Highlights of Interview With NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden:
‘I am not afraid, because this is the choice I’ve made’
“Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets,” he said.
“We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”
Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate, he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. “I am not afraid,” he said calmly, “because this is the choice I’ve made.”
He predicts the government will launch an investigation and “say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become”.
‘You can’t wait around for someone else to act’
Snowden “watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in”, and as a result, “I got hardened” he said.
The primary lesson he has taken from this experience was that “you can’t wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act.”
A matter of principle
“The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to,” Snowden said
Commentary from the Blogger
Obviously, Mr. Snowden is a very brave young man and we all owe him a debt of gratitude. However, his sacrifice will have been in vain if we do not follow-up with pressures on the administration and our representatives.
Although I do not know the man, I can tell you that he is a patriot and anything but an anti-American activist. In 2003, he enlisted in the same training program to join the Special Forces that I did. It was called the 18X-Ray Special Forces pipeline, and it was a rigorous program that was only offered to Grade-A meat so to speak; those who may it through both intense physical and mental training, but even before we had to qualify after they turned over every rock we in our lives.
I can only testify to the type of person who joins that program, as highlighted Special Forces by our unique motto – “De Oppresso Liber” – To Liberate Those Oppressed.
In other words, it is not just about grabbing a weapon and hurting an enemy, but it is about teaching others how to pick up a weapon and liberate themselves from their oppressors.
I can tell at least where his heart is when he says:
I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression.
It appears to this liberator that Mr. Snowden has never given up on his mission to liberate the oppressed, it is just that he has decided that we are perhaps the ones who need liberating. And as his brother in arms, I applaud and thank him for his bravery and courage.