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by
Bridget Johnson

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December 24, 2013 - 4:56 am

Former NSA contractor and infamous leaker Edward Snowden told the Washington Post during his first sit-down interview that he won the game despite now living as an “indoor cat” in Russia.

“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won. 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.”

“All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,” he said. “That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals.”

…“I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA,” he said. “I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”

What entitled Snowden, now 30, to take on that responsibility?

“That whole question — who elected you? — inverts the model,” he said. “They elected me. The overseers.”

He named the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees.

“Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions” in committee hearings, he said. “Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. . . . The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility.”

“It wasn’t that they put it on me as an individual — that I’m uniquely qualified, an angel descending from the heavens — as that they put it on someone, somewhere,” he said. “You have the capability, and you realize every other [person] sitting around the table has the same capability but they don’t do it. So somebody has to be the first.”

On his choice of asylum country:

Snowden knows his presence here is easy ammunition for critics. He did not choose refuge in Moscow as a final destination. He said that once the U.S. government voided his passport as he tried to change planes en route to Latin America, he had no other choice.

…“There is no evidence at all for the claim that I have loyalties to Russia or China or any country other than the United States,” he said. “I have no relationship with the Russian government. I have not entered into any agreements with them.”

“If I defected at all,” Snowden said, “I defected from the government to the public.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Or someone who actually has paid attention to the facts....
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"“That whole question — who elected you? — inverts the model,” he said. “They elected me. The overseers.”

One small correction: The whole principle on which our country is based elected him, and anyone else in his position who sees great wrong being done by those in authority, and has the power to act on that knowledge.

If we hang Snowden for treason, we must hang Jefferson, Adams, Washington, and the rest of them from the same tree.


"Thoſe who would give up Essential Liberty to purchaſe a little Temporary Safety, deſerve neither Liberty nor Safety."


"Is security so dear, or wealth so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"



35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Yeah, he didn't defect, and he was really going to...Venezuela? It was by accident he went to Red China and Russia first. With tons of secret documents revealing means, methods, capabilities. He's a real patriot. After all, you couldn't expect such a fine upstanding young American to go through all that whistle-blower stuff, maybe even criminal charges- he is entitled to a certain amount of comfort in his life, and he's getting it from those respecters of human rights in Russia. I mean, how much could you ask of the little bas.... er, gentleman.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hope you are being sarcastic, because going to Red China and the destination being commie Venezuela is definitely not patriotism, its treason (Communists are our enemies). And I don't buy the whole "I'm going against government and going to the public." Robespierre did exactly the same sort of thing in France, and that ended very badly, for him and for the country, and it definitely hadn't recovered. Also, he aligned himself with Julian Assange, and that guy pretty much stated, or at least implied that he supported Marxist-Leninist principles. If Snowden actually wanted to go to the public and defect from the government, he should have done what the guys behind the Clinton Chronicles or even the Hillary film did.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"“That whole question — who elected you? — inverts the model,” he said. “They elected me. The overseers.”

One small correction: The whole principle on which our country is based elected him, and anyone else in his position who sees great wrong being done by those in authority, and has the power to act on that knowledge.

If we hang Snowden for treason, we must hang Jefferson, Adams, Washington, and the rest of them from the same tree.


"Thoſe who would give up Essential Liberty to purchaſe a little Temporary Safety, deſerve neither Liberty nor Safety."


"Is security so dear, or wealth so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"



35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's a very big difference between what the Founding Fathers did and what Snowden did. Actually, if Snowden matched any founding fathers, it was the founding fathers of Revolutionary France (and believe me, that was not a good thing at all). Heck, in the case of France, there wasn't ANY safety at all (it was an anarchistic hellhole with absolutely no law and order save for mob rule). Heck, it was because of the French Revolution that Ben Franklin also compared Democracy to a den of wolves debating with a lamb on what they should have for dinner. And BTW, among Americans, Snowden's more comparable to Benedict Arnold. It's one thing to try to expose wrongdoing by your government to the populace, it's quite another to leak a lot of sensitive data to foreign intelligence, especially those not friendly to us, and Snowden did the latter when he leaked the intel to Red China and is very likely to do the same to Venezuela, which are both Communists.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Snowden committed treason and should be dealt
With accordingly. It's not for an individual to
Violate government policy put in place to
Secure the safety of the nation. Snowden, or
Any American, can disagree
With the idea of electronic eavesdropping on citizens
but I don't believe he or any of us are privy to
The reality of the terrorist threats and plots against
Our cities, malls, and train stations.
I can guarantee that the morning after a mall
In Omaha or LA is attacked and scores of innocents
Are killed that every newspaper, every irate
Talking heading is going to be shouting "how
Come we didn't see it coming !"
In times of war even certain civil liberties may
Be suspended. I don't have a problem with that.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
In another post you said:
----------------------------------------------------------
"Maybe I'm just naive or simple minded but I can't
Believe that NSA domestic spying is a big deal."
----------------------------------------------------------

