Whistleblower Edward Snowden has received mixed responses from all over the world throughout the months of his revelations about the NSA — but he tells the Washington Post in an interview that in particular, people who accuse him of disloyalty have mistaken his purpose.
I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA…
I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”
He says that the chairmen of the US Senate and House intelligence committees, through their actions such as keeping the spying programs hidden, elected him to take on such a role.
“The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility,” he says.
After months of exposing these secret documents, Snowden tells the Washington Post that he thinks he’s already won.
For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished…
As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.
Indeed, this year society has changed dramatically as a consequence of Snowden’s revelations.
Earlier this month, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, AOL, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo formed an alliance to push their shared belief that “it is time for the world’s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information.”
Last week, an independent committee appointed by President Barack Obama to review the US government’s spying practices issued its final report, making 46 recommendations for how to reform the programs — in particular, it recommended “a series of significant reforms” with respect to the surveillance of US citizens.
The report also recommended that the government split control of the NSA from the US Cyber Command and reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by adding a “public interest advocate.” In the committee’s opinion, the head of the NSA should be confirmed by a Senate and would preferably be a civilian.
Snowden tells the Washington Post that there is no evidence at all for the claim that he has loyalties to Russia or China or any country other than the US.
“If I defected at all,” Snowden says, “I defected from the government to the public.”
Headline image via The Guardian/Getty Images