Edward Snowden’s appearances through video teleconferences and on TV have lent him an air of impermanence and mystery. His name remains a buzzword; his appearances and commentary via tenuous Internet connection generate publicity on a scale rarely seen. His interviewers ask him about an upbringing that led him to his defection from the intelligence ranks, how deep the rabbit hole really goes, how he feels about being separated from his loved ones, his thoughts on the Constitution, our rights, and a myriad of other things that all unite to imply he’s a patiot or a traitor, but never truly both.

Here we’ve assembled the best quotes from his transcripted interviews and compiled a short “autobiography” of Snowden to lend credence to the fact that he’s a man, with his own backstory, his own set of imposed beliefs, his own shackles to bear. Hero or traitor, he’s changed the landscape of national intelligence, and his remarkable staying power is tribute enough to warrant a further look.

His Story

“I come from a government family. My grandfather was in the military, my father was in the military, my mother still works for the government, my sister works for the government, and I worked for the government. I was a staff officer for the Central Intelligence Agency.”...“I …signed up to join the US military in the wake of the September eleventh attacks, I had just signed up for the invasion of Iraq because I had believed that fundamentally our government had noble intent, and it did good things, and it did them for the right reasons.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“I was on Fort Meade on September 11th… I was right outside the NSA ... So I remember — I remember the tension that day. I remember hearing on the radio the planes hitting. And I remember thinking my grandfather, who worked for the FBI at the time — was in the Pentagon when the plane hit it.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

“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.” [Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras Interview for The Guardian – June 2013]

“I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas — pretending to work in a job that I’m not — and even being assigned a name that was not mine. ... Now, the government might deny these things, they might frame it in certain ways and say, “Oh well, you know, he’s — he’s a low level analyst.” But what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to use one position that I’ve had in a career here or there to distract from the totality of my experience, which is that I’ve worked for the Central Intelligence Agency undercover overseas, I’ve worked for the National Security Agency undercover overseas, and I’ve worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency as a lecturer at the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy where I developed sources and methods for keeping our information and people secure in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world. So when they say I’m a low-level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say it’s somewhat misleading.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

His High-Tech Experience

“I certainly have had let’s say a deep informal education in computers and electronic technology. They have always been fascinating and interesting to me.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“I personally am not the world’s expert in technology.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

“The government invited me as Dell employee — to have meetings with the CTO, the CIO, and other high-level — technical officers. Actually, the highest level — executive officers for technology in the entire Central Intelligence Agency. They were asking me to propose solutions, to solve problems that no one else could do. I developed new systems that created new capabilities — that — would protect the NSA from disastrous events around the world. For example, the site in Japan where I worked, I created a system that was then later adopted by — by the headquarters of the National Security Agency, and then rolled out — it’s being rolled out now around the world, that would protect them in case any site experienced a disaster. Now this was me, as an individual, who came up with this plan, who pitched this plan — who — who — brought it to the director of the technology directorate, who signed off on it and said this was a good idea, who then said I should really push this back to — a certain internal unit.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

“I began to move from merely overseeing these systems to actively directing their use. Many people don’t understand that I was actually an analyst and I designated individuals and groups for targeting.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“Because I was where I was, because I saw massive crimes against the Constitution happening on an unprecedented scale, and I had the technological skill, capability to do something about it, I was able to change the conversation in a way, make some small contribution to the public that has really had an outside impact.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

What He Saw

“As I rose to higher and higher levels in the intelligence communities, I gained more and more access, as I saw more and more classified information, at the highest levels.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

“Toward the end of my tenure at the NSA I discovered that there were programs of mass surveillance that were happening beyond any possible statutory authority because these things were constitutionally prohibited. And I saw that there were, these were things that never should have happened, they were initially authorized in the Bush administration and that administration was fully aware, in their own classified opinions and in the Inspector General’s report that those programs had no statutory basis.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“When you are on the inside, when you go into work every day, when you go in in to sit down at a desk, you realize the power you have. You can wiretap the President of the United States. You can wiretap a federal judge. And if you do it carefully, no one will ever know because the only way the NSA discovers abuses are from self-reporting.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“You could read anyone’s email in the world. Anybody you’ve got an email address for, any website you can watch traffic to and from it, any computer that an individual sits at, you can watch it – any laptop that you’re tracking, you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop shop for access to the NSA’s information. And what’s more, you can tag individuals …. Let’s say I saw you once and I thought what you were doing was interesting – or you just have access that’s interesting to me. Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network. I can track your username on a website, on a forum somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends – and I can build what is called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you. Which means that anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to hide your online presence, hide your identity, the NSA can find you. And anyone who is allowed to use this, or who the NSA shares the software with, can do the same thing. [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“When you’re an NSA analyst and you’re looking for raw signals intelligence, what you realize is that the majority of the communications in our databases are not the communications of targets, they’re the communications of ordinary people, of your neighbors, of your neighbors’ friends, of your relations, of the person who runs the register at the store. They’re the most deep and intense and intimate and damaging private moments of their lives, and we’re seizing [them] without any authorization, without any reason, records of all of their activities – their cell phone locations, their purchase records, their private text messages, their phone calls, the content of those calls in certain circumstances, transaction histories – and from this we can create a perfect, or nearly perfect, record of each individual’s activity, and those activities are increasingly becoming permanent records.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“We were sharing un-minimized information, that included information on judges, U.S. political figures, officials across the spectrum, private industry, private businesses, private individuals. Their private records were being shared with Israel.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

