Edward Snowden: Congress’s Failures Forced My Hand

In a new interview, the NSA leaker says House and Senate leaders “elected” him by failing to do their oversight jobs themselves.

A bus drives past a banner supporting Edward Snowden at Central, Hong Kong's business district, Tuesday, June 18, 2013. 
National Journal
Matt Berman
Add to Briefcase
Matt Berman
Dec. 24, 2013, 4:34 a.m.

Ed­ward Snowden isn’t giv­ing the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency a break. The NSA leak­er has de­clared vic­tory in a new in­ter­view with The Wash­ing­ton Post, pub­lished just a week after a fed­er­al judge ruled that the data-col­lec­tion pro­gram Snowden un­veiled in­fringes on Fourth Amend­ment rights. 

“For me, in terms of per­son­al sat­is­fac­tion, the mis­sion’s already ac­com­plished,” Snowden told The Post earli­er this month. “I already won. As soon as the journ­al­ists were able to work, everything that I had been try­ing to do was val­id­ated. Be­cause, re­mem­ber, I didn’t want to change so­ci­ety. I wanted to give so­ci­ety a chance to de­term­ine if it should change it­self.”

But Snowden isn’t just giv­ing grief to the NSA. In the in­ter­view, he says he was forced to take the re­spons­ib­il­ity for stand­ing up for Amer­ic­an so­ci­ety be­cause Amer­ica’s elec­ted lead­ers had failed.

“That whole ques­tion — who elec­ted you? — in­verts the mod­el. They elec­ted me. The over­seers,” Snowden says. And he gets more spe­cif­ic:

“Di­anne Fein­stein elec­ted me when she asked soft­ball ques­tions” in com­mit­tee hear­ings, he said. “Mike Ro­gers elec­ted me when he kept these pro­grams hid­den…. The FISA court elec­ted me when they de­cided to le­gis­late from the bench on things that were far bey­ond the man­date of what that court was ever in­ten­ded to do. The sys­tem failed com­pre­hens­ively, and each level of over­sight, each level of re­spons­ib­il­ity that should have ad­dressed this, ab­dic­ated their re­spons­ib­il­ity.”

This ob­vi­ously doesn’t make life any easi­er for Sen. Di­anne Fein­stein, D-Cal­if., the chair­wo­man of the Sen­ate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee.

Last week, more than 50 civil-liber­ties groups came out in op­pos­i­tion to Fein­stein’s at­tempt to re­form the NSA, the FISA Im­prove­ments Act. The bill, which would lay out prop­er use for the col­lec­tion pro­grams, “does not of­fer real re­form to stop the NSA’s mass col­lec­tion of our com­mu­nic­a­tions and com­mu­nic­a­tions re­cords,” the groups con­tend. The bill would of­fer “fig-leaf trans­par­ency and over­sight pro­vi­sions while em­bra­cing NSA sur­veil­lance,” says the Elec­tron­ic Fron­ti­er Found­a­tion. 

Now, Snowden is pil­ing on.

What We're Following See More »
FIRST TIME SINCE COLD WAR
Nuclear Bombers Preparing to Go Back on 24-Hour Alert
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991...Putting the B-52s back on alert is just one of many decisions facing the Air Force as the U.S. military responds to a changing geopolitical environment that includes North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal, President Trump’s confrontational approach to Pyongyang, and Russia’s increasingly potent and active armed forces."

Source:
TRUMP’S ATTORNEY WAS SET TO TESTIFY ON WEDNESDAY
Senate Intel Postpones Testimony by Cohen
2 days ago
THE LATEST
AMENDMENT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED CONSIDERATION
Senate Rejects Effort to Nix SALT Tax Changes
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."

Source:
INTERVIEWED BY COMMITTEE STAFF
Lewandowski Meets with Senate Intelligence Committee
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."

Source:
FISHING EXPEDITION
Some Members Seek to Wrap Up Russia Investigations by Year’s End
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login