There is a short clip of Edward Snowden speaking in Moscow on the occasion of receiving the Sam Adams Award, where he explains why the mass surveillance programs carried out by agencies like the NSA are actually making us less safe, not more.
Snowden, who faces espionage charges in the U.S. over the leak, described the techniques as “dragnet mass surveillance that puts entire populations under sort of an eye that sees everything even when it’s not needed.”
“They hurt our economy. They hurt our country. They limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and to associate freely,” Snowden said.
Snowden said the U.S. government was “unwilling to prosecute high officials who lied to Congress and the country on camera, but they’ll stop at nothing to persecute someone who told them the truth.”
Thanks to reader Marcus Ranum,, I learned that the CIA issued a warning about Snowden back in 2009 when he was working for them that he was going into areas that he was not supposed to but that warning went unheeded.
The C.I.A. suspected that Mr. Snowden was trying to break into classified computer files to which he was not authorized to have access, and decided to send him home, according to two senior American officials.
But the red flags went unheeded. Mr. Snowden left the C.I.A. to become a contractor for the National Security Agency, and four years later he leaked thousands of classified documents. The supervisor’s cautionary note and the C.I.A.’s suspicions apparently were not forwarded to the N.S.A. or its contractors, and surfaced only after federal investigators began scrutinizing Mr. Snowden’s record once the documents began spilling out, intelligence and law enforcement officials said.
Their loss, our gain.