Genre: Biography, Drama, Thriller
Rating: (7.4 / 10)
Length: 2h 14min
Release Date: 16 September 2016 (USA)
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Watch online Snowden (2016). In 2013, Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) arranges a clandestine meet in a Hong Kong shopping mall with documentarian Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and journalist Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto), they proceed to a hotel room where Snowden sits down with them to discuss releasing the classified information in his possession regarding illegal mass-surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency. In 2004, Snowden is undergoing basic training, having enlisted in the United States Army with intentions of matriculating to the Special Forces. One morning he fractures his tibia when jumping from his top bunk in the barracks, an injury made possible from stress fractures he was unaware of that were induced from carrying the 80-pound rucksack during his training. While in the infirmary Snowden is informed that he’ll be receiving an administrative discharge and that he may serve America in other ways.
Snowden applies for a position at the Central Intelligence Agency and subsequently undergoes the screening process. Initially his answers to the screening questions are insufficient, but Deputy Director Corbin O’Brian (Rhys Ifans) decides to take a chance on Snowden, given the demands of such extraordinary times. Snowden is then brought to “The Hill” where he’s educated and tested on cyber warfare. Here he learns about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which circumvents the Fourth Amendment rights of US citizens by allowing warrant requests to be approved by a panel of judges that were appointed by the administration. In one assignment, Snowden and his peers are each tasked with building a covert communications network in their hometown, deleting it, and then rebuilding it in eight hours or less, with five being the average time taken. Snowden impresses O’Brian when he completes the exercise in 38 minutes.
Meanwhile, Snowden meets Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley) via a dating website. The two bond, despite sharply contrasting political ideologies that come to the surface when they walk by an Iraq War demonstration outside of the White House. Mills reflects a more liberal ideology that believes it’s important to question the government, while Snowden believes his allegiance to his country precludes this. Nevertheless, the two are taken with each other and they begin a relationship. Snowden earns his first post abroad working with diplomatic cover in Geneva in 2007, taking Mills with him. He meets Gabriel Sol (Ben Schnetzer) who has ample experience in electronic surveillance. While attempting to pinpoint terrorist connections with a seemingly clean Pakistani businessman, Snowden is exposed to practices and programs that cause him to question the ethical and moral implications of what they’re doing. When his superior (Timothy Olyphant) wants to setup the Pakistani on a drunk driving charge so that they can leverage information from him, Snowden resigns from the CIA. Free online streaming Snowden (2016). Snowden later takes a position with the NSA in Japan, initially under the pretense of building a program that would allow the government to backup all critical data from the Middle East in the event of an incursion that might compromise their hardware, a program which Snowden names “Epic Shelter”. As time goes by, Snowden learns of the practices the NSA and other US Government agencies are using not just in Japan, but in most countries the US is currently allied with. Practices that include planting malware in different computers that manage government, infrastructure and financial sectors so that, in the event that any allies turn against the US, that country can effectively be shut down in retaliation. The stress associated with his job takes a toll on his relationship with Mills, which reaches a low point during their stay in Japan when they break up, and Mills moves back with her family in Maryland.
Three months later, Snowden has left his post with the NSA and returned to Maryland where he and Mills resume their relationship and he takes a position consulting for the CIA. During a hunting trip, O’Brian reveals an operation in Oahu that revolves around counterattacking Chinese hackers. Snowden wrestles with the offer for months before revealing it to Mills, who is unhappy at the prospect after having settled into a new home and job, but relents after Snowden is diagnosed with epilepsy as she believes the environment in Hawaii may be beneficial for him. Upon beginning his new job in “The Tunnel”, an underground World War II bunker that has been repurposed for massive electronic surveillance and SIGINT operations, Snowden learns that Epic Shelter is being used for more than a mere backup device, but that it’s providing real-time data that assists US Drone Pilots in launching lethal strikes against terror suspects in Afghanistan.
Snowden becomes increasingly disillusioned with what he is a part of, the more he sees illegal surveillance operations and the lies that NSA leaders tell Congress and the American people about surveillance activity, the more unsure he is of his work. This culminates in Snowden smuggling a microSD card into his office by way of a Rubik’s Cube, loading all relevant data including information about FISA, false testimony and active surveillance programs conducted by the NSA. He then tells his colleagues he’s feeling ill and departs. At home he tells Mills that she should fly home to Maryland and stay with her family, after which he contacts Poitras and Greenwald to schedule the meet seen at the beginning.
With the help of Ewan MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson), the information is disseminated to the press on June 5, 2013, with additional leaks published in the following days. In the aftermath, Snowden understands he’s a wanted man, and so with the help of MacAskill, Greenwald and Poitras, he is smuggled out of Hong Kong on a flight bound for Latin America by way of Russia. However, the US Government revokes his passport, forcing him to remain in Moscow indefinitely. He’s eventually offered asylum for three years, with Mills joining him at a later date. Snowden continues to communicate and advocate the importance of privacy for citizens, and transparency for government by conducting interviews and other appearances via the internet with American, British and other international audiences. Watch Snowden (2016) online