact his decision to join Twitter would have at the US Army’s Maryland based installation Fort Meade, which includes the NSA’s headquarters.



They may have tracked him across the globe, but now Snowden can himself keep up-to-date with the latest from the surveillance goliath. Despite the hundreds of thousands of followers he has amassed, Snowden is so far following just one account himself: the NSA’s.


Max Chalmers is a former New Matilda journalist and editorial staff member. His main areas of interest are asylum seekers, higher education and politics.