Part 2 of the video interview of Snowden in Hong Kong is now available on the Guardian.
This Guardian video cannot be embedded
and has not been published on the Guardian's YouTube channel yet, nor has anyone else put it out there yet. If things go as they did last time, one will be available soon and I will update this when it becomes available and will also update with transcript.
Edward Snowden: 'The US government will say I aided our enemies' – video interviewUpdate 1: Here is a transcript (
[...] second part of an exclusive interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras
Update 2: Added video from YouTube.
VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPTGlenn Greenwald: Have you given thought to what it is that the US government's response to your conduct is in terms of what they might say about you, how they might try to depict you?
Edward Snowden: I think the government is going to launch an investigation. I think they're going to say I've committed grave crimes, I've, you know, violated the Espionage Act. They're going to say I've aided our enemies in making them aware of these systems but that argument can be made against anybody who reveals information that points out mass surveillance systems, because fundamentally they apply equally to ourselves as they do to our enemies.
Glenn Greenwald: When you decided to enter this world, did you do so with the intention of weaseling your way in and becoming a mole so that you could one day undermine it with disclosures or what was your perspective and mindset about it at the time that you sort of, first got into this whole realm?
Edward Snowden: No, I joined the intelligence community when I was very young, sort of the government as a whole, I enlisted in the Army, shortly after the invasion of Iraq and I believed in the goodness of what we were doing. I believed in the nobility of our intentions to free oppressed people overseas but over time, over the length of my career, as I watched the news and I was increasingly exposed to true information that had not been propagandized in the media, that we were actually involved in misleading the public and misleading all the publics, not just the American public in order to create a certain mindset in the global consciousness and I was actually a victim of that.
America is a fundamentally good country. We have good people with good values who want to do the right thing. But the structures of power that exist are working to their own ends to extend their capability at the expense of the freedom of all publics.
Laura Poitras: Can you talk about what you think some of the most important primary documents are and what they reveal?
Edward Snowden: The primary disclosures are the fact that the NSA doesn't limit itself to foreign intelligence. It collects all communications that transit the United States. There are literally no ingress or egress points anywhere in the continental United States where a communication there enter or exit without being monitored, collected and analyzed. The Verizon document speaks highly to this because it literally lays out, they're using an authority that was intended to be used to seek warrants against individuals and they're applying it to the whole of society by basically subverting a corporate partnership through major telecommunications providers and they're getting everyone's calls, everyone's call records and everyone's internet traffic as well.
On top of that you've got Boundless Informant, which is sort of a global auditing system for the NSA's intercept and collection system that lets us track how much we're collecting, where we're collecting, by which authorities, and so forth.
The NSA lied about the existence of this tool to Congress and to specific Congressmen in response to previous inquiries about their surveillance activities. Beyond that, we've got PRISM, which is a demonstration of how the U.S. government co-opts U.S. corporate power to its own ends. Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft -- they all get together with the NSA and provide the NSA direct access to the back ends of all the systems you use to communicate, to store data, to put things in the cloud, and even just to send birthday wishes and keep a record of your life. And they give NSA direct access that they don't need to oversee so they can't be held liable for it. I think that's a dangerous capability for anybody to have but particularly an organization that's demonstrated time and time again that they'll work to shield themselves from oversight.
Glenn Greenwald: Was there a specific point in time that you can point to when you crossed the line from contemplation to decisionmaking and committment to do this?
Edward Snowden: I grew up with the understanding that the world I lived in was one where people enjoyed a sort of freedom to communicate with each other in privacy without it being monitored, without it being measured or analyzed or, sort of, judged, by these shadowy figures or systems any time they mention anything that travels across public lines. I think a lot of people of my generation, anybody who grew up with the internet, that was their understanding. As we've seen the internet and government's relatation to the internet evolve over time, we've seen that sort of open debate, that free market of ideas, sort of lose its domain and be shrunk,
Glenn Greenwald: But what is it about that set of developments that makes then sufficiently menacing or threatening to you that you were willing to risk what you've risked in order to fight them?
Edward Snowden: I don't want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything that I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded, and that's not something I'm willing to support. It's not something I'm wiling to build. It's not something I'm willing to live under. So, I think anyone who opposes that sort of world has an obligation to act in the way they can.
Now I've watched and waited and tried to do my job in the most policy driven way I could, which is to wait and allow other people, wait and allow our leadership, our figures to sort of correct the excesses of government when we go too far but as I've watched, I've seen that's not occurring and in fact we're compounding the excesses of prior governments, and making it worse and more invasive. And no one is really standing to stop it.
In addition, der Spiegel has now published the interview that they mentioned in an earlier article. This interview is text only, and was conducted with Jacob Appelbaum and Laura Poitras before Snowden went public. At this point, Poitras was trying to vet Snowden to determine if he was really an NSA whistleblower. She was concerned about this being a possible set up and she called on Appelbaum for help, and others.
Edward Snowden Interview: The NSA and Its Willing HelpersPart 2 of the interview is in a separate article:
Interviewer: What is the mission of America's National Security Agency (NSA) -- and how is the job it does compatible with the rule of law?
Snowden: They're tasked to know everything of importance that happens outside of the United States. That's a significant challenge. When it is made to appear as though not knowing everything about everyone is an existential crisis, then you feel that bending the rules is okay. Once people hate you for bending those rules, breaking them becomes a matter of survival.
Interviewer: What are some of the big surveillance programs that are active today and how do international partners aid the NSA?
Snowden: In some cases, the so-called Five Eye Partners 4 go beyond what NSA itself does. For instance, the UK's General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has a system called TEMPORA. TEMPORA is the signals intelligence community's first "full-take" Internet buffer that doesn't care about content type and pays only marginal attention to the Human Rights Act. It snarfs everything, in a rolling buffer to allow retroactive investigation without missing a single bit. Right now the buffer can hold three days of traffic, but that's being improved. Three days may not sound like much, but remember that that's not metadata. "Full-take" means it doesn't miss anything, and ingests the entirety of each circuit's capacity. If you send a single ICMP packet 5 and it routes through the UK, we get it. If you download something and the CDN (Content Delivery Network) happens to serve from the UK, we get it. If your sick daughter's medical records get processed at a London call center … well, you get the idea.
Interviewer: Is there a way of circumventing that?
Snowden: As a general rule, so long as you have any choice at all, you should never route through or peer with the UK under any circumstances. Their fibers are radioactive, and even the Queen's selfies to the pool boy get logged.
Edward Snowden Interview: The NSA and Its Willing Helpers
Interviewer: The NSA is building a massive new data center in Utah. What is its purpose?
Snowden: The massive data repositories.
Interviewer: What happens after the NSA targets a user?
Snowden: They're just owned. An analyst will get a daily (or scheduled based on exfiltration summary) report on what changed on the system, PCAPS 9 of leftover data that wasn't understood by the automated dissectors, and so forth. It's up to the analyst to do whatever they want at that point -- the target's machine doesn't belong to them anymore, it belongs to the US government.
NEW: Part 2 of our video interview with Edward Snowden: he addresses what's been said about him over last 2 weeks http://t.co/...— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 8, 2013