Last night, NBC's Brian Williams conducted the first US TV interview with Edward Snowden. You won't find any new NSA programs or Silicon Valley secrets, but it's an excellent summary of who Snowden is, what he's done, and why he did it, in his own words. The roughly 40-minute interview is split into six segments, but you can watch them sequentially starting with Part 1 below.
Think about it, deeply, for a sec. Your phone is a gateway to the entire world, and the NSA can always be watching and literally listening.— Sam Sheffer (@samsheffer) May 29, 2014
Some choice facts:
- Snowden reiterates that he no longer has any access to his documents, and that he has "no relationship with the Russian government at all," once again denying accusations of feeding it classified information.
- Brian Williams owns "the most expensive" burner phone Snowden has ever seen. But a security consulting group has disputed Snowden's claim that government surveillance agents could turn it on remotely.
- Snowden describes being shaped by the events of the Bush administration, going from a prospective soldier (he dropped out after being injured in basic training) to a deep skeptic. "The Iraq war that I signed up for," he says, "was launched on false premises. The American people were misled."
- Many of Snowden's critics have rejected his claim of "civil disobedience" because of his flight from the US, saying he should return and "face the music." But he argues that right now, prosecution under the Espionage Act is inherently unjust. "You have to understand that 'the music' is not an open court and a fair trial."
- Edward Snowden finally confirms: "I'm a human being."