US blacking out Snowden interview?

As I wrote recently, last Sunday the German television station ARD broadcast an interview with Edward Snowden in Moscow in which he revealed a few more details about NSA spying such as that they were also targeting big German corporations such as Siemens. I based my comments on a print report of the TV interview that appeared in the Guardian and in the comments reader Jorg was kind enough to provide a link to the actual broadcast.

I assumed that the interview would get good coverage but since I do not watch TV news I did not follow up. But Charlton Stanley says that the US government and its loyal media seem to have made a concerted effort to prevent people from seeing the interview. Stanley writes:

Last Sunday, former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden was interviewed for the German television network ARD. The interview was big news in Germany and much of the world in both print and broadcast media. However, the interview appears to have been blocked intentionally by US government authorities. In fact, the media in the US appears to have gone to ‘radio silence’ about it. It has been posted on YouTube several times, but is taken down almost immediately. The video site Vimeo has it embedded, but as I write this, Vimeo is under a DDoS attack.

When I went back to check Jorg’s link I got the following message

Sorry, “Edward Snowden’s First Television Interview (ARD/Germany)” was deleted at 3:41:53 Fri Jan 31, 2014.

Vimeo has removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by NDR claiming that this material is infringing: Edward Snowden’s First Television Interview (ARD/Germany).

This made me curious. Has anyone in the US seen any coverage of the ARD Snowden interview in the major media?

Stanley provides another link to the 30-minute interview that I give below. It is must-watch TV but I don’t know how long it will be up so see it now.

(UPDATE: So the above site seems to have also been taken down but you can see it here.)

After watching the 30-minute interview I can understand why the US government is freaking out. Snowden comes across as a thoughtful, calm, intelligent, and articulate person who chooses his words very carefully and makes the case for why what he did was right in a very compelling way. Put this guy up alone in a debate against president Obama, James Clapper, Keith Alexander, Diane Feinstein, Mike Rogers, and all the other shifty liars who try to defend the NSA and it is absolutely no contest. Even the German interviewer seemed sympathetic to Snowden.

Snowden is also careful to not reveal any new information, saying that it is up to the journalists to whom he gave the documents to make the judgment as to what is in the public interest. But he drops enough hints to lead us to expect future stories to reveal that the tapping of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone was just the tip of the iceberg and the phones of government officials all the way down the line were also tapped in Germany and other countries, and that Siemens is by no means the only foreign company to be spied upon. Snowden says that the US spies on anyone or any entity as long as it is in the US’s national interest as opposed to national security, contrary to what Obama and others claim.

I think the US government realizes, after watching this interview, that they absolutely cannot let Snowden make his case directly to the US public, which is why the charges against him are based on the Espionage Act. Those provisions are such that if he ever comes to the US, he will not be allowed by law to make his case as to why he did what he did. So Obama and the rest who say that he should come back and face the legal system are as usual, not telling Americans the whole truth.

This episode made me curious as to whether any major US media has made any attempt to get an interview with Snowden or whether they are too afraid of offending the US government by allowing him to make his case directly to the American people. Some have already been accused of abetting treason for publishing the stories and they may well be too scared. Meanwhile, while this is going on, John Kerry feels free to lecture other countries on what constitutes democracy and why they should not suppress dissent.

Such is the sorry state of the US government and media.


  1. says

    Hi Mano,

    you are reading too much into this. The German TV station NDR just was too lame to secure international rights for distributing the video. Here is their FAQ on this matter (in German):

    Hanlon’s razor applies. 😉

    There is even an official version of the video on YouTube:
    You might view it with your usual tips for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report:

  2. wtfwhateverd00d says


    We need to keep our paranoia in check. That article is B.S. — wrong on all the verifiable points. And the rest is just random guesses.

    I went and checked the German news (I’m American but lived in Germany 5 years, and am still fluent) and it turns out that ARD screwed the pooch on this one: the two most respected media outlets in Germany are pissed off and have written about ARD’s shoddy editing and refusal to provide easy access to the full interview. Here are my translations for the titles:

    Der Spiegel “ARD relegates Snowden interview to the middle of the night”

    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (“FAZ”) “The Snowden interview is going around the world … or not?

