The Guardian today released a second part of its exclusive video interview with NSA leaker Edward Snowden, purportedly recorded on June 6th, as a follow-up to the initial interview released on June 9th.
A couple highlights, transcribed from today’s video release:
“We were actually involved in misleading the public, and misleading all publics, not just the American public”
Glenn Greenwald: “When you decided to enter this world, did you do so with the intention of weaseling your way in and becoming a mole so that you could one day undermine it with disclosures, or what was your perspective and mindset about it at the time that you first sort of got into this whole realm?”
Edward Snowden: “No, I joined the intelligence community when I was very young, uh sort of the government as whole. I enlisted in the army, shortly after the invasion of Iraq and I believed in the goodness of what we were doing, I believed in the nobility of our intentions to free oppressed people overseas. But over time, over the length of my career, as I watched the news and I increasingly was exposed to true information that had not been propagandized in the media, that we were actually involved in misleading the public, and misleading all publics, not just the American public, in order to create a certain mindset in the global consciousness and I was actually a victim of that. America is a fundamentally good country, we have good people with good values who want to do the right thing, but the structures of power that exist are working to their own ends to extend their capability at the expense of the freedom of all publics.”
“The NSA lied about the existence of this tool [Boundless Informant] to Congress and to specific Congressmen in response to previous inquiries about their surveillance activities”
[Presumably] Laura Poitras: “Can you talk about what you think some of the most important primary documents are and what they reveal?”
Edward Snowden: “The primary disclosures are the fact that the NSA doesn’t limit itself to foreign intelligence. It collects all communications that transit the United States. There are literally no ingress or egress points anywhere in the [inaudible] of the United States where communication there enter or exit without being monitored and collected and analyzed. The Verizon document speaks highly to this because it literally lays out they’re using an authority that was intended to be used to seek warrants against individuals and they’re applying it to the whole society by basically subverting a corporate partnership through major telecommunications providers and they’re getting everyone’s calls, everyone’s call records. Everyone’s internet traffic as well.”
“On top of that you’ve got Boundless Informant, which is sort of a global auditing system for the NSA’s intercept and collection system that lets us track how much we’re collecting, where we’re collecting, by which authorities and so forth. The NSA lied about the existence of this tool to Congress and to specific Congressmen in response to previous inquiries about their surveillance activities. Beyond that we’ve got PRISM, which is a demonstration of how the US government co-opts US corporate power to its own ends. Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, they all get together with the NSA and provide the NSA direct access to the back-ends of all of the systems you use to communicate, to store data, to put things in the cloud, and even just to send birthday wishes and keep a record of your life. And they give NSA direct access that they don’t need to oversee so they can’t be held liable for it. I think that’s a dangerous capability for anybody to have but particularly in an organization that’s demonstrated time and time again that they’ll work to shield themselves from oversight.”
Watch the full video interview at The Guardian.
Given that several of the details in these claims have been the subject of much back and forth discussion, debate, dispute and denials, I expect that there will be more of the same that results from this interview. We’ll try to bring you some of that coverage and analysis.