A new interview during which exiled NSA leaker Edward Snowden takes questions following his unmasking by journalist Glenn Greenwald with The Guardian was published by the paper, shedding light on at least some of the major questions left in the wake of Snowden's shocking actions.
In the press, Edward Snowden has been equally lauded as a hero and lambasted as a reckless attention whore, with opinion divided about his revelation on NSA spying.
Snowden had his first real chance to speak directly to the Western world following his coming out last weekend as the source of the information (at his own insistence, Greenwald said), and was able to explain some of his actions in the live chat with Guardian readers.
In the first question posed, Snowden answers about why he chose Hong Kong, speaks about leaks regarding spying on that location, and addresses what he believes is one outcome of the leaks:
First, the US Government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal, and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime. That's not justice, and it would be foolish to volunteer yourself to it if you can do more good outside of prison than in it.
Second, let's be clear: I did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets. I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous. These nakedly, aggressively criminal acts are wrong no matter the target. Not only that, when NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash. Congress hasn't declared war on the countries - the majority of them are our allies - but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people.
All I can say right now is the US Government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.
In further questioning, Greenwald and Snowden touch on the scope of NSA spying, and Greenwald asks Snowden to clarify whether the NSA has a record of communications alone, or a record of the content of communications.
Both. If I target for example an email address, for example under FAA 702, and that email address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it. All of it. IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything. And it gets saved for a very long time - and can be extended further with waivers rather than warrants.
Edward Snowden also clarifies that he did not act sooner due to the fact he had faith President Obama may change the course in issues of domestic spying, but felt the need to act once it became clear nothing had changed.
Edward Snowden: "Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American" http://t.co/Yx8gaV38rp
— Gawker (@Gawker) June 17, 2013
You can read Edward Snowden's live Guardian chat with Glenn Greenwald over at the paper's site.