While his girlfriend bared her body and soul online, NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s Internet trail appeared sparse: no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. But the 29-year-old former CIA analyst does have an online history of his own, as revealed in part by Reuters today, that starts at an anime company and proceeds to hit just about every geek stereotype one would expect of an IT whiz. As an employee of Ryuhana Press, a start-up selling Japanese art, Snowden’s since-deleted (but still-available) profile included his real birthday, nicknames (Edowaado, Phish, the True HOOHA), and references to the video game Tekken.
“I like Japanese, I like food, I like martial arts, I like ponies, I like guns, I like food, I like girls, I like my girlish figure that attracts girls, and I like my lamer friends. That’s the best biography you’ll get out of me, coppers!” he wrote circa 2002. “I really am a nice guy, though. You see, I act arrogant and cruel because I was not hugged enough as a child, and because the public education system turned it’s wretched, spikéd back on me.”
A wider search of the username “TheTrueHOOHA” turns up similar interests that, while not confirmed to be Snowden, are certainly in line with those expressed by the teenage high-school dropout working at Ryuhana. For example:
NSA’s new surveillance program.
That’s the sound of freedom, citizen!
And earlier, “In-depth thoery questions: How proxies WORK”:
Patriot Act. If they misinterpret that actions I perform, I could be a cyb4r terrorist and that would be very fucking bad.
The obvious solution is don’t get caught – and this is the only thing I can figure, as HTTP, SMTP, and SSL are all involved. If you’ve got a better method, I assure you that I’m all ears.
Seriously, the reason I’m so concerned is because of the lack of understanding – that’s why I made this thread. I don’t want to be paranoid, I want to be protected, but I’m not sure where to draw the line.
In another post titled, “Has anybody considered working as IT security in Japan?” Snowden inquired about finding a job overseas. “All things considered, American certificates, especially in internet security, should prove to be extremely attractive,” the user wrote. “There have also been a couple studies that show out of qualified applicants, blondes are hired more often in Japan.” And later: “I summon your soapbox-strength opinions! Surely you can’t be too busy debating gun control and dug-up bodies! I’m but a wee slip of a man who desperately searches for a scrap of interesting reading material! I want to expatriate! I want to expatriate with flair and clandestine meetings!”
- Dungeons & Dragons Online: The same username was also registered but has been deleted.
- YouTube: An existing account, last used three years ago, uploaded just one video. It’s proof of “Almost a perfect score” on a video game.
- More video games: On a separate forum, tied to the URL that once hosted Ryuhana Press’s website, TheTrueHOOHA posted a mash-up of Megaman and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Whatever one’s thoughts on the debate over Snowden’s actions and honor, there’s no arguing he was once but a normal bespectacled white guy working with computers.