I'm not one for conspiracy theories or anything, but I swear to you that at one point earlier this year I questioned whether or not Edward Snowden was a real person.
Why was the news running the same picture of this guy over and over? And why did we never hear anything from the man himself? It all seemed to be a little bit fishy to me, know what I mean?
Of course, I'm half-kidding when I say that (though not about the photo thing. Seriously, hadn't someone else taken a picture of him at some point?). Whatever you may think of him, and what he did, Snowden is indeed a real person who had a major impact on our country for a long time to come.
Now, on the same week that the President's advisory panel recommended substantial new restrictions on the NSA, it seems like Snowden is finally, after months of silence, ready to talk.
In his first interview since being revealed as the leaker of classified information regarding surveillance done by the NSA earlier this year, Snowden told the Washington Post on Monday that he had accomplished what he had set out to do, talked about why he felt he had to take the actions he did and accusations that he has defected to Russia.
Here are some of the most important quotes from the piece:
- He completed his goal:
“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.”
- Why he felt the need to release the documents in the first place
“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.”
- On the future of the NSA
“I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA,” he said. “I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”
- On whether he has "defected to Russia"
“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. I have no relationship with the Russian government. I have not entered into any agreements with them.”
“If I defected at all,” he said, “I defected from the government to the public.”
(Image source: http://www.npr.org)