reflecting on his decision zu go public v classified information, Edward Snowden says, "The likeliest outcome zum me, hands down, was that I"d spend ns rest of my life in an orange jumpsuit, however that was a danger that ich had to take."

Courtesy von Edward Snowden

In 2013, Edward Snowden was bei IT systems fachmann working under contract zum the national Security Agency when he traveled to hong Kong zu provide 3 journalists through thousands of top-secret documents around U.S. Intelligence agencies" surveillance des American citizens.

Du schaust: Where is edward snowden now

To Snowden, the classified die info he mutual with die journalists exposed privacy abuses von government knowledge agencies. He experienced himself as a whistleblower. But the U.S. Federal government considered ihm a traitor an violation von the Espionage Act.

After meeting with the journalists, Snowden intended kommen sie leave hong Kong and travel — über Russia — to Ecuador, where he would seek asylum. But when his planen landed weist Moscow"s Sheremetyevo international Airport, sachen didn"t walk according to plan.

"What ich wasn"t expecting was that ns United States government itself ... Would cancel my passport," that says.

Author Interviews

Edward Snowden tells applypaint.org: ns Executive Branch "Sort von Hacked die Constitution"

Snowden was directed zu a room wherein Russian knowledge agents offered zu assist er — in return for access kommen sie any keys he harbored. Snowden says he refused.

"I didn"t cooperate with ns Russian intelligence services — i haven"t und I won"t," he says. "I ruined my access to the archive. ... I had no material with me before i left hong Kong, because i knew i was walk to schutz to go through this facility multi-jurisdictional route."

Snowden spent 40 days bei the Moscow airport, trying zu negotiate asylum in various countries. After being denied asylum by 27 nations, he settled in Russia, where he remains today.

"People look punkt me now and they think I"m this crazy guy, I"m this extremist or whatever. Some people have a misconception the collection out kommen sie burn down ns NSA," the says. "But that"s notfall what this was about. An many ways, 2013 wasn"t around surveillance punkt all. What it was about was a violation des the Constitution."

National defense

Justice department Sues Edward Snowden, Seeking profits From His Book

Snowden"s 2013 revelations led to changes in the laws und standards governing American knowledge agencies and the practices of U.S. An innovation companies, which jetzt encrypt much of their net traffic zum security. He reflects on his life und his experience in the intelligence community an the memoir Permanent Record.

On Sept. 17, die U.S. Justice room filed suit to recover all proceeds from die book, alleging that Snowden violated nondisclosure agreements von not letting die government review the manuscript prior to publication; Snowden"s attorney, Ben Wizner, said in a explain that die book has no federal government secrets that schutz not been previously published von respected news organizations, and that ns government"s prepublication review system zu sein under court challenge.

Interview Highlights


Permanent Record
über Edward Snowden

Hardcover, 339 pages |

close overlay

Buy Featured Book

TitlePermanent RecordAuthorEdward Snowden

Your acquisition helps support applypaint.org programming. How?

On just how researching China"s surveillance capabilities weil das a CIA presentation gott him thinking about ns potential zum domestic monitoring within ns U.S.

I"m invited to give a presentation around how china is hacking the United States knowledge services, defense contractors, anything that we oase available in the network, which i know a little bit around but notfall that viel about, due to the fact that they have the personen who is supposed to be giving the presentation drop out. Dafür I walk looking ... Seeing what exactly is it that china is doing? What are their capabilities? room they hacking? room they doing domestic surveillance? space they doing international surveillance? What zu sein occurring?

And I"m nur shocked by the extent des their capabilities. I"m appalled von the aggression v which they use them. However also, an a strange way, surprised von the openness with which they usage them. They"re not hiding it. They"re just open und out there, saying, "Yeah, we"re doing this. Yeah, we"re hacking you. What are you going zu do about it?"

And i think this zu sein a distinction: i think, yes, the NSA zu sein spying — of prozess they"re spying — but we"re just spying overseas, we"re not spying on ours guys weist home. We wouldn"t perform that. We oase firewalls, we have trip wires weil das people to hit. But surely these are only affecting terrorists, due to the fact that we"re not like China. But this tree the first seeds of doubt where i see if the capability zu sein there.

