Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency, slipped out of the U.S. in late May, traveling to Hong Kong with computers full of secret documents in order to expose what he called "horrifying" U.S. government surveillance capabilities.
He began in the shadows, leaking top secret files to The Guardian and The Washington Post, but just a few days after the first stories broke, Snowden stepped into the media spotlight himself, confessing to being the papers' source and telling viewers a little bit about himself.
Since then, little by little, the details of Snowden's life – the parts he left out -- have emerged, providing a picture of a smart kid who dropped out of high school only to embark on his own patchwork college education on his way to working for one of the most shadowy espionage agencies in the world. Here's what we know so far:
June 21, 1983: Edward Snowden is born. He would spend some of his childhood in Elisabeth City, N.C. and then move with his family to Maryland. (Source: Army records, The Guardian)
1991-1998: Snowden attends schools in the Anne Arundel County Public School System in Maryland from the elementary level to high school, where he dropped out his sophomore year. He'll later say he earned his GED. (Source: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, The Guardian)
1999-2005: Snowden takes a variety of classes from Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland. He does not take any cyber security or computer science classes, however, and he never earns a certificate or degree. (Source: Anne Arundel Community College)
2002: Snowden attends Catonsville Community College, according to his Army records, but a spokesperson for the school told ABC News that the name for that school had been changed in 1998 and there was "no record" of any student by that name. (Source: Army records, Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville)
February-May 2002: A student with the name Ed Snowden takes a Windows systems engineering course at a for-profit entity called Advanced Career Technologies. The school offered career training in Columbia, Maryland, under the name "Computer Career Institute at Johns Hopkins University." Hopkins ended its relationship with the company in 2009 and it shut down in 2012. A source told ABC News Snowden had said he attended classes at Johns Hopkins on the campus in Columbia, Maryland. A spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins University said they have "no record" of Edward Snowden taking classes there. (Source: ABC News sources, Maryland Higher Education Commission)
May 7, 2004: Snowden enlists in the U.S. Army Reserve's 18-X program, designed to fast track recruits who want to join the U.S. Special Forces, popularly known as the Green Berets. Later Snowden will say he broke both his legs in training and was discharged. Army records show his discharge in September of that year. (Source: Army records, The Guardian)
Post-Military: Without providing dates, Snowden told The Guardian that following his brief flirtation with the military, he got a job working as a security guard for a covert NSA facility at the University of Maryland. From there, he joined the CIA and worked in IT security. (Source: The Guardian)