“The German services and the US services are in bed together. They not only share information – the reporting of results from intelligence – but they actually share the tools and the infrastructure when they work together against joint targets and services.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“Unusually hidden even from people who worked for these agencies are the details of the financial arrangements between [the] government and the telecommunication service providers. And we have to ask ourselves, why is that? Why are their details of how they’re being paid to collaborate with [the] government protected at a much greater level than for example the names of human agents operating undercover, embedded with terrorist groups?” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

On “Them” (the NSA)

“They have no idea what documents were taken at all. Their auditing was so poor, so negligent, that any private contractor, not even an employee of the government, could walk into the NSA building, take whatever they wanted, and walk out with it, and they would never know. Now, I think that’s a problem. And I think that’s something that needs to be resolved, and people need to be held to account for.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

“They can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

“At the NSA for example, we store data for five years on individuals. And that’s before getting a waiver to extend that even further.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“Generally, it’s not the people at the working level you need to worry about.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“The people that are staffing these intelligence agencies are ordinary people, like you and me. They’re not moustache-twirling villains that are going, “ah ha ha that’s great”, they’re going: “You’re right. That crosses a line but you really shouldn’t say something about that because it’s going to end your career.” We all have mortgages. We all have families. And when you’re working for a national security system that has these official secrets acts, that means even if you go to a chosen representative of Congress, a representative chosen by a reporter as opposed to a representative chosen by the intelligence community responsible for the wrongdoing to begin with, you can be prosecuted for it. And even if you’re not prosecuted for it, you can lose your job over it.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“Many of the people searching through the haystacks were young, enlisted guys and … 18 to 22 years old. They’ve suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility where they now have access to all your private records. In the course of their daily work they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work, for example an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation but they’re extremely attractive. So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker. And their co-worker says: “Oh, hey, that’s great. Send that to Bill down the way.” And then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom and sooner or later this person’s whole life has been seen by all of these other people. Anything goes, more or less. You’re in a vaulted space. Everybody has sort of similar clearances, everybody knows everybody. It’s a small world. I’d say probably every two months you see something like that happen. It’s routine enough, depending on the company you keep, it could be more or less frequent. But these are seen as the fringe benefits of surveillance positions.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“You have a tremendous population of young military enlisted individuals who, while that’s not a discredit to them … may not have had the number of life experiences to have felt the sense of being violated. And if we haven’t been exposed to the dangers and risks of having our privacy violated, having our liberties violated, how can we expect these individuals to reasonably represent our own interests in exercising those authorities?” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“Well, it’s no secret that — the U.S. tends to get more and better intelligence out of computers nowadays than they do out of people.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

On Why the Government Does What it Does

“What we’ve seen politically around the world throughout the development of human civilization and history is that politics is about power. when you have people in great power positions, when you have super states, they will not cede any sort of authority they’ve claimed back to the public, civil society, unless they are afraid of a more undercutting alternative.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

“...grant themselves powers unilaterally to create greater control over American society and global society.” [Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras Interview for The Guardian – June 2013]

“Journalists need to realize for themselves that despite claims of “terrorism, terrorism” when these laws were being authorized, these programs are not about terrorism. These are not public safety programs. These are spying programs. Their value is in intelligence gathering, not in anti-terrorism.” [Runa Sandvik Interview at the Nordic Media Festival – May 2015]

