That time Edward Snowden and Gen. Michael Hayden took a photo together — wearing smiles and tuxedos

Wired has published a massive profile of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. And while it’s worth a read in its entirety, there’s one photo from the story that has already emerged as a standout.

Yes. Snowden is on the left, and former National Security Agency and CIA chief Michael Hayden is on the right.

Both are smiling. They are together. In tuxedos.

According to Wired, here is what Snowden was doing in 2011:

Even as his faith in the mission of US intelligence services continued to crumble, his upward climb as a trusted technical expert proceeded. In 2011 he returned to Maryland, where he spent about a year as Dell’s lead technologist working with the CIA’s account. “I would sit down with the CIO of the CIA, the CTO of the CIA, the chiefs of all the technical branches,” he says. “They would tell me their hardest technology problems, and it was my job to come up with a way to fix them.”

Snowden began working for Booz Allen in early 2013. Later that year, he provided classified documents to several journalists — including The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman — that became the source for a series of groundbreaking stories on the reach of the NSA’s surveillance.

Hayden has been a sharp critic of Snowden since those stories broke. In late 2013, Hayden called Snowden a “defector,” adding that he believes Snowden is “a troubled young man — morally arrogant to a tremendous degree — but a troubled young man.”

Hayden also said that he thinks Snowden’s life in Russia, where he was given temporary asylum, is like that of “most of the rest of the defectors who went to the old Soviet Union: Isolated, bored, lonely, depressed — and most of them ended up alcoholics.”

The actual article is illustrated with some remarkable photos of Snowden by Platon, taken earlier this year in a Russian hotel room.

Here is the cover:

Read the full Wired story here.

Abby Ohlheiser is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.
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