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Highlights from Exclusive NBC Interview w/ Edward Snowden

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  • Center Left
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    NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams landed an exclusive, sit-down interview with Edward Snowden. This will be the first time Snowden has interviewed with an American anchor since he first released secret documents about the NSA surveillance programs last summer, and subsequently fled the country for asylum. Snowden hasn't been back on American soil since. That was almost a year ago, to the day.

    This interview was able to be made, in part, due to the relationship Snowden has with Glenn Greenwald, the journalist that helped leak the documents to the world. Greenwald has been Snowden's main 'connection' through all of this, and no doubt Greenwald was the guy that brokered the deal (at least in a big way) that helped make this interview a reality. I suppose the timing of this interview is not a coincidence; Snowden and Greenwald are set to release the biggest piece of evidence they have on the NSA wrong-doings yet: it has been recently reported that Greenwald is set to release a list of actual names of people the NSA is spying on, or at least has spied on. Greenwald claims this to be the most damning bit of evidence yet to the Snowden revelations.

    They plan to go out with a bang, with this series of stories anyways. Snowden downloaded roughly 1.7 million secret documents. And it's also been reported that the U.S. has little to no idea what Snowden actually has in his possession; he took them in such a coded way that left no easily discernible trace.

    The exclusive interview between Snowden and Williams is set for 5/28/14 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. The spot will last the whole hour, and will also include interviews and responses from Glenn Greenwald and John Kerry. Should be well worth the watch. NBC has already posted some parts of the interview here. This thread is to discuss the interview, the highlights, and your thoughts on Snowden and his responses. It's rare that such a high profile person in Snowden's situation gets to speak to the public. I am really interested on everyone's opinions of it as it unfolds.
  • Center Left
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    Denton, TX
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    One such highlight, and now major headline grabber: Edward Snowden Says He Was A 'Trained Spy':

  • Center Left
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    I completely disagree with John Kerry. Whistleblowers should be protected, not prosecuted. There are no checks and balances when it comes to the NSA. There are also no avenues where the judicial system can check the legality of many of these agencies discretely. I feel both of these need to be fixed.
  • Center Left
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    Just finished watching and I have to say, I didn't disagree with anything Snowden said. Will be checking out the web stuff next
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    Let me shed some light on this subject. (Having worked in the intelligence field I know what I'm talking about) The metadata system when used with voice communications works a lot like your DVR. It creates a temporary recording that is kept for the length of the phone call unless specific words/phrases are used or the communications are with specific countries. If none of those are true the system automatically deletes the temporary file with a DOD deletion program that writes over that area 7 times, so the info is unrecoverable. With E-mails it works the same, the files are kept just long enough for a program to scan for specific phrases/words/recipients. If none of those occur it automatically deletes them. If Snowden has 1.7 million secret documents, its because HE created a program to bypass that. That means HE, not the government, created the documents and violated your privacy. The only time an actual person would read your e-mails/listen to your phone calls at the NSA is if very specific conditions are met. If they aren't there isn't even a copy that can be recovered unless a traitor like Snowden creates a program to create permanent copies. By revealing what he has about the program (which admittedly is why I can say what I have here) he has given intelligence (You know, like Al Qaeda) to groups that would seek to harm the US and can now find ways to work around the system. Snowden is no hero, he's a traitor that has put peoples lives in danger.

    Also, watch the video (that was posted in this thread) carefully. He was no spy, he was never trained as one. Every time he makes a statement about his past as a spy he looks down, whenever he talks about being a technician and working with computers he makes eye contact with the interviewer. Interviewing 101, always maintain eye contact. If someone breaks eye contact (especially to look down) it generally means they are lying, and a 'trained spy' would have maintained eye contact to show his sincerity...
  • Center Left
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    RanmaMOJ Wrote: If Snowden has 1.7 million secret documents, its because HE created a program to bypass that. That means HE, not the government, created the documents and violated your privacy. The only time an actual person would read your e-mails/listen to your phone calls at the NSA is if very specific conditions are met. If they aren't there isn't even a copy that can be recovered unless a traitor like Snowden creates a program to create permanent copies. By revealing what he has about the program (which admittedly is why I can say what I have here) he has given intelligence (You know, like Al Qaeda) to groups that would seek to harm the US and can now find ways to work around the system. Snowden is no hero, he's a traitor that has put peoples lives in danger.
    Few questions for you then, since you have worked in the intelligence field.