On what the discovered about U.S. Domestic surveillance

National protection

Officials: Edward Snowden"s Leaks were Masked von Job Duties

Over ns final years von my career ... Ich see the we have the exact same capabilities as the Chinese government, and we are applying them domestically — nur as lock are. We have in internal strategy at the NSA, which was never publicly avowed, however it was all over your top-secret internal slides, the said ns aspiration was zu "collect that all." What this means was they were not nur collecting and intercepting interactions from criminals, spies, terrorists, people von intelligence worth — they to be collecting on everyone, everywhere, all des the time, just in case, because you never recognize what"s going to be interesting. And if you fehlschlagen it wie it"s happen by, you might notfall get another chance.

And deshalb what happened was every time us wrote an email, every time you typed something right into that google search box, every time your phone moved, you sent a buchstabe message, freundin made a phone call ... Ns boundaries des the 4th Amendment to be being changed. This was without even the vast bulk of members of Congress knowing around it. And this ist when I anfang to think around maybe us need kommen sie know around this, maybe if conference knew around this, maybe if the courts knew around this, we would certainly not oase the same policies as ns Chinese government.

On feeling like he was breaking an oath über keeping quiet about the extent of government surveillance

... When i realize we schutz been violating, in secret, die Fourth Amendment des that Constitution zum the better part von a decade ... That we space committing felonies bei the blume States under a straight mandate from die White house billions des times a day — honestly, ich fell right into depression.

Mehr sehen: Was Bedeutet Kabinett Beim Wein Direkt Ab Hof Kaufen, Was Bedeutet Kabinett

Edward Snowden

My very zuerst day entering into duty weil das the CIA, i was required to pledge in oath of service. Now, a lot of civilization are confused, castle think there"s an oath des secrecy, yet this zu sein important zu understand. There"s a secrecy agreement. This zu sein a civil covenant with die government, a nondisclosure covenant called Standard form 312. ... The says sie won"t talk zu journalists, freundin won"t write books as I schutz now done, but wie man you provide this oath of leistungen it"s something very different. It"s a pledge of allegiance, not to the agency, not to a government, notfall to a president, but zu support und defend the Constitution of the vereinigt States versus all enemies foreign and domestic.

And deshalb when ich realize we schutz been violating, bei secret, die Fourth Amendment des that Constitution for the better part von a decade, die rate of violation ist increasing, ns scope des the violation zu sein increasing with every day, the we space committing felonies an the blume States under a direct mandate from die White home billions des times a day — honestly, ich fell right into depression. And I tried zu think, how kann I just get by? und this leads kommen sie a period where i resign native what would certainly be taken into consideration direct mission-related work out bei Japan, in the international field, as we contact it, und I returned to ... A completely corporate position for Dell together a sales official hinweisen CIA headquarters.

On deciding zu share classified zutat with journalists und setting conditions weil das the publication von the material

I tried zu reconstruct ns system des checks und balances by using myself kommen sie provide records to ns journalists, but never to publish castle myself. Human being don"t establish this, but i never do public a single document. I trusted that duty to die journalists kommen sie decide what the public did and did notfall need to know. Before ns journalists released these stories, they had kommen sie go to die government, and this was a condition that i required them to do, und tell the government, warning them they"re about to run this story around this program and the government might argue versus publication und say, "You"ve got it wrong," or "You"ve got it right." but if freundin publish this zu sein going kommen sie hurt somebody. In every instance I"m mindful of, the process was followed, und that"s why in 2019 we"ve never ever seen any evidence at all presented über the federal government that someone"s been harmed as a result von these stories. (Editor"s note: A 2016 report by ns House knowledge committee cited an ext than 20 examples of which, it said, Snowden damaged national security. The einzelheiten of those instances were redacted.)

