"Intelligence agencies do have a role to play, and the people at the working level at the NSA, CIA, or any other member of the IC are not out to get you."
Perhaps this answer given by Edward Snowden during a recent Q&A session seems a bit ironic, but it at least shows he still has faith in the purpose of American intelligence agencies. Snowden's primary concerns, concerns that led to his whistleblower status, involved "unaccountable senior officials" who would abuse their position to authorize "unconstitutional programs". In addition to the misuse of intelligence, Snowden felt that there were certain programs that were simply unnecessary.
Says Snowden, "Collecting phone and email records for every American is a waste of money, time and human resources that could be better spent pursuing those the government has reason to suspect are a serious threat." He noted that even the president agreed with him.
Unfortunately for Snowden, he is still in a world of trouble and so he remains a world away in Russia.
Edward Snowden initially fled to Hong Kong last year after the unlawful disclosure of various government activities. He then went to Russia where he was granted asylum for at least a year.
Edward Snowden is still a criminal. This statement doesn't mean I support the NSA's illegal overreach. I can chew gum & walk @ the same time
— psychedelicatessen (@MentalRiot) January 23, 2014
— Ron Paul (@RonPaul) January 20, 2014
Should Snowden return to the United States, he faces charges of theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national security information and giving classified intelligence data to an unauthorized person. In addition to criminal prosecution, Snowden has responded to alleged threats on his life by unnamed U.S. intelligence officials.
Snowden says he would like to return to the United States, however does not see it as a possibility at present.
"Returning to the US, I think, is the best resolution for the government, the public, and myself, but it’s unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws.”
He also feels that given the circumstances, a fair trial would be virtually impossible.
Still, Snowden doesn't view "all spying" as bad. He just hopes that the light he shined on government activities will encourage a greater focus on very real threats and not include the abusing of the trust of American citizens.
Image via The Guardian Youtube