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


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  1. icon
    The Wanderer (profile), 29 May 2014 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re:

    I think that was the point: that asking about 9/11 was an irrelevancy, just done because "9/11 is important, he's famous, therefore we should ask him what he thinks about 9/11".

    I can agree with the derision towards that attitude in general, though I'm not sure it applies in this case.

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