    Does the NSA have access and ability to (or have they in the recent past) to surveillance and bulk data from various collection methods that is constitutionally unlawful? If not, regarding the abilities and bulk data collection that we know it does have in its wheelhouse, do you personally think they should have the level of power that they currently do? And the follow up to that question, at what end should their powers ever be reigned in? OR should they get to have unlimited powers, all in the name of security and freedom? ... It is a serious question, not just rhetorical. I would like to hear where you personally draw the line.

    I will counter what you said above with (for now) two pieces of evidence they are clear to me that even if you don't believe that the NSA has too much ability, some people that really know constitutional law do.

    1. The USA FREEDOM Act, which stands for: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collect. The name alone clearly understands and admits to overreach and over-ability by our national surveillance programs.

    2. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the NSA phone surveillance program appears to violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. He also said the Justice Department had failed to demonstrate that collecting the information had helped to head off terrorist attacks.

    If Snowden is just some lowly hacker that played an otherwise working and completely above board and lawful system, why in the world would judges be using words like 'Orwellian'? Why in the world would the US House pass a bill with the acronym that spells out USA FREEDOM Act? For appeasement to Snowden?? For appeasement to a trumped up controversy and a traitor?? No. I don't think so. Snowden isn't just a hacker that played a surveillance system. Ron Wyden, a Senior Senator on the intelligence committee doesn't think so either.
  • Center Left
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    You can watch the whole 40 minutes or so of the interview on NBC's site, in 6 parts. It's called 'Inside The Mind Of Edward Snowden'. Here's the first one (it will play continuous with a commercial break in between each part):

    http://www.nbcnews.com/watch/nbc-news/inside-the-mind-of-edward-snowden-part-1-...9
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    sbfriedman Wrote:
    RanmaMOJ Wrote: If Snowden has 1.7 million secret documents, its because HE created a program to bypass that. That means HE, not the government, created the documents and violated your privacy. The only time an actual person would read your e-mails/listen to your phone calls at the NSA is if very specific conditions are met. If they aren't there isn't even a copy that can be recovered unless a traitor like Snowden creates a program to create permanent copies. By revealing what he has about the program (which admittedly is why I can say what I have here) he has given intelligence (You know, like Al Qaeda) to groups that would seek to harm the US and can now find ways to work around the system. Snowden is no hero, he's a traitor that has put peoples lives in danger.
    Few questions for you then, since you have worked in the intelligence field.

    Does the NSA have access and ability to (or have they in the recent past) to surveillance and bulk data from various collection methods that is constitutionally unlawful? If not, regarding the abilities and bulk data collection that we know it does have in its wheelhouse, do you personally think they should have the level of power that they currently do? And the follow up to that question, at what end should their powers ever be reigned in? OR should they get to have unlimited powers, all in the name of security and freedom? ... It is a serious question, not just rhetorical. I would like to hear where you personally draw the line.

    I will counter what you said above with (for now) two pieces of evidence they are clear to me that even if you don't believe that the NSA has too much ability, some people that really know constitutional law do.

    1. The USA FREEDOM Act, which stands for: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collect. The name alone clearly understands and admits to overreach and over-ability by our national surveillance programs.

    2. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the NSA phone surveillance program appears to violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. He also said the Justice Department had failed to demonstrate that collecting the information had helped to head off terrorist attacks.

