Edward Snowden Interview At LiveLeak: On Clapper Lying to Congress and the Possibility of Clemency

Snowden ObamaGerman TV interviewed NSA whistleblower
Edward Snowden and the video of the 30 minute interview is now
available at
. Not surprisingly, a good bit of the interview focused
on NSA spying alliances, activities and capabilities in Europe.

The German reporter did, however, ask if Snowden was worried
about threats to his life. Given the
BuzzFeed report
in which anonymous government functionaries
asserted that they would be happy to kill him, Snowden sensibly
replied yes, but that he still slept well at night.

Below are some selected quotations from the interview. For
example, the interviewer asked Snowden if there was a specific
“breaking point” at which he decided to go public with his

Snowden: The breaking point is seeing the Director of National
Intelligence, James Clapper,
directly lie under oath to Congress
– there is no saving an
intelligence community that believes that it can lie to the public
and to legislators who need to be able to trust it and regulate its
actions. Seeing that really meant for me there was no going back.
Beyond that, it was the creeping realization that no one else was
going to do this. The public had a right to know about these
programs. The public had a right to know that which the government
is doing in its name.

The interviewer mentioned that the
New York Times had urged clemency
for Snowden and that
President Obama had ruled that out. The interviewer then cited the
president as noting that Snowden had been charged with three
felonies and then declared: “If you, Edward Snowden, believe in
what you did, you should come back to America and appear before the
court with your lawyer and make your case.”

In the interview, Snowden replied:

It’s interesting because he mentions three felonies. What he
doesn’t say is that the crimes that he’s charged me with are crimes
that don’t allow me to make my case; they don’t allow me to defend
myself in an open court to the public and convince a jury that what
I did was to their benefit. The Espionage Act … was never intended
to prosecute journalistic sources, people who are informing the
newspapers about information that is in the public interest. It was
intended for people who are selling documents in secret to foreign
governments, who are bombing bridges, who are sabotaging
communications, not for people who are serving the public good. So
it’s, I would say illustrative, that the president would choose to
say that someone should face the music when he knows that the music
is a show trial.

For more background, see my blogpost, “Should
Snowden Have Run Away?
” and my articles, “Thank
You Edward Snowden
,” and “President
Obama: Pardon Edward Snowden

H/T David Ford.

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