“Every person remembers some moment in their life where they witnessed some injustice, big or small, and looked away, because the consequences of intervening seemed too intimidating,” former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden tells Vanity Fair about his motivation for leaking tens of thousands of secret documents. “But there’s a limit to the amount of incivility and inequality and inhumanity that each individual can tolerate. I crossed that line. And I’m no longer alone.”
Snowden’s extensive response is part of a 20,000-word narrative in Vanity Fair’s May issue, by special correspondent Bryan Burrough and contributing editors Suzanna Andrews and Sarah Ellison. The article is the first comprehensive account—bolstered by interviews with dozens of key players—providing an inside look at how a geeky dropout from the Maryland suburbs found himself alone in a Hong Kong hotel room, releasing some of America’s most carefully guarded secrets to the world.