After Edward Snowden’s interview with NBC, it’s even more apparent that this man is a patriot and a hero. About a year after releasing evidence of the NSA’s Orwellian surveillance programs to the world, he thoughtfully and eloquently explained the reasoning behind his actions.
You can watch the interview in its entirety on NBC’s website (scroll to the bottom of the page). Or, if you don’t have time to watch the hour-long program, below are some of my favorite quotes:
“It’s important to remember that people don’t set their lives on fire and burn down everything they love for no reason. I’ve gained ability to go to sleep at night, and feel comfortable that I’ve done the right thing.”
“I take the threat of terrorism seriously. I think we all do. And I think it’s very disingenuous for the Government to invoke and scandalize our memories, to exploit the national trauma that we all suffered together, and worked so hard to come through, to justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe. But cost us liberties and freedoms we don’t need to give up. And our Constitution says we should not give up.”
“The definition of a security state is any nation that prioritizes security over all other considerations. I don’t believe the United States is, or ever should be, a security state. If we want to be free, we can’t become subjects to surveillance, we can’t give away our privacy, we can’t give away our rights. We have to be an active party. We have to be an active part of our government. We have to say that there are some things worth dying for. And I think the country is one of them.”
“I think the most important idea is to remember that there have been times throughout history where what is right is not the same as what is legal. Sometimes in order to do the right thing you have to break a law.”
“Being a patriot doesn’t mean prioritizing service to government above all else. Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen, from the violations of and encroachments of adversaries. And those adversaries don’t have to be foreign countries.”
“It’s really frustrating for someone who’s working so hard to expand the domain of our rights and our privacy, to end up stuck in a place where those rights are being challenged in ways that I would consider deeply unfair. The recent blogger’s registration law in Russia, I can’t think of any basis for a law like that, not just in Russia but in any country. The government shouldn’t be regulating the operations of a free press whether it’s NBC or whether it’s some blogger in their living room.”
“I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home. I mean, I’ve from day one said that I’m doing this to serve my country. Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say. That’s a debate for the public and the government to decide. But if I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.”
“My priority is not about myself. It’s about making sure that these programs are reformed and that the family that I left behind, the country that I left behind, can be helped by my actions. And I will do everything I can to continue to work in the most responsible way possible — and to prioritize causing no harm while serving the public good.”
After hearing what Snowden had to say, it’s hard to believe that anyone could call him a traitor or a coward. Yet that’s exactly what Secretary of State John Kerry called him in his own interviews with NBC and CBS. Coming up in my next post, I will discuss Kerry’s comments and why I disagree with his idea of patriotism.