Photo of Edward Snowden, PRISM whistleblower
“I do not expect to see home again.” ~ Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden, a 29-year old CIA agent, worked for the CIA in Hawaii. He is the PRISM whistleblower. He said that he came forward after seeing government abuses become the normal course of business each day without anyone ever listening to concerns about the extent of it. It made him realize the public needs to know.
He said the NSA is focused on getting information any way possible in the national interest. Increasingly it is happening domestically. NSA targets the communications of everyone and stores it for a length of time because it is easy.
They are looking to target terrorists but they are collecting everyone’s data.
The authorities of analysts determine who gets targeted. Mr. Snowden said he could have wiretapped anyone and there are many more like him who have access to everyone’s data.
He said he chose to reveal his identity because the public needs to know his motives. He knows that he will be maligned but he wants people to know that he is an ordinary guy.
He believes the government is subverting their power secretly on a regular basis.
Snowden has taken refuge in Hong Kong though he knows that people could come after him no matter where he is. He said that if they want to get him, they will get him.
That is a fear he will live under for the rest of his life, he said. “You can’t go against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies” and be completely free from risk, but “at the same time you have to decide what is important to you.”
He doesn’t want to live “un-freely and comfortably.” He could choose to go to work every day and work against the public interests, he explained, but if you realize that’s the world you helped create, one that will get worse, you realize you might accept any risk and you don’t care what happens.
Everyone should care about surveillance, he told the reporter, because everyone is constantly being watched even if they are doing nothing wrong. You only have to one day fall under suspicion and then they can go back in time and drag out anything in your past to paint you as a wrong doer.
The reporter asked Snowden if he was defecting to China since he is in Hong Kong. Snowden fled to Communist China!
Snowden said he doesn’t see China as an enemy of the US firstly. Additionally Hong Kong is not the mainland and it has a strong tradition of free speech with no real Internet filter. The Hong Kong government acts independent of Western governments.
Finally, Snowden explained that he had access to undercover assets around the world and if he wanted to harm the US, he could have shut down the system in an afternoon.
The greatest fear he has is that “nothing will change.” He is afraid that people will know the powers the government is granting themselves unilaterally but they won’t be willing to take up the fight against it.
This is something that will keep getting worse, he explained in a chilling message, and one day, someone will use a crisis “to flip the switch” and “there will be nothing at that point that the people will be able to do to oppose it and it will be turnkey tyranny.”
One must keep in mind that Edward Snowden fled to Communist China after leaking the information. He doesn’t see China as an enemy – they’re our trading partners after all. Take Mr. Snowden’s words with some measure of healthy skepticism.
The reporter for the Guardian – Glenn Greenwald – is anti-American. He has promised to keep leaking as he mocks the US. The Guardian newspaper itself is no US advocate.
President Obama said he wants to keep us safe and we can take that at face value if we choose, but PRISM is one step too far it seems. Transparency from this administration might be reassuring but President Obama’s 5-minute speech didn’t cut it.
Full story and interview at the UK Guardian