    If Snowden is just some lowly hacker that played an otherwise working and completely above board and lawful system, why in the world would judges be using words like 'Orwellian'? Why in the world would the US House pass a bill with the acronym that spells out USA FREEDOM Act? For appeasement to Snowden?? For appeasement to a trumped up controversy and a traitor?? No. I don't think so. Snowden isn't just a hacker that played a surveillance system. Ron Wyden, a Senior Senator on the intelligence committee doesn't think so either.
    You do realize that not all the Senators have the same level clearance right? You'll notice that the USA FREEDOM act did NOT come from a member of the intelligence committee. Oh, I'll grant you that on the surface it looks like a violation of the 4th Amendment, and people like Snowden can create a violation by making work-a rounds to have the data become permanent, but that isn't how the meta-data system is truly programmed. What the District court judge was ruling on was the declassified aspects of the system (Essentially what Snowden revealed) and NOT the full system. They didn't reveal the full system to the judge because the news was watching the trial. I'll tell you this, the US doesn't usually keep things classified to hide them from its citizens, it keeps them classified to hide them from the countries/groups that would use the information against the US. As for Ron Wyden, he ran on a platform of Government transparency, of course he's against keeping the program secret and wants to demonize it, he's against secret programs period.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    RanmaMOJ Wrote:
    sbfriedman Wrote:
    RanmaMOJ Wrote: If Snowden has 1.7 million secret documents, its because HE created a program to bypass that. That means HE, not the government, created the documents and violated your privacy. The only time an actual person would read your e-mails/listen to your phone calls at the NSA is if very specific conditions are met. If they aren't there isn't even a copy that can be recovered unless a traitor like Snowden creates a program to create permanent copies. By revealing what he has about the program (which admittedly is why I can say what I have here) he has given intelligence (You know, like Al Qaeda) to groups that would seek to harm the US and can now find ways to work around the system. Snowden is no hero, he's a traitor that has put peoples lives in danger.
    Few questions for you then, since you have worked in the intelligence field.

    Does the NSA have access and ability to (or have they in the recent past) to surveillance and bulk data from various collection methods that is constitutionally unlawful? If not, regarding the abilities and bulk data collection that we know it does have in its wheelhouse, do you personally think they should have the level of power that they currently do? And the follow up to that question, at what end should their powers ever be reigned in? OR should they get to have unlimited powers, all in the name of security and freedom? ... It is a serious question, not just rhetorical. I would like to hear where you personally draw the line.

    I will counter what you said above with (for now) two pieces of evidence they are clear to me that even if you don't believe that the NSA has too much ability, some people that really know constitutional law do.

    1. The USA FREEDOM Act, which stands for: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collect. The name alone clearly understands and admits to overreach and over-ability by our national surveillance programs.

    2. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the NSA phone surveillance program appears to violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. He also said the Justice Department had failed to demonstrate that collecting the information had helped to head off terrorist attacks.

    If Snowden is just some lowly hacker that played an otherwise working and completely above board and lawful system, why in the world would judges be using words like 'Orwellian'? Why in the world would the US House pass a bill with the acronym that spells out USA FREEDOM Act? For appeasement to Snowden?? For appeasement to a trumped up controversy and a traitor?? No. I don't think so. Snowden isn't just a hacker that played a surveillance system. Ron Wyden, a Senior Senator on the intelligence committee doesn't think so either.
    You do realize that not all the Senators have the same level clearance right? You'll notice that the USA FREEDOM act did NOT come from a member of the intelligence committee. Oh, I'll grant you that on the surface it looks like a violation of the 4th Amendment, and people like Snowden can create a violation by making work-a rounds to have the data become permanent, but that isn't how the meta-data system is truly programmed. What the District court judge was ruling on was the declassified aspects of the system (Essentially what Snowden revealed) and NOT the full system. They didn't reveal the full system to the judge because the news was watching the trial. I'll tell you this, the US doesn't usually keep things classified to hide them from its citizens, it keeps them classified to hide them from the countries/groups that would use the information against the US. As for Ron Wyden, he ran on a platform of Government transparency, of course he's against keeping the program secret and wants to demonize it, he's against secret programs period.
    Sorry; Ranmojo, I guess you are the "traitor"; you keep forgetting the government is here instituted by and for the people. What he did is correct.
    The government itself is at fault by creating more and more terrorists by their own actions. More and more countries around the world dislike the American attitude and policies. We would have no terrorists at all if we would "feed" the world instead of fighting them. How many terrorists did we fight in 1920 ? I guess none. The militaristic arrogance started after WWII ; we give some leaders a lot of money and or weapons or helped selective dictators in place etc. So what do you expect as result? Now we have the "fear" factor in place; that keeps America save, for sure. The NSA is pure a result of our own policies around the world; so blame this country itself, not the terrorists
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    Dutch Wrote:
    Sorry; Ranmojo, I guess you are the "traitor"; you keep forgetting the government is here instituted by and for the people. What he did is correct.
    The government itself is at fault by creating more and more terrorists by their own actions. More and more countries around the world dislike the American attitude and policies. We would have no terrorists at all if we would "feed" the world instead of fighting them. How many terrorists did we fight in 1920 ? I guess none. The militaristic arrogance started after WWII ; we give some leaders a lot of money and or weapons or helped selective dictators in place etc. So what do you expect as result? Now we have the "fear" factor in place; that keeps America save, for sure. The NSA is pure a result of our own policies around the world; so blame this country itself, not the terrorists
    Can the personal attacks Dutch.

