Several news agencies have labeled National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden as a "failed male model"—and now there may be proof. In attempts to find evidence of his supposed modeling days, The Daily Beast stumbled upon these early head shots, posted to Internet forum Ars Technica in 2001. The 12 shots, which are entirely unverified, bear a striking resemblence to Snowden. Aggregated to websites like The Daily Dot and Little Green Footballs, the forum exchange is now hosted on the Internet archive Wayback Machine.
The original thread, which appears to have been uploaded by Snowden himself under the alias TheTrueHOOHA, was accompanied by the following caption: "So I got invited to model for this guy (potentially NSFW) last week, and I just now got the proofs back from him. He shoots mostly guys, and he's got some... 'questionable' people interested in his work, so I was actually a little worried he might, you know, try to pull my pants off and choke me to death with them, but he turned out to be legit and is a pretty damn good model photographer. It's only my third shoot, so be gentle."
The pictures embody true early-’00s suburban fashion—’N Sync–esque spiky hair, a beaded necklace, and leather bracelets included. It's almost as if A.J. McLean's brother was on the lookout for a solo career.
The photos earned a multitude of forum responses, which ranged from “Not bad at all. Add a little muscle tone, and I don't see why you couldn't get into modeling more seriously,” to “You should do something about the bags under your eyes. Who does your makeup?”
Of course Snowden, who is now reportedly holed up in Moscow, could not be reached for comment.