December 24, 2013
Former NSA Employee Edward Snowden Says Mission Is Accomplished
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who exposed extensive details of global electronic surveillance, said on Tuesday his “mission’s already accomplished.”
Since late this spring, Snowden supplied three journalists with caches of top-secret documents from the NSA. This resulted in dozens of revelations and the story made headlines around the world. He fled the United States, first to Hong Kong, and then to Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum in August.
This week Snowden sat down for his first in-person interview with The Washington Post since arriving in Russia in June. He told the newspaper that he was satisfied with his revelations, as the public is now more informed about the US government's massive eavesdropping and snooping on phone calls and Internet use.
“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said in the interview published on Tuesday.
He said he also didn’t know if the public would share his views that what the government was doing was wrong.
“But when you weigh that against the alternative, which is not to act,” he told the paper, “you realize that some analysis is better than no analysis. Because even if your analysis proves to be wrong, the marketplace of ideas will bear that out. If you look at it from an engineering perspective, an iterative perspective, it’s clear that you have to try something rather than do nothing.”
The government surveillance program is an embarrassment for the agency, as it revealed the depth the government has gone to monitor communications in the guise of keeping the nation safe. The NSA’s collection of communications has expanded greatly since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
A federal judge has warned that the NSA’s routine collection of nearly all Americans’ phone records was likely unconstitutional and President Barack Obama weighed in last week welcoming a debate about the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. A presidential advisory panel has suggested that 46 changes be made to the NSA. While the panel called for sweeping changes to be made, it fell short of actually calling for an end to these surveillance programs.
Since Snowden’s leaks to the media, it has been revealed that a number of companies may have collaborated or at least cooperated with the NSA.
The latest revelation came late last week when security firm RSA, a division of EMC, was apparently named in a leaked document as providing a back door to allow the NSA to access its Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator.
RSA shot back on Sunday and said that while the NSA was a client it had not supplied the government agency with backdoor access to its technology.
For his own part, Snowden does not consider himself a traitor to the United States, nor does he see his actions as showing loyalty to another nation.
“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 added, “I defected from the government to the public.”