    Now, the Spiegel linked to ARD’s mini-site for Snowden stuff, which claims to have the full video and full transcript in


    And then this article all about how ARD at first would only put the interview out with the German dubbing. Then, under pressure, ARD released it with the original sound. But, wouldn’t make it accessible overseas…

    Der Spiegel

    **Here we go with the dastardly mainstream media claim again!!**

    Let’s put these assertions to the test

    > *WSWS: The interview, broadcast by the German television network ARD, was largely blacked out by the US media. The New York Times carried not a word of what Snowden said, while the cable and broadcast news programs treated the interview with near total silence.*

    This isn’t hard to verify…

    [ABC News mentioned it](, go to 1:47 of the segment.

    [The Associated Press covered it](

    > [Snowden] also said U.S. government representatives wanted to kill him, according to a simultaneous German translation by the station. Snowden referred to an article he had read on Buzzfeed in which U.S. government representatives had told a reporter that they wanted to kill him.

    [The Boston Globe]( also carried this AP story.

    [New York Magazine](

    > Alluding to the murderous fantasies intelligence officials shared with BuzzFeed last week, Snowden’s lawyer in Moscow, Anatoly Kucherena, said he’s asking the local government for protection. “Edward really believes his life and safety are at risk,” Kucherena said. “Since he’s a temporary refugee, he has the same rights and responsibilities as any Russian citizen.”

    [SF Gate](

    > And some spooks aren’t hiding their anger anymore, as seen by several candid quotes from a new report by Benny Johnson of Buzzfeed…

    [Yahoo News](

    > Fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden voiced fears that US “government officials want to kill me”, in a TV interview to be broadcast in Germany Sunday.

    [The Hill](

    > Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden claims in a new interview that his life is in danger.

    [TIME Magazine](

    > The whistleblower, who has been granted asylum in Russia, cited reports of anonymous U.S. officials wishing him harm. “These people, and they are government officials, have said they would love to put a bullet in my head or poison me when I come out of the supermarket and then watch me die in the shower,” Snowden said.

    Maybe you should reconsider this source? Well if still unsure, here – have some more!

    [The Daily Beast](

    [Chicago Tribune](,0,1904145.story)


    [NBC News](


    In light of this actual evidence, would you consider this “largely blacked out by the US media”!? If so, your reality is tainted, and I am curious to know what arbitrary threshold would suffice?

    The part that really cracks me up is blaming the New York Times. What’s the implication here – that they don’t care!? Are we talking about the [same NYT that reported on the latest Snowden thing yesterday!](

    Lastly, here is the kicker from this garbage wsws article. The whole claim that the “‘mainstream media’ and journalism is unfair and we are all being manipulated like morons” (except the stalwart viewers of wsws of course):

    > *WSWS: This form of “journalism” reflects the class interests of the giant corporations that control the mass media and of the capitalist system as a whole. Its coverage of the NSA revelations themselves has been abysmal, minimizing the significance of the mass domestic spying operations. It is significant that in the face of this media manipulation, Snowden enjoys powerful support within the American public, and hostility to the NSA spying has continued to grow since his revelations.*

    Abysmal!? The Washington Post, New York Times and the Guardian have led the way on this reporting! This whole article’s purpose strikes me as a “make a claim of mainstream media bias” and then lazily back it up. But when some actual scrutiny is applied, it crumbles into itself. That site is trash. What reporting did it do!? Oh that’s right – none. Because it is merely a fucking blog that relies on original content from the actual traditional news sources it hypocritically derides. Assuming this author isn’t an incompetent moron, he probably intentionally titled the article to get precious page views to sustain their pathetic existence. In the real world, the coverage of the Snowden revelations has been amazing! We get the **source documents** from the NYT, WP, Guardian and ProPublica, they explain them in great detail, then we can go to the opinions and blogs for summarization and political talking points (if that’s what you seek).


    A recurring criticism of my post is that it doesn’t include any of the 24/7 news networks (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC). I acknowledged that just because I did not post any, does not mean it is non-existent. Anyways, shout out to /u/cynognathus who directed me to CNN’s website which contains transcripts.

    Here is what he found:

    [CNN Around the Word, Aired January 27, 2014](

    > MALVEAUX: Edward Snowden, making new accusations now against the NSA, this time for the former NSA contractor has now told the German public broadcaster, ARD, the NSA’s spying also included industrial espionage.