“There’s no question that the US is engaged in economic spying. If there is information at Siemens that they think would be beneficial to the national interests – not the national security – of the United States, they’ll go after that information and they’ll take it.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“Instead of having a signals intelligence system driven by the need to use its authorities only where necessary and only in the measure that is proportionate to the threat, we get a technological approach where they go, ‘What can we do?’ as opposed to, ‘What do we need to do?’.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“What’s happened with these programs is governments in the United Kingdom, for example, the United States and other western governments, as well as much less responsible governments around the world, have taken it upon themselves to assign private eyes to every citizen in their country and around the world to the best of their ability. It happens automatically, pervasively, and it’s stored on databases, whether or not it’s needed.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“We also saw a story last year reported in “The Huffington Post” that found that the National Security Agency documents reflected that they were intercepting, collecting, and then planning to use information on individuals’ pornography viewing habits to discredit them in their communities and in public on the basis of the political views they held. These individuals were Islamists and their politics were considered radical so we can understand why this sort of interest would be where they go… We’re preventing radicalization. But it also said these individuals were most suspected to be associated with violence. These were not actually terrorists. These were people who on the basis of secret judgments made by a secret agency with no public oversight and with no authorizing legislation had decided that a certain brand of political viewpoints would authorize the intrusive monitoring, collection, eventual disbursement of your private records related to your sexual activities. This is a fundamentally un-American thing.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

“...Used them against the citizenry of its own country to increase its own power, to increase its own awareness.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

His Own Caper

“People have to put themselves on the line people have to take risks. A citizen has not just an interest, but an obligation and not just believing in my view, but standing forth and challenging the government when it goes too far. If we see our constitution being violated on a massive scale and we have been demanded why our own government, by these officials, to swear an oath that we will protect the constitution against all enemies, not just foreign, but domestic is what, we have a duty to stand up and do something about it. And I tried to do my best to do that, and that is what it reflects, and I hope others will do the same in the future.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

“I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest … There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.” [Guardian Q & A – June 2013]

“When I came public with this it wasn’t so I can sort of single-handedly change the government, tell them what to do and override what the public thinks was ____. What I wanted to do was inform the public so they could make a decision and provide their consent for what we should be doing. And the results of these revelations, the results of all the incredible responsible and careful reporting that by the way have been coordinated with the government, and the government never said any single one of these stories have risk a human life. The result is that the public has benefited, the government has benefited, and every society in the world has benefited. We are in secure place. We have more secure communications. And we are going to have a better sort of civic interaction as a result of understanding what’s being done in our name and what’s being done against us. And so when it comes to will I do this again, the answer is absolutely yes. Regardless of what happens to me, this is something we had the right to know. I took an oath to support and defend the constitution and I saw that the constituted was violated on a massive scale. The interpretation of the 4th amendment has been changed… The interpretation of the constitution has been changed in secret from no unreasonable search and seizure to hey, any seizure is fine, just don’t search it. That is something that the public ought to know about.” [SXSW – March 2014]

The Press as a Shield

“I didn’t publish any of these materials, I never published a single story on the NSA myself because everyone has biases right? And even though I have an expert understanding of these programs. I’ve worked with them personally, the authorities they operate under, how they’re used, again I had the ability to look at anybody’s email that was being ingested under these programs, whether that was intercepted domestically or overseas I had the authority to look at both. But I didn’t try to push my agenda on to the public because I don’t think that would be proper, and I think that many other whistleblowers do the same thing, that’s why we go to the press. The press is a critical part of American society, it’s a part of our constitution, that’s why we have it, the First Amendment.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“If journalists only report on things that are civil liberties, human rights violating programs, and they don’t seem legitimate, justified programs that do help keep us safe, that do help us in our time of war, that do protect critical infrastructure, and again the broad outlines, not every detail, but enough to show that there are good uses and good purposes of these, we would actually be misled by the press as opposed to be served by the press. I recognized that I can’t make that decision about the impressions we should be giving. That should be made by journalists, independently, by their institutions or editors.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“I made a specific decision in how I went about revealing information about these criminal activities and serious wrongdoing within the government, by recognizing that I had very strong political biases. If I simply revealed this unilaterally, it may not have been the best way to serve the public interest or mitigate any potential harms that could come about from this if I did not understand something or if there was some detail in there that could put someone at risk. What I did was that I worked in partnership with the journalists who received the material. As a condition of receiving the material they agreed, prior to publication, to run these stories by the government. Not for the government to censor them, but for the government to be able to look at these and go “look, this isn’t going to get anybody killed, this isn’t going to put a human agent behind enemy lines at risk” or something like that. “This isn’t going to make Al Qaeda be able to bomb buildings.” And I think the value of this model has been proven to be quite effective.” [Runa Sandvik Interview at the Nordic Media Festival – May 2015]

