5 ways NSA leaker Edward Snowden's story isn't holding up

In ways both big and small, Snowden's tale of patriotic betrayal is spouting its own leaks

A TV screen in a Hong Kong restaurant shows a news report on Edward Snowden on June 12.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old IT specialist who leaked a trove of top secret National Security Agency documents, insisted in his coming-out video that he doesn't want to be the story. If that was really his wish, it hasn't come true. Fierce debate has erupted over whether he's a hero or traitor, dangerous or productively disruptive, and the media has even developed a certain (mildly disturbing) fascination with an acrobat who could be Snowden's apparently abandoned girlfriend.

Nobody's disputing that the documents he leaked — and there are apparently dozens more in activist-journalist Glenn Greenwald's hopper — are real and revealing. Some of the more explosive details in the initial reporting of his NSA leaks aren't holding up to scrutiny, though — and now even the story he tells about himself is starting to unravel a bit. Here, five ways Snowden's professed biography is coming under fire:

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