Source: Mike Malloy
Edward Snowden faces arrest if he touches US soil, but that didn't prevent him from giving the keynote address at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, TX earlier today. Speaking via a video link from Russia, Snowden spoke to the tech-savvy crowd about Internet security before taking questions from the audience. He appeared in front of a background of the US Constitution, the document that Snowden said inspired him to go to the media with his stack of NSA documents in the first place. Would Snowden do it again?
"'Would I do it again? Absolutely. Regardless of what happens to me, this is something we had a right to," he said. "I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. And I saw the Constitution was being violated on a massive scale,' he added, to applause from the 3,000 people in the auditorium at the Austin Convention Center."
Not everyone is applauding. Some consider Snowden a traitor for leaking government documents. Makes you wonder if this is the same crowd that's still irritated that Woodard and Bernstein exposed Nixon's criminal activities.
Don't the American people deserve transparency in our government operations? We cannot hold our elected officials accountable if we don't know what they're doing. Honestly, is there anyone who thinks it is perfectly okay for the NSA to collect private phone records and wiretap innocent citizens? Thanks to Snowden, we now know that the Obama administration (as those before it) spied on our foreign allies. And as Snowden explained today, his revelations have already caused a shift in government policy, as Reuters reports:
"Last year, Snowden, who had been working at a National Security Agency (NSA) facility as an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, leaked a raft of secret documents that revealed a vast U.S. government system for monitoring phone and Internet data.
"The leaks deeply embarrassed the Obama administration, which in January banned U.S. eavesdropping on the leaders of friendly countries and allies and began reining in the sweeping collection of Americans' phone data in a series of limited reforms triggered by Snowden's revelations.
"'The government has gone and changed their talking points. They have changed their verbiage away from public interest to national interest,' he said, adding that this poses the risk of losing control of representative democracy, and that his revelations of government spying on private communications have resulted in protections that have benefited the public and global society."
Seems a bit messed up that our government assumes the (unconstitutional) authority to commit these crimes, but then forces the whistle-blowers who expose them into exile, doesn't it, Truthseekers?