“I prefer for journalists to make those decisions in advance, review that material themselves and decide whether or not the public value of this information outweighs the reputational cost to the officials that work in surveillance.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“...To have a dialogue and debate about how we can inform the public about matters of vital importance without putting our national security at risk. And by working with journalists, by giving all of my information back to the American people, rather than trusting myself to make the decisions about publication.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

“It’s really not the role of an individual such as myself to say what the public should or should not know. But by working in partnership with the free press, we can allow institutions that exist to make these sorts of determinations to then sit down with government, present their evidence for why this is in the public interest, the government can make a counter case and say why this may cause some harm that they may have missed or misunderstood, or the value of these programs misinterpreted by the journalists. And ultimately we can get a decision from there, and there is a kind of accountability borne from that that’s lacking when it’s an individual that’s making the decisions on their own.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“Journalists, right or wrong, they typically see themselves as champions of the public, and because that they have a motivation, they have a self-image, which directs them to try to safeguard the public interest, not just against their own decisions and their own proclivities and their own biases, but against the government themselves, and we have to have that, y’know the work of journalism, the work of the press, is challenging the government for control of information. When we lose that we’ll be a much poorer society for that, and I think the last years revelations are a good example that the public still does recognize that this kind of reporting this kind of adversarial investigation is incredibly important to the quality of our government, and the quality of our society.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

On Dick Cheney

“This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.” [Guardian Q & A – June 2013]

His Definition of Harm

“I took an oath at the Central Intelligence Agency that oath was to protect the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. And that’s important to remember, because that’s critical to the quality of our governance, if you only look outward we have this sort of inevitable slide, this inevitable slow corrosion where generation after generation we lose a little bit of our freedom a little bit of our liberty that we inherited. So this kind of push back, particularly when we try to do it carefully, particularly when we try to do it in a narrow way, is not dangerous to society but is in fact I think healthy for it. And I was one of the individuals who I believe had the visibility into where the problems lie by virtue of my position, by virtue of my experience, by virtue of my access, to raise these issues to public awareness. So I tried to that in the most responsible way that circumstances would allow.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“I didn’t want to take information that would — basically be taken and — and thrown out in the press that would cause harm to individuals, that would — that would cause people to die. That would put lives at risk. So a good gauge of what information was provided to the journalists is a representation of what you see in the press. Now the NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency and some of these other organizations have claimed that lives are at risk, that all this military information was out there, that — you know, I — I took all this information about missiles and warheads and tanks. But we don’t see any of that in the newspaper. You know, we — we — we haven’t seen any stories on that. And in fact, even though we’ve been asking the government for a full year now to cite even a single instance of harm that was caused by this reporting, they’ve never been able to show it.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

“I had access to the personnel records, the social security numbers, the names and sometimes even the addresses of everyone who worked in the intelligence community. These are shared database that someone of my clearance had access to. Because I actually had a level of access that was greater than typical Top Secret, I had what was called privileged access or PrivAcc. That means when somebody like the director of the CIA or the NSA, he wants some information, he wants some report he can’t get it himself because he doesn’t know where it is, he doesn’t understand these things. … He has to ask someone an office manager, they ask someone else, but then there are ultimately individuals who have access to everything. So if I had wanted to cause harm, if I had wanted to reveal everything certainly that was possible. [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“He said he attached a condition to the release to protect government employees and sources, requiring the journalists to ask government officials about any harm that particular disclosures could cause. ‘This material was returned to public hands, to the institutions of our free press so that trusted journalists and trusted institutions like The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times could make decisions about what within this is truly within the public interest that can be reported in a way that maximizes the public gains without risking any harm.’” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

“The risks that have been played up by the government have never materialized. We’ve never seen any evidence of even a single instance of specific harm, and because of that, I’m comfortable with the decisions that I made.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

“I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that these leaks didn’t cause harm, in fact they served the public good. Because of that I think it’ll be difficult to maintain an ongoing campaign of persecution against someone the public agrees served the public interest.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“We have both public and private acknowledgements that they know at this point the Russian government, the Chinese government any other government has possession of any of this information. And that would be easy for them to find out. Remember these are the guys that are spying on everyone in the world. They have got human intelligence assets embedded in these governments. They have got electronic signal assets in these governments. If suddenly the Chinese government knew everything the NSA is doing we would notice the changes. We would notice the changes, we would see official communicating and our assets will tell us hey somewhere they have a warehouse they put you know, a thousand of their most skilled researchers in there. That has never happened and it is never going to happen.” [SXSW – March 2014]