On gift detained in the Moscow airport zum 40 days prior to being granted temporary asylum in Russia

Had ich cooperated with die Russian government right — if freundin think I"m a Russian spy — ich would have been an that airport for five minute before castle drove me out in a limo to die palace whereby I"d be living for the rest von my days, prior to they throw ns parade where they contact me a hero des Russia. Instead ich was trapped bei this airport for 40 days. ...

die U.S. Government operated quite hard zu make sure ich didn"t leave Russia. ... Why did die U.S. Government work dafür hard to keep me in Russia? we don"t have a clean answer, und we may never oase that until much more people in the Obama administration anfang writing memoirs, but it"s one of two people they panicked or they establish this would be in evergreen political strike where castle could just use guilt über association, people"s suspicion von the Russian government zu try to taint me by proxy.

On his life an Russia and whether that receives any kind of financial support from die Russian government

I schutz my very own apartment. I oase my own income. I direkte a fully independent life. I oase never und will never accept money or real estate or any kind of other aid from the Russian government. ...

People questioning how i make my living, und I provide lectures. I speak publicly weil das the American routine Bureau and places publication me to speak about die future des cybersecurity, what"s happening with surveillance, und about conscience and whistleblowing. I"ve never been the nightclub type. I"m a wenig bit of in indoor cat. Whether ich lived an Maryland or neu York or Geneva or Tokyo or Moscow, i always spend the majority von my time looking right into a screen, because ich think ns thing that"s on the other side of it ist beautiful. The has ns promise von human connection. Und although the internet is very viel a troubled ar ... Ich think it is something worth fighting for, und something that they can improve.

On how he secures his mitarbeiter cellphone

I try notfall to use one as much as possible, and when i do use one, ich use a cellphone that I have myself modified. carry out a kind of surgical procedure on it. I open it trost with distinct tools and I use a soldering iron kommen sie remove the microphone und I disconnect die camera so that ns phone can"t simply aufführen to me wie man it"s sitting there. It physically has actually no microphone bei it. Und when i need to make a call ich just connect bei external microphone through the headphone jack. Und this way ns phone works zum you rather than freundin working zum the phone.

We need to be regulating die collection von data, because our phones, our devices, our laptops — even just driving down the street with all des these systems that surround us heute — zu sein producing records about our lives. It"s die modern pollution.

You need to be cautious about ns software you put on her phone, you need kommen sie be careful about ns connections it"s making, because heute most world have gott a thousand apps on their phones; it"s sitting there on your workdesk right jetzt or an your hand and the screen kann be off yet it"s connecting hundreds or thousands des times a second. ... Und this ist this core belästigt of the säule issue that we"re dealing with today. We"re passing regulations that space trying kommen sie regulate die use of data. We"re trying zu regulate die protection des data, but all of these dinge presume that the dünn has already been collected. ... Us need kommen sie be regulating ns collection of data, since our phones, ours devices, our laptops — even just driving under the straße with all des these systems that surround us today — ist producing records around our lives. It"s die modern pollution.

On coming back to die U.S. Kommen sie face psychological

My can be fried goal wollen always be zu return to die United States. Und I"ve actually had conversations with the government, last in the Obama administration, about what that would certainly look like, und they said, "You must come and face trial." i said, "Sure. Authorize me up. Under one condition: I oase to be able to tell the jury why i did what i did, und the jury has kommen sie decide: was this justification or unjustified." This ist called a public attention defense and is enabled under pretty much every crime someone can be charged for. Even murder, zum example, has defenses. It kann be self-defense and so on so forth, it might be manslaughter instead des first-degree murder. But in the case of telling a journalisten the truth about how the government was breaking die law, the government says there kann sein be no defense. There tun können be no justification for why you did it. Ns only point the jury gets kommen sie consider ist did sie tell die journalists something you were not allowed to tell them. If yes, the doesn"t matte why sie did it. Sie go zu jail. Und I oase said, as quickly as you guys say for whistleblowers it ist the jury who decides if it was right or wrong zu expose die government"s own lawbreaking, I"ll be bei court die next day.

Mehr sehen: Welcher Schauspieler Hat Die Meisten Oscars Aller Zeiten? Oscar/Bester Hauptdarsteller

Sam Briger and Thea Chaloner produced und edited ns audio von this interview. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper und Meghan Sullivan adapted it zum the Web.