It’s been a busy couple of weeks for former NSA contractor and intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. However, he took the time to answer questions from readers of The Guardian, with a little help from his friend Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story.
Here are five of the most interesting answers from the Snowden Q&A.
Q: How many sets of the documents you disclosed did you make, and how many different people have them? If anything happens to you, do they still exist?
A: All I can say right now is the US Government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.
AP PhotoKin Cheung
Q: Edward, there is rampant speculation, outpacing facts, that you have or will provide classified US information to the Chinese or other governments in exchange for asylum. Have/will you?
A: This is a predictable smear that I anticipated before going public, as the US media has a knee-jerk “RED CHINA!” reaction to anything involving HK or the PRC, and is intended to distract from the issue of US government misconduct. Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn’t I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Q: US officials say terrorists already altering TTPs because of your leaks, & calling you traitor. Respond?
A: …it’s important to bear in mind I’m being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.
AP Photo/Kevin Wolf
Q: Why did you wait to release the documents if you said you wanted to tell the world about the NSA programs since before Obama became president?
A: Obama’s campaign promises and election gave me faith that he would lead us toward fixing the problems he outlined in his quest for votes. Many Americans felt similarly. Unfortunately, shortly after assuming power, he closed the door on investigating systemic violations of law, deepened and expanded several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to end the kind of human rights violations like we see in Guantanamo, where men still sit without charge.
Q: What would you say to others who are in a position to leak classified information that could improve public understanding of the intelligence apparatus of the USA and its effect on civil liberties?
A: This country is worth dying for.
The Guardian/AP Photo