Highlights from the Q&A session with Edward Snowden

Edward SnowdenEarlier today a live Q&A session was held with activist and whistleblower Edward Snowden by FreeSnowden. While the entire transcript is a fascinating read, there were some interesting highlights.

Edward Snowden talked about the threat made on his life, Obama, US national security apparatus and even presented his views on spying and the role of intelligent agencies.

@MrBass asked: Recently several threats have been made on your life by the intelligence community. Are you afraid for your life? Thoughts? #AskSnowden

Snowden claimed that it was ‘concerning’, and that he was aware that these statements made by intelligence officials were direct and serious threats. However, it was not the actual threat on his life that bothered him the most.

That current, serving officials of our government are so comfortable in their authorities that they’re willing to tell reporters on the record that they think the due process protections of the 5th Amendment of our Constitution are outdated concepts.

Indeed, that such statements have been made are terrifying, but even worst is the acceptance by the public of such direct dangers. People seem to expect such behavior from those in the intelligence field. What does that say about us?

@RagBagUSA #AskSnowden what (in your opinion) is the appropriate extent of US national security apparatus? Surely some spying is needed?

Here, Snowden showed off the side of himself that was once a member of the agency of which he blew the whistle. Something that many people seem to forget. Mainly, he pointed out that not all spying is created equal.

Not all spying is bad. The biggest problem we face right now is the new technique of indiscriminate mass surveillance, where governments are seizing billions and billions and billions of innocents’ communication every single day. This is done not because it’s necessary — after all, these programs are unprecedented in US history, and were begun in response to a threat that kills fewer Americans every year than bathtub falls and police officers — but because new technologies make it easy and cheap.

Countries spying on one another, and agencies spying on potential national security threats, is a long tradition that permeates every culture. Snowden’s concern seems to be scope and citizen privacy.

@mperkel #ASKSNOWDEN They say it’s a balance of privacy and safety. I think spying makes us less safe. do you agree?

This was an especially interesting question, especially as thinking of these agencies makes it easy to consider them faceless, evil entities,

Intelligence agencies do have a role to play, and the people at the working level at the NSA, CIA, or any other member of the IC are not out to get you. They’re good people trying to do the right thing, and I can tell you from personal experience that they were worried about the same things I was.

The people you need to watch out for are the unaccountable senior officials authorizing these unconstitutional programs, and unreliable mechanisms like the secret FISA court, a rubber-stamp authority that approves 99.97% of government requests (which denied only 11 requests out of 33,900 in 33 years They’re the ones that get us into trouble with the Constitution by letting us go too far.

The entire Q & A is a fascinating read, so check it out at the source link below.

Source: FreeSnowden

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