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article imageEdward Snowden — A high school dropout earning $100 grand a year

By Eko Armunanto     Jun 23, 2013 in World
"Reading the fine print of the NSA Edward Snowden scandal, I learned that a high school dropout can earn well over $100,000 per year working for our government if the person is adept at computers," said Rockford’s Mark L. Hopkins.
He said Edward Snowden dropped out of high school and he was making $120,000 for the NSA, while Daily Mail’s Lydia Warren said he was paid $200,000 by NSA defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. As cited by Warren, the NSA leaker told the Guardian from a hotel room in Hong Kong where he was on the run that “He has had a very comfortable life that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves”.
Daily Mail asked how a high school drop-out becomes entrusted with the government's biggest secrets, questions over how a man who failed to complete his high school education was entrusted with NSA's top secrets and systems. He took just a few computer classes at a community college in a bid to get his high-school equivalency degree, yet he failed to complete them. Despite his lackluster resume, in 2007 the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer network security and privy to more secrets than ever before.
Hiring screeners at Booz Allen Hamilton found possible discrepancies in a resume submitted by Edward Snowden, but the company still employed him, a source with detailed knowledge of the matter told Reuters. He was hired this spring after he convinced his screeners that his description of his education was truthful, said the source, which is not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. It is unclear precisely which element of Snowden's resume caused personnel officials at Booz Allen Hamilton to raise questions about his background. Also unclear is how he satisfied their concerns.
Before he was hired by Booz Allen Hamilton, said Reuters citing “sources familiar with the matter”, Snowden was also screened by USIS, a Virginia-based investigations firm hired separately by the U.S. government to conduct background checks on prospective employees and contractors. Based on reports from firms such as USIS, the NSA decides whether a potential contract worker gets a security clearance. Snowden, later passed the high school equivalency test known as the GED, stated on his resume earlier this year he attended computer-related classes at Johns Hopkins University, a Tokyo campus of the University of Maryland and the University of Liverpool in Britain. The resume stated that Snowden estimated he would receive a master's degree in computer security from Liverpool sometime this year. Booz Allen Hamilton hired him at an annual salary of $122,000 to work as a contractor for the NSA in Hawaii. Snowden had been on the job there for about four weeks when he traveled to Hong Kong last month and leaked the U.S. government secrets that made him known around the world.
A spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins told Reuters that the university could find no record that Snowden had taken classes there. She added that Snowden might have taken vocational training courses from a private, for-profit entity called Advanced Career Technologies, which operated under the name Computer Career Institute at Johns Hopkins. Reeves said Johns Hopkins ended its relationship with the company in 2009, and that the company appears to have shut down in 2012. Meanwhile, a spokesman for University of Maryland's University College division said that records showed Snowden did attend, in person, a summer session at a campus that the college operates in Asia. He declined to specify the location or provide any information about Snowden's course work.
The high school equivalency test was confirmed as well by his father Lonnie Snowden saying “He was not a high school drop-out as has been reported but had missed several months of teaching because he was ill during his sophomore year. He completed his high school equivalency at a community college.” He publicly appealed for his son to come home despite the fact that he may face a prison sentence, and begged him to stop leaking classified government information.
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