“The fact that people know communications can be monitored does not stop people from communicating … because the only choices are to accept the risk of being monitored or to not communicate at all. And when we’re talking about things like terrorist cells, nuclear proliferators – these are organized cells. These are things an individual cannot do on their own. So if they abstain from communicating we’ve already won. If we’ve basically talked the terrorists out of using our modern communications networks, we have benefited in terms of security – we haven’t lost in terms of security. … I can tell you right now that in the wake of the last year there are still terrorists getting hauled up, there are still communications being intercepted. You know there are still successes in intelligence operations that are being carried out all around the world.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“I required that they all agreed to, though there’s no way I can enforce that, I required they all agree not to place any individual or program to unnecessary risk, not to expose them to unnecessary risk or needless harm, and to make sure that the only stories that they published were ones that they had a clear public interest justification.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“I will say that of course I had second thoughts, I had doubts because I really wanted to make sure that, my first principle, for all of the journalists for everyone involved in this was that we have to do no harm, right?” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“[Clapper] said something such as, it is indisputable that the disclosures of last year caused damage that terrorists had changed their communications and we lost reporting as a result of this. But the evidence on the public records shows this is in fact not the case. … I do believe him when he asserts that, you know, some sources of intelligence have gone dark. Some caps we have are no longer producing. But this is ordinary to the process of intelligence collection. People change their route and methods of communication all the time. As anyone knows, correlations do not imply causation. We also know from the evidence on record that there is no reason to suspect causation in the first place. And that there is actually no evidence for a correlation at all. The methods changed at the same rate in the same manner in the last year as years prior. The only study that has ever shown anything contrary was actually done by a contractor that is funded by the central intelligence agency’s investment arm and so we really need to be careful about these kinds of things and the representations they make. It is entirely in dispute that damage has been caused at all by these revelations but the benefits of the disclosure are not in dispute.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

“I demanded the government, that this could cost unnecessary harm if it was published this way, to allow them to draw the lines differently. by creating that system of checks and balances, that was really the only thing I could have done because there is no way sitting back where I was when i was operating with only the benefit of one brain and no debate partners, how I could ensure that we could get the best possible outcome. I’m not sure we have the best possible outcome of all worlds, but it is clear that the public globally agrees that this has worked out relatively well.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

His Old-Fashioned Worldview

“We see agencies of government for example the national security agency which has “security” in its name actually using this same paradigm to weaken our own infrastructure. we’ve seen them go to standard bodies to spy on them and look for vulnerability and rather than fix those standards, correct those flaws, they leave them in and try to exploit them and in other cases look at where they can introduce them to make them less secure overall in certain vulnerabilities they did not exist before so they can exploit them and gain access. We can understand why the national intelligence agency would want to seek to do this. it would give access in novel places previously denied but at the same time those same vulnerabilities can be used against the American government, American people, allies in other cities and other systems and other countries around the world but also in our products and services.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

“I’ve volunteered to go to prison for the government, but they’ve dismissed that, they have their own agenda as far as this is concerned. …when we talk about the law more broadly we see that the Espionage Act, which is intended for the prosecution of spies is being increasingly leveraged as sort of a bludgeon against public interest journalistic sources and whistleblowers, and that’s a real danger to society because as you said there is no, you are banned, you are prohibited from making a public interest defense, you are banned from arguing to the jury that you tried to do these things for the right reasons, whether or not they agree. And when we think about the fact that we have closed court processes where they limit the arguments you can make, limit the kind of programs and evidence that you can present to the jury as a defendant and you limit even the arguments that they regarding what their motivations were, you have to go is this still a law that is again consistent with not just our constitution and due process protections and basic ideas of fairness and justice, but is it consistent with our values as a society, and is it consistent with our need for a free press.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“I did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets. I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous. These nakedly, aggressively criminal acts are wrong no matter the target. Not only that, when NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash. Congress hasn’t declared war on the countries - the majority of them are our allies - but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we’re not even fighting? So we can potentially reveal a potential terrorist with the potential to kill fewer Americans than our own Police? No, the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the “consent of the governed” is meaningless.” [Guardian Q & A – June 2013]

“I realized that so many of the things that were told by the government simply aren’t true. Much like the — the arguments about aluminum tubes and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Colin Powell’s speech with the vial of anthrax that Saddam was going to — to bring against us. The Iraq War that I signed up for was launched on false premises. The American people were misled.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

“And so we saw developments where they were trying to authorize these under the President’s powers, y’know these article 2 powers where basically the president says ‘we’re at war I can do basically whatever I want.’ Now that may sound like a great idea and be an important power in times of total war in times of existential threat, but we don’t have U-boats in the harbor, and we don’t have y’know foreign armies marching on American soil. We haven’t seen Total War policies in the United States since World War 2. So we have to ask ‘why were these decisions being made?’ ‘Why was the public not allowed to participate in the debate?’ ‘Why is it that even within the separate branches of government officials were not aware of this?” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

