NBC Confirms That Snowden Did Try To Raise Concerns Internally Before Going To Journalists

from the well-there-you-go dept

Last night, NBC aired Brian William's long interview with Ed Snowden in Moscow. It's worth watching.
For a guy with no media training, he gives an astoundingly good interview. His statements remain consistent with what he's said in the past and, at least to me, he appears to reinforce his previous statements with these answers. While there really wasn't much new in the interview itself, it's still a good look into Snowden's situation and his mindset. The most "revealing" thing in the episode actually didn't come from Snowden, however. Instead, after he (again) claimed that he had raised his concerns internally, Williams stated that NBC had confirmed at least one case in which Snowden had communicated with the NSA's legal office to raise concerns about the legality of its programs. That's fairly big news, given that the NSA and its defenders keep insisting that Snowden should have just raised issues internally. He did.

Snowden also didn't mince words about why he thinks Putin has made a huge mistake in cracking down on freedoms in Russia, specifically calling out the new law that orders bloggers to register with the government. He noted that he wished he could do more in Russia, but is somewhat limited by the fact that he doesn't speak Russian.

The other thing I found worth noting: at one point, Williams asked Snowden what he would say to President Obama if they were in a room together. Snowden responded that he would leave that to the President's advisors, as he did not feel qualified to advise the President. Williams, after a pause, followed up by pointing out that he hadn't really meant about advising the President on the larger matters of the NSA, but rather about Snowden's own situation. And, again, Snowden indicated that this was a decision that the President would have to make. For all the talk from Snowden's critics about how he's some sort of "narcissist" (that word gets thrown around a lot), this exchange seemed to reveal quite the opposite.

Many people with large egos and who have become known as "experts" on a specific topic, when asked what they would say to the President when meeting, would immediately jump to their specific talking points. But Snowden wouldn't even presume that was appropriate. Similarly, when then asked about his own personal situation, the look on Snowden's face suggested he'd never even thought about what he would say to someone directly with the power to allow him to come back home. Perhaps he's an astoundingly good actor -- but Snowden really does come off as someone who is both incredibly self-aware and astoundingly humble given what he's done.

Filed Under: brian williams, ed snowden, nsa, proper channels, russia, surveillance, whistleblowing

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Ninja (profile), 29 May 2014 @ 6:32am

    Considering NBC is mainstream this has become surprisingly big. It's becoming more and more difficult to sustain the accusations against Snowden and the same is happening with the support for the surveillance programs. However there's already a movement to mitigate this "publicity" issue in the form of various actions, legislations that mean absolutely nothing but are big in their marketing. A Freedom Act that does absolutely nothing to solve the issue and has very little to do with freedom in fact (just to mention one bill), Executive decrees and guidelines that softly brush through the surface of the issue while leaving big loopholes to be abused. And the judiciary pretended to be doing something by giving some weak, isolated victories to challenges against the Government overreaches.

    That's it people, we are doing something! And it's a multi-pronged attack! Now go back to watching American Idol and buying your vanity gadgets.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.