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 »
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.
"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."
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."
"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."