In second part of Glenn Greenwald interview, NSA whistleblower insists he is a patriot who regards the US as fundamentally good.
Edward Snowden predicted more than a month ago while still in hiding in Hong Kong that the US government would seek to demonise him, telling the Guardian that he would be accused of aiding America's enemies.
In the second installment of an interview carried out before he revealed himself as the NSA whistleblower, Snowden insisted that he was a patriot and that he regards the US as a fundamentally good country.
But he said he had chosen to release the highly classified information because freedoms were being undermined by intelligence agency "excesses."
The interview was conducted on June 6 in a hotel room in Hong Kong. The first part of the interview was released on Sunday June 9, starting a media frenzy and intensifying US efforts to track him down.
Snowden has since fled Hong Kong for Moscow, where he is reportedly marooned while resisting US attempts to extradite him to face charges under the Espionage Act.
In the newly released interview excerpts, he predicted he would be portrayed not as a whistleblower but a spy.
"I think they are going to say I have committed grave crimes, I have violated the Espionage Act. They are going to say I have aided our enemies in making them aware of these systems. But this argument can be made against anyone who reveals information that points out mass surveillance systems," he said.
Asked whether he had sought a career in the intelligence community specifically to become a mole and reveal secrets, Snowden, 30, said he had joined government service very young, first enlisting in the US army immediately after the invasion of Iraq out of a belief in "the goodness of what we were doing. I believed in the nobility of our intentions to free oppressed people overseas."
But his views shifted over the length of his career as he watched the news, which he saw as propaganda, not truth. "We were actually involved in misleading the public and misleading all the publics, not just the American public, in order to create certain mindset in the global consciousness and I was actually a victim of that."
He had not fallen out of love with America, only its government. "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."
In the new excerpts, he explained his motivation for revealing the information. "I don't want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded," he said. "And that's not something I'm willing to support, it's not something I'm willing to build and it's not something I'm willing to live under."
He also insisted he had continued with his job while waiting for political leaders to rein in what he described as "government excesses."
But, he said, "as I've watched I've seen that's not occurring, and in fact we're compounding the excesses of prior governments and making it worse and more invasive. And no one is really standing to stop it."
Snowden has been attacked by his critics for first going to Hong Kong, which is part of China, even though it enjoys freedoms not available on the mainland, and to Russia. He has been offered asylum in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua but faces the practical problem of how to get to any of these countries.
[Subscribe to Glenn Greenwald]Glenn Greenwald is a journalist,former constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times bestselling books on politics and law. His most recent book, "No Place to Hide," is about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. His forthcoming book, to be published in April, 2021, is about Brazilian history and current politics, with a focus on his experience in reporting a series of expose's in 2019 and 2020 which exposed high-level corruption by powerful officials in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which subsequently attempted to prosecute him for that reporting.
Foreign Policy magazine named Greenwald one of the top 100 Global Thinkers for 2013. He was the debut winner, along with "Democracy Now's" Amy Goodman, of the Park Center I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2008, and also received the 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work breaking the story of the abusive (more...)