    "We would have no terrorists at all if we would "feed" the world instead of fighting them"?!? What dream land do you live in? You want us to feed them instead of fighting them? You mean like we did with Al Qaeda in the 80's? We gave them food, weapons, and money. You mean like we did in Iran before their revolution? Look at how that turned out for us... America started getting weak after WWII. Gone are the days where when an enemy demands the surrender of a US General, his answer is "Nuts", and come are the days where if we can't win in a few months we retreat. And if Snowden is such a hero, why does even Obama call him a traitor?

    A Japanese Admiral once said that they should attack while the US is weak, but if they do they need to press all the way to DC or they would lose. This Admiral was the one who lead the attack on Pearl Harbor and there is a very famous quote attributed to him when Japan attacked and didn't press. "I fear all we have done is awaken the sleeping Giant"

    Just in the 1900's, counting the year 1920, I count at least 8 terrorist attacks in the US. 8 in 20 years... 7 of those were bombings and 1 was an assassination of the President of the United States (President McKinley)
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
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    Portland, OR
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    RanmaMOJ Wrote: You mean like we did with Al Qaeda in the 80's? We gave them food, weapons, and money.
    Yes, and then we left them to fend for themselves the minute Russia pulled out. Instead of teaching the people we provided a plethora of weapons and money to how to build a new government, we totally abandoned them and let them figure things out for themselves because helping them was no longer in our 'national interest.'

    RanmaMOJ Wrote: You mean like we did in Iran before their revolution? Look at how that turned out for us...
    What history books are you reading? We supported Mohammad Rezâ Shâh Pahlavi, a brutal dictator who slaughtered his own people because we wanted his oil. The CIA helped him consolidate power by overthrowing Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeghthe, the democratically elected leader of Iran, and then actively propped him up for the next two decades. Is it really that big of a surprise that those who overthrew him had a bit of a vendetta against the United States?

    RanmaMOJ Wrote: America started getting weak after WWII. Gone are the days where when an enemy demands the surrender of a US General, his answer is "Nuts", and come are the days where if we can't win in a few months we retreat. And if Snowden is such a hero, why does even Obama call him a traitor?
    Please tell me you are kidding. America started getting weak after WWII? Do you remember the forty plus years of the 'Cold War' and how our country decided that the only thing it cared about was building as many nuclear weapons as we possibly can? Do you not remember the twenty years of covert and overt war in Vietnam? How did that one turn out for us?

    What do you mean by 'come are the days where if we can't win in a few months we retreat'? We have been in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001. We were in Iraq for nine years. We lost 6,717 service members and had another 50,897 wounded in these two conflicts. What in the world do you mean when you say we retreat after a few months? We've been in a constant state of conflict since October of 2001.
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:

    What do you mean by 'come are the days where if we can't win in a few months we retreat'? We have been in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001. We were in Iraq for nine years. We lost 6,717 service members and had another 50,897 wounded in these two conflicts. What in the world do you mean when you say we retreat after a few months? We've been in a constant state of conflict since October of 2001.
    And how soon after we went into Afghanistan was the MSM calling for us to pull out? Maybe six months? In Iraq it was what, 3 or 4 months and they were calling for us to pull out...

