Snowden was well aware of how Manning was treated and how other whistleblowers had been treated by President Barack Obama's administration before he fled. He has cited Manning's treatment in his asylum applications to various countries.
At this point, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have offered asylum to him. This has been covered through the lens of US foreign policy, with a focus on how this is what should be expected from an "anti-American" country that likes to say America is an imperial nation. There has been little consideration of the issue of whether Snowden could ever get a fair trial in the United States, but that is the critical issue that deserves the most focus.
Truth is, if you're a whistleblower in the US, there is little chance that you will be able to mount a defense in a court of law where you get to argue the act you took was in the public interest and not some kind of act of espionage. And, had Snowden not taken action, the world would not have been discussing the US surveillance state--of which the NSA is a key player--for more the past month with news organizations publishing their own stories that add to what Snowden exposed.
Below is a full transcript of Part 2 of Snowden's interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.
GREENWALD: Have you given thought to what it is to what it is that the US government's response to your conduct is in terms of what they may say about you? How they might try to depict you?
SNOWDEN: I think the government's going to launch an investigation. I think they're going to say I've committed grave crimes. I've violated the Espionage Act. They're going to say I've aided our enemies in making them aware of these systems but that argument can be made against anybody who reveals information that points out mass surveillance systems because fundamentally they apply equally to ourselves as they do to our enemies.
GREENWALD: When you decided to enter this world, did you do so with the intention of weaseling your way in and becoming a mole so that you could one day undermine it with disclosures or what was your perspective and mindset about it at the time when you first got into this whole realm?
SNOWDEN: I joined the intelligence community when I was very young, the government as a whole. I enlisted in the Army shortly after the invasion of Iraq and I believed in the goodness of what we were doing. I believed in the nobility of our intentions to free oppressed people overseas but over time, over the length of my career, as I watched the news and I was increasingly was exposed to true information that had not been propagandized in the media, that we were actually involved in miselading the public and misleading all publics, not just the American public, in order to create a certain mindset in the global consciousness and I was actually a victim of that.
America is fundamentally a 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.
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