Maybe you should gear up and educate yourself on what a determined group (democrats especially it would seem) could do with a database that combines NSA IRS O'Care etc all together. Look what the IRS did with just their own database against conservative organizations - and they are STILL DOING IT!

It doesn't take much imagination to know this isn't a good thing. Snowden may not end up a hero but he certainly has given us a glimpse of what those little guys are doing behind the curtains and it should disturb any freedom loving citizen.

As for linking Snowden's act to the next 'big one' in the heartland it might be easier to link global warming to co2. Good luck with that!


35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Paleo, I agree with your legit concerns especially
In light of IRS abuse of conservative groups. I also
Believe that scraping NSA surveillance is a grave
Security risk not acceptable. The perfect solution
Is to keep the NSA program but make damn
Sure there is bipartisan oversight of it to insure it does
Not become a partisan political tool or overstep
It's purpose of helping to prevent terrorist attacks
In America through electronic eavesdropping.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Snowden is the Alger Hiss of our time.

If Snowden wanted to reign in the “surveillance state” he would have only stolen information on domestic data collection. He would not have taken and released information on legitimate sensitive foreign intelligence collect operations.

If Snowden wanted to reign in the “surveillance state” he would be in a non-extradition country hacking into Google and Facebook to destroy their reams of personal data. He would not be a “guest” of Vladimir Putin.

But Snowden didn’t do these things. He stole sensitive foreign intelligence data then sought asylum with an adversary and proceeded to release the information and damage legitimate US foreign intelligence operations.

The only conclusion you can reach is that Snowden, wittingly or not, was recruited and worked for Russian intelligence.

Only a fool would think otherwise.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Or someone who actually has paid attention to the facts....
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not really. The Clinton Chronicles people certainly didn't leak intelligence to foreign parties when trying to expose Clinton's crimes during his time as AG and Governor of Arkansas, and keep in mind they actually placed their careers, and even their lives on the line just to expose this information. Leaking information to Red China and Venezuela, both being Communist countries, not to mention Russia is, if not still a Communist country, then it is definitely coming very close to actually reinstating Communism thanks to Putin's current actions, is definitely treason. The only one who hasn't paid attention to facts is you, Mark v. Don't forget, Robespierre was also claimed to be "for the people and against government" as well, and look where that took France.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Snowden is in a non-extradition country because he doesn't want to be "dealt with accordingly" by those who claim he committed treason.

I don't blame him.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good point. If I had committed treason like this guy, I wouldn't want to be "dealt with accordingly either."
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
He is not in a non-extradition country. He is resident in adversary nation and has provided them with information on US foreign intelligence operations. If I all I wanted to do was be safe I wouldn't be hanging out in Putin's Russia. People disappear there all the time when the stop being convienient. Only a fool like you would believe otherwise.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
---Only a fool like you would believe otherwise.

That's sure telling me LOL.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well Bill, ever think that domestic spying could be wrong and Snowden was working for the Russians? No, that thought would never pass through your mind. To you it has to be one or the other.

By the way just how do you think we should keep track of Nigerians resident in the US who might be aiding Boko Haram? (see PJ Media article above). I don't have an answer to that question but I would like to hear your thoughts on it.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is the epitome of paranoia to think that Snowden was working for the Russians, albeit it would make a good line in a Warren Zevon song.

I really have no big issue with the NSA monitoring web traffic and even cell phone calls -- domestic or foreign. I have an issue with Snowden being persecuted for blowing the whistle on something people should know about. I have an issue with government officials lying about it in testimony.

If transparency is sauce for the government it absolutely must be sauce for the citizen.

And Merry Christmas.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
He's right. (Hiya NSA)
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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