On the Espionage Charge

“… What has been lain against me are not normal charges, they’re extraordinary charges. We’ve seen more charges under the Espionage Act in the last administration than we have in all other administrations in American history. The Espionage Act provides anyone accused of it no chance to make a public defense, you are not allowed to argue based on all the evidence in your favor, because that evidence may be classified, even if it’s exculpatory.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

“The Espionage Act was never intended – it’s from 1918 – was never intended to prosecute journalistic sources for informing the newspapers about information that is in the public interest. It was intended for people who were selling documents and secrets to foreign governments or bombing bridges or sabotaging communications – not people who were serving the public good.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

On the Public

“The reality is if we sit back and allow a few officials behind closed doors to launch offensive attacks without any oversight against foreign nations, against people we don’t like, against political groups, radicals, and extremists whose ideas we may not agree with, and could be repulsive or even violent—if we let that happen without public buy-in, we won’t have any seat at the table of government to decide whether or not it’s appropriate for these officials to drag us into some kind of war activity that we don’t want, but we weren’t aware of at the time.” [James Bamford Interview on NOVA – June 2014]

“The public had a right to know about these programs. The public had a right to know that which the government is doing in its name and that which the government is doing against the public.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“We are increasingly being left out of critical discussions about the policies and the direction that we want steer our society toward. They’re being made in our name without our awareness and without our consent, but in a Democratic republic the government draws it’s legitimacy from the consent of the people, and everybody who’s involved in any kind of research knows that consent is not meaningful if it’s not informed. And that’s what was lacking, so when I think about the question of y’know how do you see, how do you find the line, the point of justification by which you can stand up both the press, and this is another key distinction…” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

On the Government

“I tried to raise my concerns internally, they got nowhere.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“Within the Executive branch y’know in the intelligence community many of my co-workers who also had Top Secret clearances, high level accesses, were unaware that these things were going on.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“Without even our representatives in government having knowledge of these programs.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

“When it came to my story and how I came forward it was not that I saw a particular program and I had an axe to grind. It was broadly that I was witness to massive violations to our constitution, that they were happening in secret and that they were happening as a result of a broad breakdown throughout the branches of government. And this is the key, because when there’s a problem in a single agency, when there’s a problem in a single branch we tend to be self-correcting, that’s what checks and balances are for. But the question of whistleblowing, of when to stand up, is really one of ‘Do those checks and balances still function?’ ‘Can you report these issues within a system to a certain branch to a certain organization to a certain office, and actually see those abuses and those policies corrected?’ And in this case they were not, we saw that both the courts and Congress and the Executive had all failed in different portions of these programs and protecting our rights.”[Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“I think it’s really disingenuous for — for the government to invoke — and sort of scandalize our memories, to sort of exploit the — the national trauma that we all suffered together and worked so hard to come through to justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe, but cost us liberties and freedoms that we don’t need to give up and our Constitution says we should not give up.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

“We have agencies that are working on their own authorities that are working on their own sort of institutional momentum to implement programs without oversight, creating these things behind closed doors without the awareness of the public, that are actually changing the boundaries of the rights that we enjoy as free people and a free society.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

Snowden on the Congress

“The vast majority of Congress had no idea that these programs had been instituted or were being maintained. Even those on the on the Intelligence community, uh, Intelligence Committees in both the Senate and the House were not fully briefed, only the Gang of Eight, that’d be the chairs, the ranking members and then the majority and minority leadership of both houses are briefed on so-called Covert Action Programs and things like that that are the exceptionally compartmented programs.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“These programs are not briefed to all members of congress. When we talk about certain decoder programs, missile strikes, drone strikes, we are relying on a very small group of people. They are called the gang of eight and so forth. when we expand this to the intelligence community, incentives are entirely wrong for them to represent the public interest because everyone sitting on the intelligence committee can even opponents of the agency, people like Wyden and Udall, received twice as much in terms of campaign donations from defense contractors, from people who are seeking business with the NSA, CIA, than any member of congress. They had every incentive to approve these programs to maintain their own chairs, their own seats, as to hold the people who are acting for an authorizing for them to account for them. And we’re thinking about how we can fix these structures, and provide mechanisms that will prevent this in the future.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

“What does that say about the state of oversight in American intelligence when the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has no idea that the rules are being broken thousands of times every year.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

