Months before Edward Snowden became a household name by showing off classified NSA documents, he taught a handful of people at the back of a Hawaiian furniture store how to protect their online privacy.
The move should have sent a red flag to any spooks who were looking after him, but his antics were not noticed. The grassroots crypto party movement was set up in 2011 by Asher Wolf. The idea was for technologists versed in software like Tor and PGP to get together with activists, journalists and work out how to keep their lives secret
According to Wired, Snowden's "crypto party” was organised with help from activist Asher Wolf and Runa Sandvik, a former developer for the web anonymity network Tor. At the time, knew either who Snowden really was or what he would soon accomplish. It was only much later that they would learn his real identity.
Wolf later told Poulsen that it was a huge risk for Snowden to teach a crypto party while he was working for the NSA. But he was glad he did.
Runa Sandvik said that he introduced himself as Ed. He did not want to say where he worked. The fact that Snowden organized such an event himself while still an NSA contract worker rules out that he might have been a spy for China or Russia. After all if you are a spy you don’t risk blowing your cover like that.