Courageous whistle blower and/or infamous American traitor Edward Snowden sat down with Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian and talked about life in Russia, the NSA culture and why he risked everything to out the NSA.
The paper released a video teaser of the interview yesterday and followed up today with the complete transcript of their seven-hour talk. The conversation is nearly 10,000 words, so we broke some comments out for you.
Below are 10 of the most interesting and surprising quotes from that interview. Also of note, Snowden likes chicken curry.
The fact that I’ve ended up so secure is entirely by accident."
No system of mass surveillance has existed in any society that we know of to this point that has not been abused."
I think it’s unfortunate when, for example, in Germany evidence has revealed that the NSA is spying on millions of German citizens … and that’s not a scandal. But when Angela Merkel’s cell phone is listened [in] on and she herself is made a victim, suddenly it changes relations."
What people often overlook is the fact that when you build a back door into a communication system that back door can be discovered by anyone around the world.... That decision wasn’t debated by any public body, it wasn’t authorized by any legislator."
There shouldn’t be this distinction between digital information and printed information."
Most reasonable people would grant that privacy is a function of liberty. And if we get rid of privacy, we’re making ourselves less free."
If we confess something to our priest inside a church that would be private, but is it any different if we send our pastor a private email confessing a crisis that we have in our life?
I’m much happier here in Russia than I would be facing an unfair trial in which I can’t even present a public interest defence to a jury of my peers."
I never actively sought out protection here. The state department stranded me in Russia as I was transiting through on my way to Latin America.
... we now have an institution that has become so powerful it feels comfortable granting itself new authorities, without the involvement of the country, without the involvement of the public, without the full involvement of all of our elected representatives and without the full involvement of open courts, and that’s a terrifying thing – at least for me.