“The only U.S. officials who claim that these revelations cause damage rather than serve the public good were the officials that were personally embarrassed by it. For example, the chairs of the oversight committees in Congress, the former NSA director himself.” [James Bamford Interview on NOVA – June 2014]

“How do we know … particularly when it’s classified, particularly when it’s not being briefed to the majority of congress, and particularly when we look at things like the intelligence communities that receive twice as much, twice as many campaign donations relative to the other members of congress, from intelligence contractors, from defense contractors. We begin to see a sort of regulatory capture that excuses agencies, programs, and policies from accountability on a very large and alarming basis. And so for me the way we prevent these abuses from occurring is we go, “Look, we have these rights for a reason, and if we are going to change the boundaries of our rights, that’s a public decision that’s not a decision for some official sitting behind a closed door somewhere. That’s something that we have to arrive on. We have to have broad social approval of it, and we have to agree that these things are necessary and that hasn’t happened.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

On the FISA Court

“These aren’t the people that we want deciding what the role of corporate America in a free and open Internet should be.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

His Worldview

“No one would argue that it’s in the United States’ interest to have independent knowledge of the plans and intentions of foreign countries. But we need to think about where to draw the line on these kind of operations so we’re not always attacking our allies, the people we trust, the people we need to rely on, and to have them in turn rely on us. There’s no benefit to the United States hacking Angela Merkel’s cell phone.” [James Bamford Interview on NOVA – June 2014]

“What I saw and what really alarmed me during my time at the NSA and CIA it was that we had pivoted. We had changed from focusing on traditional methods of surveillance, which first off is not using foreign intelligence capabilities for law enforcement means, it is important to remember that terrorism is a law enforcement problem at its core.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

“I don’t think anybody who — who’s been in the intelligence community for almost a decade as I have been — is really shocked by the specific types of general operations when they’re justified. What’s more shocking for anybody is not the dirtiness of the business, it’s the dirtiness of the targeting. It’s the dirtiness of the way these things are being used. It’s the lack of respect for the public — because — and the — the — the lack of respect for the intrusiveness of surveillance.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

“I take the threat of … terrorism seriously.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

When Snowden was asked what people should make of his coming to Hong Kong, he responded that China is “not … an enemy of the United States.” [Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras Interview for The Guardian – June 2013]

On the “National Interest”

“The prerogatives of people like Dick Cheney do not keep the nation safe. The public interest is not always the same as the national interest. Going to war with people who are not our enemy in places that are not a threat doesn’t make us safe, and that applies whether it’s in Iraq or on the Internet.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

“We constantly hear the phrase ‘national security’ but when the state begins … broadly intercepting the communications, seizing the communications by themselves, without any warrant, without any suspicion, without any judicial involvement, without any demonstration of probable cause, are they really protecting national security or are they protecting state security?” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“There’s no question that the US is engaged in economic spying. If there is information at Siemens that they think would be beneficial to the national interests – not the national security – of the United States, they’ll go after that information and they’ll take it.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

On the Fourth Amendment

“All of this information we’re collecting in bulk, bulk collection is the government’s euphemism for mass surveillance, is the unreasonable seizure that is forbidden by the Fourth Amendment.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

“Nobody should have their communications seized and stored for an indefinite period of time without any suspicion or justification, without any suspicion that they’re involved in some sort of specific criminality. Just as it would be for any other law enforcement investigation.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“The Fourth Amendment as it was written — no longer exists. ... Now all of our data can be collected without any suspicion of wrongdoing on our part, without any underlying justification. All of your private records, all of your private communications, all of your transactions, all of your associations, who you talk to, who you love, what you buy, what you read — all of those things can be seized and held by the government and then searched later for any reason, hardly — without any justification, without any real — oversight, without any real accountability for those who do wrong. The result is that the Fourth Amendment that was so strict — that we fought a revolution to put into place — now no longer has the same meaning that it once did. Now we have — a system of pervasive pre-criminal surveillance — where the government wants to watch what you’re doing just to see what you’re up to, to see what you’re thinking even behind closed doors.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

On Privacy

“Most reasonable people would grant that privacy is a function of liberty. And if we get rid of privacy, we’re making ourselves less free. If we want to live in open and liberal societies, we need to have safe spaces where we can experiment with new thoughts, new ideas, and [where] we can discover what it is we really think and what we really believe in without being judged. If we can’t have the privacy of our bedrooms, if we can’t have the privacy of our notes on our computer, if we can’t have the privacy of our electronic diaries, we can’t have privacy at all.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“People should be able to pick up the phone and to call their family, people should be able to send a text message to their loved ones, people should be able to buy a book online, they should be able to travel by train, they should be able to buy an airline ticket without wondering about how these events are going to look to an agent of the government, possibly not even your government years in the future, how they’re going to be misinterpreted and what they’re going to think your intentions were. We have a right to privacy.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