    As for Iran, could you get your times right? Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi became the Shah of Iran on 16 September 1941... Mohammad Masaddegh became the Prime Minister on 21 July 1952. So please, explain to me how on earth the CIA helped Reza consolidate power by overthrowing Massaddegh, when Reza was ruler of Iran DURING Massaddegh's time as prime minister. Also, Massaddegh was appointed as prime minister by Reza and was approved in a 79-12 vote by the parliament. And a prime minister is NOT THE LEADER OF A COUNTRY. A Prime Minister is the equivalent of the Speaker of the House or Senate Majority leader.
  • Center Left
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    RanmaMOJ Wrote: You do realize that not all the Senators have the same level clearance right? You'll notice that the USA FREEDOM act did NOT come from a member of the intelligence committee.
    So, on one hand, a senior intelligence committee member like Ron Wyden is discredited in your mind because he is openly against secrecy? But, the House members that assembled the USA Freedom bill, and all the members of Congress that have publicly said that we need to reign in the NSA's ability don't really know what they are talking about because they don't have the clearance that someone like Wyden does??

    Who then is qualified to have an opinion on this matter? Anyone? Or just anyone that agrees with you? Makes me wonder what YOUR level of clearance was in the Intelligence field. Judging by what you gather and know of Snowden, did you have as much clearance as him? More? That's also an important distinction to consider, when weighing what you KNOW about this organization that would rather do everything behind doors and in secret.

    Like Snowden said last night, this problem isn't necessarily with nefarious, mustache-twirling people scheming in a dark room. It's about a surveillance system that has too much power. The problem is systemic, not necessarily nefarious. People will use the means and ways in which they have available to them, always. It's built into our DNA. What the public needs to do is make sure that there are sufficient and working rules and regulatory bodies in place to safeguard our liberties and privacy, otherwise an organization that prefers to do its operations in the dark could systemically gain far too much power. Too much power and ability than any man rightly should have over any other man, regardless of if it's in the name of country, patriotism, security, etc.

    In times of crisis, true crisis, rules are I suppose meant to be more like guidelines and sometimes common sense should trump all else in the name of protecting citizens. But, those should be rare times. It seems like the NSA has been systemically allowed to operate as if the US is in constant crisis mode. That's what Snowden (and myself as I agree with him) want to see happen. Reform that goes AWAY from overreach ability as the norm and not the extreme exception, because the logical conclusion is a complete police-state, all in the same of security. That is not what America should be. Do you seriously not agree with that sentiment?
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    sbfriedman Wrote:
    RanmaMOJ Wrote: You do realize that not all the Senators have the same level clearance right? You'll notice that the USA FREEDOM act did NOT come from a member of the intelligence committee.
    So, on one hand, a senior intelligence committee member like Ron Wyden is discredited in your mind because he is openly against secrecy? But, the House members that assembled the USA Freedom bill, and all the members of Congress that have publicly said that we need to reign in the NSA's ability don't really know what they are talking about because they don't have the clearance that someone like Wyden does??

    Who then is qualified to have an opinion on this matter? Anyone? Or just anyone that agrees with you? Makes me wonder what YOUR level of clearance was in the Intelligence field. Judging by what you gather and know of Snowden, did you have as much clearance as him? More? That's also an important distinction to consider, when weighing what you KNOW about this organization that would rather do everything behind doors and in secret.
    Actually, considering I don't know what caveats he had, I can't say exactly if my security clearance was the same, but I did have a TS clearance. I was a 98C in the US Army. I know I had the same clearance and caveats as the NSA liaison that worked in the building I worked in. And I know a bit more about the program than what I have said or will say here. (For the record a 98C is an Signals Intelligence Analyst. I was also trained in Collection Management, meaning I dealt with Imint and Humint as well...)
  • Center Left
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    There is also a difference between what the NSA is capable of doing and they are actually doing. If the NSA is capable of hacking my phone and turning it against that is one thing. An uncomfortable, but legal thing. If the NSA has hacked my phone without due process then that is something else entirely. That is a violation of the 3rd and 4th Amendments.

    Clearly, the Congress has already validated some of the claims of Snowden. Snowden is only a patriot if his claims are true. I don't think I would classify him as a traitor since every action he has taken has been, at least in his mind, to protect the U.S. Constitution and the citizens of this country.