Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

Edward Snowden Just Got A Twitter Account

He's following @NSA, but @NSA isn't following him back... Or are they?

Posted on September 29, 2015, at 1:09 p.m. ET

Famed National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden created a Twitter account Tuesday morning and everyone flipped out.

In the first 30 minutes of the account's existence, the American-in-exile tweeted twice and gained more than 65,000 followers.

Snowden himself is following only one Twitter user: the NSA.

Snowden, a former employee of the CIA, has lived in asylum in Russia since turning over a store of top-secret documents to reporters in 2013. He has been charged with one count of theft of government property, and two counts of unauthorized communication for confidential government information under the Espionage Act of 1917.

Despite this, he has frequently given interviews using video links β€” sometimes even robots β€” and he even did a Reddit Ask Me Anything.

The creation of a Twitter account is a new level of accessibility, especially since he has enabled direct messaging. (BuzzFeed News sent a message. He has not yet responded.)

Snowden seemed to joke about creating a Twitter account in a two-part interview with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the second part of which was released Friday night.

After asking Snowden why he was not on Twitter, Tyson said, "You kind of need a Twitter handle. So like @Snowden, maybe? Is this something you might do?" In response, Snowden said, "I think we've got to make it happen."

"You and I will be Twitter buddies," Snowden told Tyson. "Your followers will be the internet, me, and the NSA."

A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed to BuzzFeed News the @Snowden handle was previously owned by someone who had not used it in three years, so Twitter agreed to turn it over to the man himself.

Snowden's lawyer, Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union, has confirmed that Snowden will control the account himself. Wizner did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

As promised, Snowden and Tyson instantly engaged in a friendly and teasing Twitter conversation that ranged from the joking, to the nerdy, to the truly profound.

.@neiltyson Thanks for the welcome. And now we've got water on Mars! Do you think they check passports at the border? Asking for a friend.

.@neiltyson Surveillance never sleeps, and secret projects @FreedomofPress are keeping me busy, but I still find time for cat pictures.

Ed @Snowden, many call you Hero, others Traitor. Whatever else you are, you’re a Geek to me. What do you say to those labels?

.@neiltyson, @DanielEllsberg told me #labels never stopped progress. Neither in 1776 nor today. [2/2]

Many of his now hundreds of thousands of followers β€” a number increasing by the second β€” are excited to have such open access to Snowden, some even using the opportunity to do what the internet does best: poke fun.

So, er, did Edward Snowden lovingly place these newspapers about himself for this photo?

Dude's first tweet is a Verizon tagline. Clearly gets that Twitter is all about #brands.

Even the "hero/traitor" himself decided to get in on the joke.

Meanwhile, a thousand people at Fort Meade just opened Twitter.

It's funny ’cause it's probably true.