Defenders of Edward Snowden's leaks got a bit trickier Wednesday afternoon, with revelations about his embarrassing past. Turns out, Snowden was once a teenager and, worse, that time period was encapsulated online.
Reuters found the website for a firm Snowden worked for shortly after he left high school called Ryuhana Press, which once declared itself a showcase for "new talent in the rapidly expanding world of Anime and Manga style art." Its last post came in 2004, when it closed its doors with a brief note:
All of our artists have moved on to college lives and Katie has grown so busy with her wig business and manga career, that she is unable to take on new students. This leaves little room for us writers so, we shuffle off as well.
At an archive of the site, you can read Snowden's biographical information, which sits next to the image at right.
- Name: Ed Snowden
- AKA: Edowaado, Phish, The True HOOHA
- Ryuhana Job Title: Editor/Coffee-Boy
- Age: 36
- DOB: 6/21/83, The Summer Solstice, the Longest Day of the Year
Even if the nicknames aren't, the given age is incorrect. In 2002, the date of the page, Snowden was only 18.
His bio notes his affection for "beautiful, nubile" women, which we knew, and a few other details:
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!
All of this should inspire a few cringes from anyone who happens to have passed the age of 20 or so. But people of all ages will almost certainly understand why the following images, from a section of the page called "Kinky Wallpaper Loooove," will be the most embarrassing discovery.
They are titled, in order: "Puppy Dog Eyes," "Piece of Cake," and "Gold Plated Xtacy." The Internet shows no record of an actual hip-hop album by that last name, nor of "PimpDaddy Records."
For years, Google's Eric Schmidt has suggested that the Internet needed a delete button, a way for the indiscretions of youth not to stay with us for the rest of our lives. This is precisely the sort of situation to which Schmidt was no doubt referring. Someday, we will have a president who, in his late teens, experimented with Photoshop — potentially far more damaging behavior than any drug.
Whether or not you think Edward Snowden should have had access to the NSA's network for the past six months is debatable. Whether or not he should have had access to it in the early 2000s, we can all agree, can be readily answered, "no."