Army: Snowden discharged from special forces program

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The former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified data about a telecommunications surveillance program had enlisted in the Army in 2004 but was discharged after five months, the Army confirmed Monday.

Edward Joseph Snowden enlisted on May 7, 2004, and was discharged on Sept. 28, 2004, the Army said.

He enlisted as an “18X,” which was a special program for civilians without military experience to be considered for special forces. The program begins with a 17-week course that combines basic and advanced training, after which recruits attend airborne training at Fort Benning, Ga., for four weeks.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported that Mr. Snowden said he was discharged after he broke both legs in a training accident.

“I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression,” he told the Guardian. “Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone.”

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