Despite exposing the government's most precious secrets and illegal activities, being the subject of an international manhunt, getting called a traitor and accused of high treason, ending up exiled from his own country, and having to make his home in a foreign country hostile to his own interests, it's nice to know that Edward Snowden is keeping his sense of humor about him.
In case you haven't heard, Snowden, the controversial figure who leaked information about mass surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency to the press, has joined Twitter with the handle @Snowden, and the few tweets he has, um, tweeted so far have revealed someone who has quite a bit of cheek in the midst of dire circumstances.
His opening tweet was this:
Can you hear me now?- Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 29, 2015
To which the only answer is yes, most certainly. (That one tweet has been retweeted over 100,000 times.)
He was welcomed to the world of social media by none other than scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson, to which he replied:
.@neiltyson Thanks for the welcome. And now we've got water on Mars! Do you think they check passports at the border? Asking for a friend.- Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 29, 2015
And his latest tweet addresses the weird anxiety that a lot of people in the intelligence community must be feeling as the news of Snowden's new Twitter account gets around:
Meanwhile, a thousand people at Fort Meade just opened Twitter.- Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 29, 2015
But, in a gesture of supreme snark, Snowden packaged his best joke in the fact that he is currently following exactly one other Twitter account, and here it is:
Oh, and he already has more than a million followers, which is to be expected for such a divisive and news-worthy public figure, but is still impressive to me, because I can't get my follower count over 30, including spambots. Boo.
In NPR's coverage of the new account, they hinted that Snowden's new status as a Twitter-er could have an impact on the Presidential election by bringing NSA surveillance back into the news. Which seems unlikely, but it's politics, so there's going to be meaningless speculation no matter what.
Twitter itself noted the impact of his new account with a gif demonstrating the speed at which the world took notice:
And now that I've written about this subject and visited Snowden's Twitter account several times, I'm probably on some secret list of subversives somewhere. So there's that.