Quoted: Edward Snowden says mission accomplished

“The mission’s already accomplished. … Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

Edward Snowden, former government tech contractor and source of NSA documents detailing surveillance programs that include spying on the electronic communications of Americans and others, in some cases without legal justification.

In an interview with the Washington Post about six months after the first news reports revealed the mass spying, Snowden said he shared his concerns with colleagues and superiors before he decided to leak the documents, an assertion the NSA disputes.

Why did he feel compelled to leak the information, surely giving up his life as he knew it? When asked about “who elected him” to come forward, he said: “Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions [in Senate intelligence committee hearings]. [House intelligence committee Chairman] Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility.”

He also said he ignores criticism — he’s been called either a hero or a traitor who has endangered national security — because “it’s not about me.”

Snowden, who has been granted asylum in Russia, said he has no relationship or agreements with the government there.


Photo: Edward Snowden worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency. (The Guardian via Associated Press)

Levi Sumagaysay Levi Sumagaysay (3590 Posts)

Levi Sumagaysay is editor of the combined SiliconBeat and Good Morning Silicon Valley. She also blogs and is the online producer for SiliconValley.com, the Mercury News tech website. Email: lsumagaysay (at) bayareanewsgroup (dot-com).