Edward Snowden: 'US will say I aided our enemies,' says NSA whistleblower in newly released video interview
Edward Snowden, the 30-year-old wanted by American authorities for leaking information about classified US surveillance programs, predicted he would be seen in violation of the Espionage Act and that the “US government will say I aided our enemies”.
New footage of Mr Snowden’s interview in Hong Kong on June 6 has been released by The Guardian, hours after Bolivia demanded an explanation over why their president’s plane was dramatically blocked from the airspace of four European countries last week amid suspicions that the whistleblower was on board.
Mr Snowden, who has not been seen in public since the interview, is still believed to be in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. But Spanish officials are adamant that they had been told Mr Snowden was on board the plane.
Their suspicions led to president Evo Morales’ jet being forced to reroute to Vienna last week on the way home from Moscow. The move has angered several Latin American countries that have accused the US of influencing its European allies.
Bolivian Communications Minister Amanda Davila said: "We are simply asking the government of Spain and the other governments to clarify and explain where that version of Mr Snowden being on the presidential plane came from.”
The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro offered asylum to Mr Snowden on Friday, saying his country would protect the former NSA contractor from being persecuted by "the world's most powerful empire."
In the video that emerged today, Mr Snowden recalls how his position on US intentions shifted over the course of the last decade. Recalling enlisting into the US army in 2002 he says: “I believed in the goodness of what we were doing. I believed in the nobility of our intentions to free oppressed people overseas.”
He continues: “But over time as I watched the news and was increasingly exposed to true information that had not been propagandised in the media, [I realised] we were involved in misleading the public in order to create a certain mindset in the global consciousness. And I was a victim of that.”
Snowden's revelations, which he leaked initially to Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, included the existence of a growing NSA stockpile of millions of phone records from the US public as well as the PRISM programme that is alleged to give it "direct access" to files from the servers of major tech companies such as Google and Facebook.
Other tools include the ‘Boundless Informant’ which allegedly measures the total level of "metadata" gathered globally, in order to analyse its flows. In the latest footage, Snowden says: “The NSA lied about the existence of this tool to Congress and to specific Congressmen in response to previous enquires about their surveillance inquiries.”
He continues: “America is a fundamentally good country. We have good people with good values who want to do the right thing. But the structures of power that exist are working to their own ends to extend their capability at the expense of the freedom of all publics.”
The latest comments are likely to be an irritant to the US who are seeking to arrest the whistleblower. Earlier today it emerged that the Republic of Ireland denied the US an arrest warrant for Mr Snowden in case he lands in the country. The High Court ruled that American security chiefs had failed to show where alleged crimes had been committed. Officials made the move after Mr Snowden contacted 21 countries, including Ireland, seeking asylum.
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