In a Moscow hotel, Edward Snowden was interviewed by Brian Williams from NBC Nightly News, making it his first American televised interview to date. Once again, he had to defend his actions as being patriotic and with the goal to protect the American Constitution and its people. When asked if he sees himself as a patriot, Snowden said “I do.” And explained that part of being a patriot is knowing when to protect your country and Constitution and its’ people, and that the reasons can be bad policies, crooked officials and government errors, not just overseas problems and definitely includes government officials and their decisions.
To answer the accusation that he has damaged the Country beyond repair, Snowden stated that he and the press have asked the government to show how he has caused damage, and yet after a year they have been unable to show how or what the effects were. When asked about being in Russia, he said being surprised himself, and never intended to stay there but due to his passport being revoked, he was never able to make it to South America and stayed stuck in Moscow upon leaving HongKong.
Brian Williams brought up president Putin and asked about his relations with him. Snowden answered that he has no relation with him and is not a spy for Russia, and that he has no information to provide to them. They cannot have forced or tortured him as all documents he had on him had been previously destroyed before arriving in Moscow. Therefore Russia has nothing to offer him and he has nothing to offer them. He stated taking the precautions of destroying all his owned material before arriving there as he knew he could have been in danger.
He also had a chance to answer president’s Obama’s description of him as a “29 year old hacker” and other officials who labeled him as a low-level contractor or system analyst. Snowden destroyed that misinformation by stating he was not only a spy, but that he worked on every level of the operations. He explained the U.S. gets more information from computers and not actual human spies. He has worked undercover and overseas, using a made up identity for the CIA, the NSA and also worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he lectured and actually developed methods and systems to keep data and people secure in hostile locations. Stating that what the American government is doing, is trying to mislead the public on his real role as a spy.
He spoke on how the government exploited the fear of Americans using previous terrorist acts as an excuse to give up their own privacy and rights in ways that will never help to protect the country from future terrorism, but instead becoming a security state where freedom is no longer a reality. He said when he joined the Army, he believed that the government really wanted to do good things in Iraq and really free the people of oppression, but as he gained more knowledge and access in the spying programs he was involved, he realized how much of a lie it all was. He knew now that the public was misled and that the faith put into these intelligence programs was just given with no oversight. Leaving many mistakes and crimes to have been committed.
Brian Williams asked Edward how the NSA could use his cellphone to gain access to his private life, and Snowden’s answer was chilling. He simply said, the second it is turned on, any strong intelligence service can have full control from turning the smartphone into a microphone, take pictures with it and collect all the data it contains. He made a point to say that it only happens when a specific individual is targeted on suspicion of crimes. A very scary fact is that it can even be turned on remotely when it is powered off. He also goes in detail on how the spying system systematically fits whatever information they collect into an arbitrary form of painting a picture on a person’s habits, lifestyle and whereabouts.
The interview went on with very interesting questions being asked, bringing understanding to many of the dangers of not only the spying, but how the billions of records collected we’re not secure. Any employee could steal them under the radar without a way for the Agency to even know documents we’re taken.
Watch the full interview below while it is still up unfortunately, the video has been taken down.
Leaking information on these programs posed no risk to national security according to Snowden, but needed to be understood by the public. The public has the right to know and as Ed said; “There have been times throughout American history where what is right is not the same as what is legal. Sometimes to do the right thing, you have to break the law.”
Once again, Edward Snowden successfully clarified and solidified his innocence and well doing for his own country, setting the spotlight back on the NSA and constant worldwide surveillance. Yet at this time, Snowden cannot fulfill his wish to come home to the U.S. as the government still refuses to give him a trial, and coming home would mean direct imprisonment with no opportunity to present and defend his case. So if you still need to ask why he won’t come home and “face the music”, it is simply because there would be no fair trial allowed. The story will continue to develop and although his legal team has contacted government officials, negotiation have yet to begin.
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