Thursday, May 29, 2014

#Snowden Jumps the Shark With NBC Interview - Updated

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Brian Williams of NBC is the first major network news person to interview Edward Snowden in Moscow. Reviews are mixed so far, but I think it's safe to say that a wider audience isn't going to work out too well for the ultra-spy-in-exile. The more he talks the deeper the hole, so to speak. As this interview was obviously timed to coincide with the release of Glenn Greenwald's book about Snowden, it may not have the boost in sales that they were looking for.

Snowden seems to be jumping the shark, although I'm sure the Libertarian Wikileaks Anonymous crowd will swoon over his sexy snake-oil voice and geek-martyr persona.

Previous Related Posts:
Snowden Can Make Himself "Unrecognizable"
Critics Go To War Over Sourpuss Glenn Greenwald's Book
All Hail the Snowden Pulitzer
Crime or Punishment? Snowden Remains Stuck in Moscow Airport
Snowden: Messages from Moscow
Edward Snowden Releases NSA Secrets
Edward Snowden: Hero or Villain


Selected Quotes from #InsideSnowden
. . . when they say I’m a low-level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say it’s somewhat misleading.
I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas, pretending to work in a job that I'm not, and even being assigned a name that was not mine.
But I am a technical specialist. I am a technical expert. I don't work with people. I don't recruit agents. What I do is I put systems to work for the United States. And I've done that at all levels from, from the bottom on the ground all the way to the top. Now, the government might deny these things, they might frame it in certain ways and say, "Oh well, you know, he's -- he's a low level analyst."
I think it's important to remember that people don't set their lives on fire. They don't walk away from their extraordinarily, extraordinarily comfortable lives for no reason.
I think the most important idea is to remember that there are times throughout American history where what is right is not the same as what is legal. Sometimes to do the right thing you have to break the law.
I have no relationship with the Russian government at all. I've never met the Russian President. I'm not supported by the Russian government. I'm not taking money from the Russian government. I'm not a spy.
I personally am surprised that I ended up here. The reality is I never intended to end up in Russia. I had a flight booked to Cuba onwards to Latin America, and I was stopped because the United States government decided to revoke my passport and trap me in the Moscow airport.
If I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.


UPDATE: One part of the interview has been debunked today by the NSA:

From the Interview:
Snowden: I actually did go through channels, and that is documented. The NSA has records, they have copies of emails right now to their Office of General Counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks from me raising concerns about the NSA’s interpretations of it – legal authorities. I reported that there were real problems with the way the NSA was interpreting its legal authorities. And I went even further in this, to say that they could be unconstitutional, that they were sort of abrogating our model of government in a way that empowered presidents to override our statutory laws. And this was made very clear. And the response was, more or less, in bureaucratic language, was, ‘You should stop asking questions.’

The U.S. Government Replied today by releasing one email exchange from Snowden, which they say is the only one received asking questions of the General Counsel to the NSA:
Read Snowden's Email and NSA Reply Here

From ABC News:
The NSA said in statement that Snowden’s email “did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse, but posed a legal question that the Office of General Counsel addressed.”
“There was no additional follow-up noted,” the NSA said. “There are numerous avenues that Mr. Snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistleblower allegations. We have searched for additional indications of outreach from him in those areas and to date have not discovered any engagements related to his claims.”
Snowden told NBC News that he also raised his concerns with his co-workers and superiors, many of whom he said were “shocked” at the programs he described. In December 2013, Snowden similarly told The Washington Post he brought his misgivings to four supervisors in two departments.
“I asked these people, ‘What do you think the public would do if this was on the front page?’” Snowden told the Post. “How is that not reporting it? How is that not raising it?”
In the Washington Post report, an NSA spokesperson said the agency had not found “any evidence” to support Snowden’s claims about raising concerns internally. Then, the NSA did not note the email it published online today.


Responses to #InsideSnowden


On Snowden's Persona


From Russia, With Love


Snowden Has Fans - "He's a Patriot!"


He's a Spy, Dammit!


What about Glenn Greenwald?


John Kerry's Opinion


What Does Snowden Watch on TV?

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