Snowden: ‘No Chance’ of Fair Trial for Me in U.S.

The former NSA contractor answered questions Thursday culled from Twitter in a wide-ranging online session.

A portrait of Edward Snowden declaring him a 'hero' is seen during a protest against government surveillance on October 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. The disclosures of widespread surveillance by the US National Security Agency of US allies has caused an international uproar, with leaders in Europe and Latin America demanding an accounting from the United States. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Dustin Volz
Add to Briefcase
Dustin Volz
Jan. 23, 2014, 11:01 a.m.

Fu­git­ive and former Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency con­tract­or Ed­ward Snowden called “in­dis­crim­in­ate mass sur­veil­lance” of com­mu­nic­a­tions a “glob­al prob­lem” Thursday and urged the United States to take the lead in re­form­ing the way gov­ern­ments col­lect and store bulk data.

“I think a per­son should be able to dial a num­ber, make a pur­chase, send an SMS, write an email, or vis­it a web­site without hav­ing to think about what it’s go­ing to look like on their per­man­ent re­cord,” Snowden said dur­ing an on­line ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion. “Par­tic­u­larly when we now have courts, re­ports from the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, and even state­ments from Con­gress mak­ing it clear these pro­grams haven’t made us any more safe, we need to push back.”

The web­site frees­nowden.is hos­ted the live event, which came less than a week after Pres­id­ent Obama enu­mer­ated a series of re­forms to the NSA. The di­git­al event asked Twit­ter users to sub­mit ques­tions us­ing an #AskS­nowden hasht­ag.

Re­spond­ing to a ques­tion from CNN an­chor Jake Tap­per, Snowden said that re­turn­ing to the U.S. would be “the best res­ol­u­tion” for both him and the gov­ern­ment but that cur­rent es­pi­on­age laws mean there is “no chance to have a fair tri­al.” 

Snowden, who is be­lieved to still be liv­ing in Rus­sia after earn­ing tem­por­ary asylum there, has been busy try­ing to re­main rel­ev­ant in re­cent weeks. Last week the Free­dom of the Press Found­a­tion an­nounced Snowden’s ap­point­ment to its board of dir­ect­ors, a group that already in­cludes journ­al­ists Glenn Gre­en­wald and film­maker Laura Poitras. In Decem­ber, Snowden de­clared in an in­ter­view with The Wash­ing­ton Post that he had “already ac­com­plished” his mis­sion. 

Mean­while, a new poll finds a ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans be­lieve the gov­ern­ment should pur­sue a crim­in­al case against Snowden.

Snowden was also asked wheth­er it was “a shame” that the pres­id­ent out­lined his NSA re­forms be­fore the Pri­vacy and Civil Liber­ties Over­sight Board pub­licly re­leased its re­com­mend­a­tions, which were re­leased Thursday and called for an end to the NSA’s bulk col­lec­tion of tele­phone re­cords. Snowden said he thought Con­gress could not ig­nore the re­port “as it makes it clear there is no reas­on at all to main­tain” the tele­phone metadata col­lec­tion pro­gram.

Mem­bers of the PCLOB have in­sisted that they were able to fully coun­sel Obama on their opin­ions and that they har­bor no ill will against the pres­id­ent for the tim­ing of his speech.

This is Snowden’s second pub­lic Q&A ses­sion, fol­low­ing one with Gre­en­wald held shortly after his first leaks were pub­lished in June 2013.

What We're Following See More »
WITH LIVE BLOGGING
Trump Deposition Video Is Online
22 hours ago
STAFF PICKS

The video of Donald Trump's deposition in his case against restaurateur Jeffrey Zakarian is now live. Slate's Jim Newell and Josh Voorhees are live-blogging it while they watch.

Source:
SOUND LEVEL AFFECTED
Debate Commission Admits Issues with Trump’s Mic
23 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.

Source:
TRUMP VS. CHEFS
Trump Deposition Video to Be Released
23 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."

Source:
A CANDIDATE TO BE ‘PROUD’ OF
Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson
1 days ago
THE LATEST

No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."

NEVER TRUMP
USA Today Weighs in on Presidential Race for First Time Ever
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."

Source:
×