The second part of NSA leaker/whistleblower Edward Snowden’s video interview with Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian has just been released to the internet.
Snowden, the former Booz Allen contractor who leaked the details of the massive National Security Agency PRISM domestic spying program, initially fled to Hong Kong from Hawaii, and on June 9 outed himself as the source of the stunning revelations about internet surveillance that was published in The Guardian. Snowden — who is now seeking asylum in Latin America — sat down with Greenwald on June 6, and the first part of the footage was released last month around the time that the UK paper published its bombshell NSA story.
In part two of the Hong Kong video (see embed above), Snowden declared that “The NSA doesn’t limit itself to foreign intelligence; it collects all intelligence that transits the United States.” He also claimed that the NSA lied to Congress about the existence of a surveillance tool called “Boundless informant” in response to lawmaker questions about the agency’s monitoring, collecting, and analyzing of digital data.
Snowden, who reportedly is still stuck in Moscow, suggested that the feds and tech companies are working together on the domestic surveillance program. He described PRISM as a way for the US government to “co-opt corporate power” (in the form of social media corporations such as Google and Facebook) for its own purposes. “They all get together with the NSA and provide the NSA with direct access to the back ends of all the systems you use to communicate and store data.”
In early June, the major tech companies denied secretly cooperating with the government in the PRISM data mining program.
He admitted that he joined the army about 10 years ago at a time when he believed in the “nobility of US intentions” to bring freedom to oppressed people. “But over time as I watched the news and was increasingly exposed to true information that had not been propagandized in the media … we were actually involved in misleading the public, misleading all publics, not just the American public, in order to create a certain mindset in the global consciousness. And I was actually a victim of that.”
During the course of the newly released footage, Snowden also predicted accurately that he would be eventually charged with espionage. “I think the government is going to launch an investigation; I think they’re going to say I’ve committed grave crimes … violated the Espionage Act … I’ve aided our enemies … but that argument can be made against anyone who reveals information that points out mass surveillance systems … fundamentally they apply equally to ourselves as they do to our enemies.”
Previously, Snowden said that “I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.” In this latest footage, he insisted that America is a fundamentally good country with good values but that the government power structure is leading us in an improper direction in terms of surveillance. And that’s why he eventually came forward. “I don’t want to live in a world where everything I do … is recorded.”
Do you think Edward Snowden is a traitor or a hero — or somewhere in between?