30 January 2014

Excerpts of Edward Snowden's interview with German media

"There was an article that came out in an online outlet called BuzzFeed where they interviewed officials from the Pentagon, from the National Security Agency and they gave them anonymity to be able to say what they want and what they told the reporter was that they wanted to murder me. These individuals - and these are acting government officials. They said they would be happy, they would love to put a bullet in my head, to poison me as I was returning from the grocery store and have me die in the shower...

The National Security agency operates under the President’s executive authority alone. He can end of modify or direct a change of their policies at any time...

When you are on the inside and you go into work everyday and you sit down at the desk and you realise the power you have  - you can wire tap the President of the United States, you can wire tap a Federal Judge and if you do it carefully no one will ever know because the only way the NSA discovers abuses are from self reporting...

The Five Eyes alliance is sort of an artifact of the post World War II era where the Anglophone countries are the major powers banded together to sort of co-operate and share the costs of intelligence gathering infrastructure.  So we have the UK’s GCHQ, we have the US NSA, we have Canada’s C-Sec, we have the Australian Signals Intelligence Directorate and we have New Zealand’s DSD...

You could read anyone’s email in the world. Anybody you’ve got email address for, any website you can watch traffic to and from it, any computer that an individual sits at you can watch it, any laptop that you’re tracking you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world...

I don’t want to pre-empt the editorial decisions of journalists but what I will say is there’s no question that the US is engaged in economic spying.  If there’s information at Siemens that they think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security of the United States, they’ll go after that information and they’ll take it...

(re outsourcing work to private companies) The problem there is you end up in a situation where government policies are being influenced by private corporations who have interests that are completely divorced from the public good in mind. The result of that is what we saw at Booze Allen Hamilton where you have private individuals who have access to what the government alleges were millions and millions of records that they could walk out the door with at any time with no accountability, no oversight, no auditing, the government didn’t even know they were gone...
I worked alone. I didn’t need anybody’s help, I don’t have any ties to foreign governments, I’m not a spy for Russia or China or any other country for that matter. If I am a traitor who did I betray? I gave all of my information to the American public, to American journalists who are reporting on American issues. If they see that as treason I think people really need to consider who do they think they’re working for. The public is supposed to be their boss not their enemy... "
The fulltext (in English) is at the German website NDR.


  1. Democracy is truly the God That Failed. In the contest between fascism and communism, fascism won big time. Liberty was the first casualty.

  2. For all those who are big supporters of Snowden and Assange, I would like to say just this: while American secrecy and stuff like that is at perhaps a 6 or 7, and you keep exposing it. I would say stop, until you can expose the really secretive nations on Earth such as Russia (especially Putin), China and North Korea. When you can expose everyone's secrets, then you shouldn't expose anyones.

    Also, while I don't believe the statements that Snowden was a Russian Agent (that the Russians were quick to grant him asylum is totally due to Putin), I do think that he is a bastard, a traitor, and ... well lets just say that my thoughts towards him are very hostile. Unlike Bradley Manning (who is equally a traitor; he took a vow when he put on his uniform, and broke it) who joined the military, discovered this stuff, and then released it; Snowden went to work for the NSA with the sole intent of blowing the whistle on things that the NSA, and reportedly he lied and cheated to get said position with the NSA.

    1. Opps, I should have said <>


    2. Let's try this again. Opps, I should have said *Until you can expose everyone's secrets equally, then you shouldn't expose anyones*

    3. Clearly nobody is capable of exposing the secrets of North Korea and China (except maybe the NSA...), so what you are saying is that for that reason Snowden should not have exposed the extent to which the NSA spies on us.

      And you think then that we as American citizens would be better off not knowing what our government knows about us? And what is your view on the spying itself - that it is o.k. the way it is done? Or that it is improper, but that we just shouldn't know about it?

      (I'm not dissing you - just trying to understand a viewpoint that is so different from my own)

    4. I'm not a Christian DaBris, but even I know that the first step is to remove the beam from your own eye. We will never have as much power over others as we do over ourselves, so what better way to affect change than from within?

      Anyhow I was part of that machine, first in the military and working at the Pentagon, then mining phone records for FBI. it's not something to be proud of, but it did teach me that the real threat is internal.

      The real bastards and traitors are the people like me, who aren't screaming from the rooftops about the things that are being done to Americans quietly and without press coverage of any kind.

      In a country where you are eight times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist, Russia and N. Korea are (or should be) waaaaaaaaaay down on your triage of threats.

      These phantom threats from abroad are red herrings; they keep the chickens fighting over feel allocation while the farmer sharpens the axe.

  3. I think the average citizen seems unconcerned about spying because they have already given away all their information on Facebook for free.

    1. 'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy" by Daniel Solove


    2. That's a well-thought out debunking of the "nothing to hide" argument that comes up all the time. Thanks.

  4. I don't think the average citizen understands what this is all about. We need to stop NSA from spying on American citizens and we need to revoke the Patriot Act. I don't know if Snowden is a hero or if he's doing this for fame and fortune, but I do not believe that he is a traitor to the U.S. I am glad that he exposed government spying on us and now we need to stop it.

  5. To DaBris and others who are so hostile toward whistle blowers like Manning and Snowden, consider the view that instead of shaming your country, they are actually a credit to its underlying spirit of liberty and freedom for all, and proof that that spirit is far from dead.


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