NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden joined journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald on Reddit yesterday for an Ask Me Anything (AMA) discussion. The results were just as fascinating as you would expect them to be.
Edward Snowden, who has been living in Russia following threats to his person after his NSA revelations, was joined by filmmaker and journalist Laura Poitras (Citizenfour), and journalist and attorney Glenn Greenwald for the discussion. All three had a great deal to say about the leaks, the fallout, and the future of privacy across the globe.
How Things Might Have Been
When asked if he would do anything differently if he could do it all over again, Snowden admits that he would have blown the whistle long before he did. Due to the subversive nature of such agencies and the policies that allow them to run in the background, he said that had so much time not passed, and so much money not been sunk into the project, it would not have been so ingrained or difficult to stop.
An interesting point that sheds light on how there is a pervasive culture underlying these agencies, rather than the rules of a singular department.
The NSA and the 2016 Elections
For the future, a question arose about how spying from the NSA could become a voting issue in the 2016 election. It was Greenwald who presented the more compelling answer. He claims that the government uses bipartisan agreement to slip debates from the mainstream public’s view, especially from the side of the leadership.
So, even though the spying scandal has caused uproar from both the right and left, and both sides have come together to demand an end, the leadership on both sides is pleased with it. That allows them to draw attention away until it has no voice, effectively ending the debate and ensuring the status quo.
Greenwald says that this has been a common theme with anti-NSA sentiment, and the reason why the issue appears to have been dropped. Even though logic would dictate that it become a key issue in the coming election.
Getting Across The Border
Poitras has become well known as a filmmaker who is dedicated to exposing human rights issues across the world. During her time traveling, especially in response to her assistance and support of Edward Snowden, she has been targeted many times. In particular, she is regularly detained at border control, security and customs when trying to return to the United States, or sometimes to enter into other regions.
When asked if this has continued on, she stated that it has thankfully stopped for the moment. But that was only after coming forward with news of the methods, which led to an outpouring of support from those who saw it was authority bullying.
Read the full AMA here.