NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Speaks Out Again

Snowden

Edward Snowden, the former Booz Allen Hamilton employee who has sought refuge in Hong Kong after the release of documents related to the NSA and its surveillance of American citizens, spoke out today in an interview with the South China Morning Post:

“People who think I made a mistake in picking Hong Kong as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden said in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.

“I have had many opportunities to flee HK, but I would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law,” he added.

Snowden says he has committed no crimes in Hong Kong and has “been given no reason to doubt [Hong Kong’s legal] system”.

“My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate,” he said.

More than 50,000 people have signed a White House petition to pardon Snowden, Politico reports.

“Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs,” the petition states on the “We the People” website.

The White House says there is an investigation underway and for that reason it cannot comment on the Snowden case.

Comments

  1. EchtKultig says

    NB that once the “military-industrial-media-permanentWashington complex” gets its smear machine in full swing, they will be attempting to besmirch this story because Glenn Greenwald is gay and has a husband in non-aligned Brazil. Apparently that was already a subtext of some of the guests on Charlie Rose’s recent show, but I haven’t been able to watch it yet.

  2. Polyboy says

    “Criminality?” The fact of the matter is that FISA is a law put in place by Congress. That makes any talk of “criminality” spurious. Even the AP has issued guidance that he is, in fact, not a whistleblower. Even the Verizon “evidence” was the result of a FISA warrant.

    The media was tepid at best when the previous administration wanted to ignore FISA entirely. They just need a summer scandal until the next media friendly murder trial.

    Snowden is probably a spy driven by self interest. It isn’t “justice” or he’d try to get actual dirt instead of revealing something that was announced in 2010, when the NSA was building that data churning center.

    Hell, where was the media in 2001, 2006, and 2008, all hot points in the Patriot Act, FISA amendment, Electronic Frontier Foundation law suit timeline?

    They were flogging some trial, or kidnapping. With no sexy blood crime to exploit, they capitalize on the selective amnesia and outrage of the populace.

    Instant drama, no actual crime. Just because someone is outraged, doesn’t make something illegal.

    You want new laws, get a new Congress. They make the laws, they put FISA and its amendments in place.

  3. ratbastard says

    This whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test. Picking HK, which whatever Mr. Snowden says, is still very much a part of the PRC, and they very much call the shots. They’ve impressed on the world a particular Hong Kong brand so-to-speak, but rule of law? Mr. Snowden isn’t s stupid or ignorant man, so that statement alone makes him highly questionable. And his appearance coincides with POTUS meeting the president of China, where Chinese hacking was supposed to be a big issue? Coincidence? No.

    What’s going on? Who knows. Well, some people know, but not the general public.

  4. Ray T says

    Snowdon is apparently straight. Good to see a young straight person showing the intestinal fortitude so many young people in our community have been showing for years in our struggle for full citizenship. TOM! Just because congress passes a law and the president signs it does not make it legal. It must also conform to the Constitution. If it does not conform to the constitution then it is in fact an illegal act and needs to be exposed. With the government now gaining access to commit crimes through a secret court, shades of the inquisition, People like Snowdon and Manning are heroes

  5. Paul R says

    HK has among the strongest extradition agreements with the US. It makes no sense for him to go there. The government will do whatever we want.

    Also, this spying story isn’t exactly news. It started immediately after 9/11. Recall all the big telecoms being forced to admit what they did. They tried it on me and my ex discovered it in seconds and put up tons of firewalls. This doesn’t seem like a new story.

  6. Fancy Pants says

    Until a Court calls it unconstitutional, it is the law. The idea anyone who believes a law is unjust should ignore it would lead to a troublesome society. And if you do feel so strongly that a law is unjust that you break it, you should be willing to stand up and suffer the consequences of your actions instead of running and hiding. I’d have a lot more respect for his idealism.

    Oh and by the way, the law is most likely constitutional. What might not be constitutional is the way the FISA court system was set up to allow these warrantless activities. But I have zero doubt there are circumstances where the government can do precisely what it has been doing. Our problem is we have no idea how a court is applying the balancing test. Then again, if we did, that would negate the need for the secrecy.

    Living in a large city that would undoubtedly be a target on any terrorist list, I have to say, at the end of the day, I can live with the intrusion if it might one day stop someone from blowing themselves up on my subway train or god forbid, a small nuclear device.

  7. MickyFlip says

    I asked a friend of mine what he felt about this whole situation regarding Mr. Snowden. He replied he really didn’t know. But he didn’t feel he deserved to be dubbed a “hero” considering all he did was confirm what we all have already suspected from the beginning. Just saying.