    > HOLMES: He says that companies were targeted, even if there was no threat to national security.

    > And he also says U.S. officials want to have him killed.

    > This is what he says. Quote, “These people, and they are government officials, have said they would love to put a bullet in my head, or poison me when I come out of the supermarket, and then watch me die in the shower,” unquote.

    [CNN Newsroom, Aired January 27, 2014](

    > Edward Snowden making headlines again this morning lobbying out new accusations about Washington’s secret surveillance programs. Snowden tells German public broadcaster, ARD, that the NSA spying also included industrial espionage. Snowden says companies were targeted, even though there was no threat of national security. He says U.S. officials want to have him killed too.

    > CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, in Washington. They want to have him killed?

    > BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, that’s what he is saying. That’s the latest, Carol, in a very lengthy interview that Edward Snowden gave a German broadcaster from where he is currently residing in Moscow. Now, I just want to get right to it and read you part of what Snowden told the Germans.

    > He said, quote, “These people and they are government officials, have said they would love to put a bullet in my head or poison me when I come out of the supermarket and then watch me die in the shower.” We have no real understanding of who exactly Edward Snowden believes wants to kill him. The United States, of course, has charges against him. He has talked about the fact that he would come back to the United States if he didn’t have legal jeopardy, that the whistle blower protections don’t cover him. There is no indication at this point that the Obama administration wants to give him amnesty, forgiveness or any of that. They want him back. The official word is they want to prosecute him.

    [CNN Newsroom, Aired January 27, 2009 at 9:00 ET](

    > COSTELLO: Police say Aguilar legally bought the 12-gauge shotgun back in December. Investigators say he was also carrying a backpack with two homemade bombs but both were disabled.

    > Edward Snowden is making headlines again this morning. Lobbying out new accusation about Washington’s secret surveillance programs. Snowden tells a German public broadcaster ARD that the NSA’s spying also included industrial espionage. He said companies were targeted even if there was no threat to national security and Snowden says U.S. officials want to have him killed.

    There wasn’t any coverage today on him allegedly being targeted but several references to the newest cell-phone (angry birds) story.

    MSNBC and Fox News didn’t have transcripts of its daily news segments and only had its primetime opinion stuff. However, the Snowden interview was generally publicized over the weekend when these shows were not on. For example, look at [the dates for the Rachel Maddow transcripts]( The Snowden interview occurs in the interim.

  3. khms says

    When I went back to check Jorg’s link I got the following message

    Sorry, “Edward Snowden’s First Television Interview (ARD/Germany)” was deleted at 3:41:53 Fri Jan 31, 2014.

    Vimeo has removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by NDR claiming that this material is infringing: Edward Snowden’s First Television Interview (ARD/Germany).

    This does not sound to me like US government action. NDR (an ARD member) is, of course, the copyright owner for this interview, so it looks like they are protecting their copyright, presumably because they are looking to sell it to other stations.

  4. says

    The video was made by the production company Cinecentrum, which is a daughter of marketing company Studio Hamburg, which is a daughter of NDR. To provide the legalese to get international rights might take forever. 😉
    The situation was messed up from the beginning.

  5. Jockaira says

    Special Thanks to Jorg and Mano both. It is doubtful that this inteview and the information from it would have been available to the people in the US in any other way.

    I guess this puts me and any others having watched this right in the NSA’s crotchhairs.

  6. Glenn says

    WYCCW 20.3 Sun, Feb 2
    10:00 PM Snowden Exclusive: The Interview

    Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is interviewed. Topics include his revelations regarding the NSA surveillance program, industrial espionage and death threats that he’s received.

  7. says

    Meanwhile, while this is going on, John Kerry feels free to lecture other countries on what constitutes democracy and why they should not suppress dissent.

    Remember when hypocrite-in-chief, Hillary Clinton, used to regularly lecture the Chinese Government about how they should stop hacking US computers and stealing US secrets? AAAaaaaah, those were the good old days!!

  8. hyphenman says

    Good morning Mano,

    Here’s the bit in all of this that I can not understand: as Snowden correctly asserts, James Clapper lied to Congress, full stop. Why:

    A. Does James Clapper still have a job? and

    B. Why isn’t James Clapper facing charges for lying to Congress?

    Do all you can to make today a good day,

    Jeff Hess
    Have Coffee Will Write


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