Democracy Now!

Edward Snowden

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  • Over four years ago, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that he or other NSA analysts could spy on anyone, even the U.S. president. "I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge, to even the president, if I had a personal email," Snowden said in an interview with Glenn Greenwald in Hong Kong. We talk to Greenwald about the difference between how Washington reacted to Snowden’s leaks and today’s leaks about Gen. Michael Flynn.

  • While President Obama has commuted the sentence of Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, the administration has indicated it has no plans to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said last week, "The release of the information [Manning] provided to WikiLeaks was damaging to national security. But the disclosures by Edward Snowden were far more serious and far more dangerous." We speak to The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill, author of the recent piece, "The True Scandal of 2016 was the Torture of Chelsea Manning."

  • In our extended conversation, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald responds to claims NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations helped Russia, and examines what actions the Trump administration may take against him and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. "Exactly the same playbook was used against [Daniel] Ellsberg that is now being used against Snowden, which is to say, ’Don’t listen to these disclosures. Don’t regard this person as a hero for exposing our corruption and lawbreaking. Focus instead on the fact that these are traitors working with our enemies,’" says Greenwald. "And just as it was completely false in the case of Ellsberg, so too is it completely false in the case of Snowden."

  • It has been three years since National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden released classified NSA files to media outlets that exposed global mass surveillance operations by the U.S. and British governments. If he returned to the United States from Russia, where he now lives in exile, he would face charges of theft of state secrets and violating the Espionage Act, and face at least 30 years in prison. This week his supporters launched a new call for President Obama to offer Snowden clemency, a plea agreement or a pardon before the end of his term. We host a debate about whether Snowden should be pardoned with Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and Bradley Moss, a national security attorney who has represented whistleblowers.

  • In Part 2 of our debate about whether National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden should be pardoned, we examine whether he could get a fair trial if he returns to the United States to be tried for violating the Espionage Act. Snowden has said the Espionage Act does not allow a whistleblower or public interest defense, which means his motivations would not be considered in court. Under the act, "it would literally be inadmissible for [Snowden] to tell the jury his motivations," argues Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Meanwhile, Bradley Moss, a national security attorney who has represented whistleblowers, says Snowden "could have gone to the intelligence committees" with his revelations and stayed within legal guidelines.

  • As the much-anticipated movie "Snowden," about one of the most wanted men in the world, hits theaters, we spend the hour with its director, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone, and the actor who played Snowden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and feature clips from the film that tells the story of how NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed massive surveillance programs by U.S. and British intelligence agencies. "Our goal was to humanize the man, to bring you … the feeling of his life," Stone says of Snowden, who he notes was originally politically conservative and tried to enlist in the military to serve in Iraq but joined the CIA instead.

  • The release of Oliver Stone’s film "Snowden" comes amid a stepped-up campaign by the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden before he leaves office in January. Snowden is charged with theft of state secrets and is accused of violating the Espionage Act. He faces at least 30 years in prison, but argues his disclosure of mass surveillance by the U.S. and British intelligence agencies was not only morally right, but left citizens better off. "I think it would be a great choice for our country to turn back on the road it’s on," says Stone. Joseph Gordon-Levitt adds, "The truth [is] that Snowden’s disclosures did not do any harm … There was … a responsible process to make sure that no harm would be done."

  • On the release of Oliver Stone’s new film, "Snowden," we speak with WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison, who accompanied NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on his flight from Hong Kong to Moscow and spent four months with him in the airport in Russia. She describes how Snowden reached out to the Courage Foundation, which she directs and which raises defense funds for Snowden and other whistleblowers. "We really wanted to try and show the world that there are people who will stand up" and help whistleblowers, says Harrison.

  • Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said Edward Snowden "stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands." We get reaction from WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison and filmmaker Oliver Stone. "She misses the point that no spy gives his story to the newspapers for free, which is what he did," Stone says. "He handed over all the information." Harrison adds, "To me, this is all just rhetorical spin trying to deflect from the real situation."

  • Mark Hertsgaard broke the story of Pentagon whistleblower John Crane in his new book, "Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden." The book details how senior Pentagon officials may have broken the law to punish National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. "I think that’s what’s important about John Crane’s story, is it puts the lie to what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are saying and have been saying about Edward Snowden from the beginning," Hertsgaard said.

  • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden wrote the foreword for the new book by Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept, "The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program," which is based on leaked government documents provided by a whistleblower. Snowden writes, "These disclosures about the Obama administration’s killing program reveal that there’s a part of the American character that is deeply concerned with the unrestrained, unchecked exercise of power. And there is no greater or clearer manifestation of unchecked power than assuming for oneself the authority to execute an individual outside of a battlefield context and without the involvement of any sort of judicial process." We speak with Scahill, who says the Obama administration has targeted Snowden for being a whistleblower, while allowing others to leak information that benefits it.

  • On Monday, the Justice Department announced it has succeeded in unlocking an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters and dropped its case against Apple, ending a high-stakes legal battle but leaving a broader debate over encryption unresolved. The fight between the FBI and Apple had grown increasingly contentious as the tech giant refused to help government authorities bypass the security features of its phone. The FBI wanted Apple to build a backdoor into the phone, but Apple said such a move would put the security of other iPhones at risk, as well. The FBI’s decision to drop its case now raises new concerns about the strength of security in Apple devices given law enforcement’s ability to unlock the iPhone without Apple’s assistance. Last week, we talked to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald about the fight between the FBI and Apple, as well as Donald Trump’s embrace of torture.

  • Web-exclusive interview with Glenn Greenwald on the debate over encryption and the Apple-FBI battle.

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