Barton Gellman Interviews Edward Snowden

by | Dec 23, 2013 | Stress Blog | 1 comment

Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished

‘For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,’ he said. ‘I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.’

‘All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,’ he said. ‘That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals.’ …

‘That whole question ”” who elected you? ”” inverts the model,’ he said. ‘They elected me. The overseers.’

He named the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees.

‘Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions’ in committee hearings, he said. ‘Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. … The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility.’

‘It wasn’t that they put it on me as an individual ”” that I’m uniquely qualified, an angel descending from the heavens ”” as that they put it on someone, somewhere,’ he said. ‘You have the capability, and you realize every other [person] sitting around the table has the same capability but they don’t do it. So somebody has to be the first.’ …

He declined to discuss the whereabouts the files now, but he said he is confident he did not expose them to Chinese intelligence in Hong Kong and did not bring them to Russia at all.

‘There’s nothing on it,’ he said, turning his laptop screen toward his visitor. ‘My hard drive is completely blank.’ …

‘There is no evidence at all for the claim that I have loyalties to Russia or China or any country other than the United States,’ he said. ‘I have no relationship with the Russian government. I have not entered into any agreements with them.’

‘If I defected at all,’ Snowden said, ‘I defected from the government to the public.’

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