NEW YORK (AP) — Edward Snowden, who has confounded U.S. officials since his abrupt departure from the country two years ago, has just found a new megaphone in Twitter.
The former National Security Agency worker who leaked classified documents about government surveillance started tweeting Tuesday. He had more than 185,000 followers an hour after his first tweet, “Can you hear me now?” Six hours later, he was up to 625,000 followers.
Snowden is following just one account: tweets from the National Security Agency.
Like other high-profile people on the messaging service, Snowden’s account has a blue and white check mark, indicating that it was verified by Twitter.
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A spokesman at Twitter Inc. confirmed that it gave Snowden the @Snowden username, which was being used by someone else. The NSA did not respond to a request for comment.
Snowden is currently living in exile in Russia. He faces charges in the U.S. that could land him in prison for up to 30 years.
Twitter has hosted other controversial figures and groups. Whistleblower website WikiLeaks has a verified Twitter account, as does Kim Dotcom, the founder of illegal download site Megaupload.
Edward Snowden’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/Snowden