  8. Jack M says

    He’s very naive. If they want him, they’ll get him. There are too many powerful people who are quite unhappy with him, and I’ll bet they have a very long reach.

  9. anon says

    How hard would it be to believe that other Booz Allen employees or NSA employees are selling secrets to the Chinese? How did US weapons designs end up being stolen? Probably through defense contractors.* Those backdoors to our computer networks are worth a lot of money.

    *And we’ll probably never know because that would be embarrassing.

  10. major707 says

    Say Fancy Pants….just a few years ago Sodomy was illegal, so were you breaking the law? Just asking. We don’t want to act like those bible thumpers that cherry pick the “laws” they like, now do we?

  11. will says

    “Self-impressed”? Trying to get “his 15 minutes”? And not a shred of evidence is offered for this. Just tired queens trying to quip, I suppose.

    Edward was making over $200,000 a year, has a devoted girlfriend and a nice life — and you all think he threw all thyat away for possible federal prison time and “15 minutes”?

    I detest the shallowness on these threads with dull, mediocre gay playing Freud. God forbid the guy actually believes in transparancy in government and shining a light on injustice.

  12. gr8guyca says

    @ will. I agree. He fits into the Daniel Ellsberg mode. He saw something that be believed was wrong and brought it to light.

    Some have posted that it’s “old news.” Well, given the coverage that this has received, clearly it isn’t. And I don’t think that most people were aware of the depth of the surveillance.

    I suspect that this will follow the Ellsberg route: Condemnation. Trial. Vindication. Admiration.

  13. ratbastard says

    @major707,

    Booz says his salary was $120,000/year. Did the CIA give him $200,000./year? Possible, somehow I doubt it. Which begs the question, why did he leave the CIA and join Booz? Most people generally will go more $. And he’s only been with Booz for 3 months. So 3 months on the job with a private contractor, and he’s releasing NSA data and flying off to HK, minus his GF. The whole thing is intriguing.

  14. will says

    gr8guyca:

    Maybe you can help me with something. Glenn Greenwald is the reporter Edward went to, probably because of Glenn’s past positions on intrusive government surveillance which matched his own. Greenwald said there is still more information that was given him that will be printed in the coming months. Greenwald has said repeatedly that as a journalist he has, under the first amendment, a constitutional right to publish these secrets.

    Is there a difference between Glenn and Julian Assange? Glenn is an american citizen and Julian isn’t. Will Glenn — and The Guardian — in fact be allowed to publish and keep publishing leaked info or can the first amendment be circumvented by the feds?

  15. EchtKultig says

    FWIW I posted what I posted, only to point out there was a gay aspect of the story. Just as there was in the Manning case. Fodder for homophobes because Greenwald is openly gay. As to whether Snowden was a hero or a traitor, the best WP.com comment I read about this entire story said “We will probably never know, because the answer will be classified” – too clever by half for a lot of stupid people to understand, but tying back to anon’s point above. If a low level employee was able to do this with such apparent ease, for all we know 100 other NSA employees & contractors are making money selling secrets to the the Chinese, the Russians, and corporations. That is the _real_ meaning of this so-called _leak_.

  16. yup, just yup says

    Agree with polyboy. Except I add the current administration’s and the current inept fraud-in-chief’s complicity (along with the media’s) to take the spotlight off of the real scandals: Benghazi, the IRS, and the AP. I’m looking for more ‘drama’ for the media to spin up for the rest of the summer, some nice concocted BS. Zimmerman trial should do nicely. Keeps the bigots and race-baiters busy, right?

  17. Kev C says

    Fancy Pants wrong: “Until a Court calls it unconstitutional, it is the law.”

    And we need to stop Congress from passing laws without a Constitution test before hand. The reality is that every law passed on citizens by Congress limits their freedom. The Constitution differs from lawmakers in that they limit the government, and not the citizen. In that respect, most laws are probably not Constitutional. And CERTAINLY, government secrets are not constitutional but anti-democratic.

  18. Deeee! says

    Wow! the government is spying on you? Shocking! I mean, why would they want to keep tabs on the people running around in the country. Terrorism is so over, right? Corruption and crime are so last season. The point is, this has been going on for a while. You didn’t notice it, and you didn’t feel any different. These “freedoms” you’re yelling about have never existed, and you didn’t miss them. Secondly, so what if the government monitors you? There’s a practical reason, this isn’t 1984 or something. They aren’t doing it to score sweet gossip. And I love how you called him a “hero” for willfully endangering national security based on his own sense of righteousness. He’s leaking sensitive American information…from China.

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