R.K: Yeah that's a classic...
C.R.: Yeah. So in any event we're seeing this and I guess the hopeful part is if we can just combine now. If we can get that good side of the Libertarian issues and we can combine it with the good side of the progressives, guess what? We now have a real strong consensus.
R.K.: Yeah that would be exciting. And let me get back to Moscow now, what did you learn from your conversation with Snowden that you didn't know before you made the trip to Moscow?
C.R.: Well, one thing I learned is, and this runs counter to some of the propaganda in the mainstream press, they have painted him as kind of a low-level contractor who abused his access, legitimate access to get access to these secrets, that's what you've kind of seen in the press. And I learned that, or we learned that actually that's not the case.
He was working on a lot of high-level projects. He was obviously trusted and had gotten access, very legitimate access to knowledge of these things. Many analysts and even other technical assistance people would be compartmentalized. They would only be working on a narrow area and in some cases they don't even see the forest for the trees. They don't see the big picture of what's going on because they really are focused narrowly.
Government has tried to do that in fact, compartmentalize because they don't want people to see the big picture. Actually from a security standpoint in striving to prevent leaks, what happens is it ends up compartmentalizing. You actually end up also with all these pre-9/11 problems where agencies don't share information with each other and even inside agencies, one group will say "you don't have a need to know" to a different group and they won't share the information.
That compartmentalization, I think, had diminished for a little while after 9/11, there was a lot of impetus to break that down and to have wider sharing because they realized that's what allowed 9/11 to happen. But it has gone back now the other way. It's gone back more into compartmentalization and especially by launching the Insider Threat program, which is now an actual office; in every agency has something called the Insider Threat Program where they're trying to find potential leakers and disgruntled employees.
Well I'm going back to what I was surprised about, Edward Snowden was in one these unique positions where he actually did have an ability to see the overall picture as opposed to being compartmentalized. By seeing the overall picture, he of course was stunned and realized that this was something that the American citizenry would have to know about in order to fix and reform.
I think there's been a lot of disinformation, the press painting him as some low-level person and obviously equating him also with being a spy.
R.K: So what did he tell you that made it clear to you that he was not a low-level person and that he was not compartmentalized?
C.R.: You know, some of these program names, I of course did not take notes, but and I'm not familiar with these programs, but Tom Drake was more familiar with these programs, and there were high level programs that he was very much involved in, and he was integral to, and even helping establish some of these programs so that is one of the ways, again, that's why he knew what was going on and he wasn't just one of these guys, one of these people that just was narrowly focused on one little area. He traveled of course as the news has reported, he wasn't in just one place, he served in several different locations.
R.K.: So anything else besides just his level of authority and access to information?
C.R.: Well -
R.K: [ss] that you learned there?
C.R.: I'll tell you another thing that, it didn't exactly surprise me but it's important, I guess it underscored what I already thought, he was smart enough and astute enough to realize that he could not have this data, these secret data on him, he could not himself have control over it or he would potentially be susceptible not only to any country's intelligence forces who might get a hold of them but also even obviously to the United States and anybody, so he, from the start gave control of the data to other people and other sources, including obviously journalists and that was a precautionary thing that he did.
This undercuts what everybody is saying, oh he fled to China, first he was in China then he was in Russia and of course this has threatened all of United State's secrets with these hostile intelligence agencies that would have control over him. Well no, because he realized that from that start and he did not, he does not have the data himself -