Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked thousands of the spy agency's classified documents, revealing the degree to which the government taps into our personal information, will be taking part in a video discussion with a group at Johns Hopkins University.
Part of the university's Foreign Affairs Symposium, the event takes place tonight at 8 p.m. at Shriver Hall on Hopkins' campus.
Hopkins is an interesting choice, as Snowden surely knows, given the work of the school's Applied Physics Laboratory. As ProPublica reported in 2013, the lab employs 5,000 and works with the NSA on "strategic planning, development of enterprise and program architectures, conducting quantitative analysis to support engineering decisions, development of engineering processes, and formulation of the governance structures for the work in the new Technology Directorate (TD)."
The story also reports the lab worked with the NSA to complete "a strategic study that analyzed NSA's global information technology infrastructure to determine the top locations for the large-scale data centers." The very same data centers Snowden himself exposed.
It was also in 2013 that the university took a lot of heat for ghosting a blog post, written by professor Matthew Green, about some of the shady tactics used by the NSA to break encryption. The dean of the engineering school later apologized and allowed Green to republish the blog.
As if that wasn't enough, Snowden is on record praising the release of documents last year detailing how drones were used to carry out assassinations in Yemen and Somalia, drawing concern from human rights groups. And wouldn't you know it, the Applied Physics Lab is one of the places developing drone technology, as City Paper reported in 2013.
A request for comment sent to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, of which Snowden is the director, was not immediately returned.
So is Snowden selling out, or is he going to bash Hopkins at a Hopkins-run event? Is this all an elaborate troll of the JHU monolith? Find out tonight.