On the Failure of U.S. Intelligence

“You know, and this is a key question that the 9/11 Commission considered. And what they found, in the post-mortem, when they looked at all of the classified intelligence from all of the different intelligence agencies, they found that we had all of the information we needed as an intelligence community, as a classified sector, as the national defense of the United States to detect this plot. We actually had records of the phone calls from the United States and out. The CIA knew who these guys were. The problem was not that we weren’t collecting information, it wasn’t that we didn’t have enough dots, it wasn’t that we didn’t have a haystack, it was that we did not understand the haystack that we have. The problem with mass surveillance is that we’re piling more hay on a haystack we already don’t understand, and this is the haystack of the human lives of every American citizen in our country. If these programs aren’t keeping us safe, and they’re making us miss connections — vital connections — on information we already have, if we’re taking resources away from traditional methods of investigation, from law enforcement operations that we know work, if we’re missing things like the Boston Marathon bombings where all of these mass surveillance systems, every domestic dragnet in the world didn’t reveal guys that the Russian intelligence service told us about by name, is that really the best way to protect our country? Or are we — are we trying to throw money at a magic solution that’s actually not just costing us our safety, but our rights and our way of life?” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

On the National Security Value of NSA’s collection

“Mass surveillance is not beneficial in the context of terrorism. Despite all the mass surveillance that is happened since 2001, all of this to 215 collection, all of this internet collection, all of this stuff is happening with retrospective search where you can go to your Gmail or Facebook, i want to see the context, I want to see pictures, i want to see every IP address you used, they did not stop the Boston marathon bombings. they made us think these individuals were not associated with terrorism despite the fact we had intelligence from human sources, actually from the Russians, we saw this guy going into Chechnya and associating with terrorists, saying you might want to look at this guy, you may want to look at this guy. Mass surveillance did not stop the Madrid bombings.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

“That lack of focus have caused us to miss news we should have had. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Bombers. The Russians have warned us about it. But we didn’t a very poor job investigating, we didn’t have the resources, and we had people working on other things. If we followed the traditional model, we might have caught that. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab the underwear bomber, same thing. His father walked into a US Embassy, he went to CIA officer and said my son is dangerous. Don’t let him go to your country. Get him help. We didn’t follow up, we didn’t actually investigate this guy. We didn’t get a dedicated team to figure what was going on because we spent all of this money, we spent all of this time hacking into Google and Facebook to look at their data center. What did we get out of that? We got nothing.” [SXSW – March 2014]

[NSA programs he revealed] “have never stopped a single terrorist attack that was imminent in the United States. So is it really terrorism that we’re stopping? Do these programs have any value at all? I say no, and all three branches of the American government say no as well.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

“Despite the fact that the communications of everybody in America were currently being intercepted, they didn’t catch the Boston bombers, despite the fact that the Russian intelligence service specifically warned the FBI that these individuals were known to be associated with Islamic terror groups. … What we have learned in case studies of terrorism over the last decade … is that almost every terrorist act that is uncovered, almost everyone who’s convicted, successfully prosecuted, put in jail, every plot that is disrupted, is not a product of mass surveillance, it’s not a product of the kind of indiscriminate surveillance we see today. They’re all products of targeted surveillance, traditional surveillance, the kind of boots on the ground, investigate and learn, done by real investigators interviewing real people and following specifically justified leads that occurred as a process of investigation. No single terrorist act, including the Boston bombs, was ever caught as a result of mass surveillance in the United States.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

On Mass Surveillance Versus Traditional Spying

“What we’ve seen over the last decade is we’ve seen a departure from the traditional work of the National Security Agency. They’ve become sort of the national hacking agency, the national surveillance agency. And they’ve lost sight of the fact that everything they do is supposed to make us more secure as a nation and a society.” [James Bamford Interview on NOVA – June 2014]

“We should take resources out of ineffective mass surveillance programs and re-allocate them toward the sort of traditional targeted surveillance that’s been shown to be effective for hundreds of years.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

On Why Encryption Doesn’t Matter

“We have the traditional methods of surveillance which are targeted surveillance, and they are effective, even when the target has incredible security measures in place, even when they use encryption, whether that’s transport level security i.e. the communication in transit y’know who they’re calling is protected, or whether it’s data at rest encryption, where y’know the contents of their phone are protected. I working at the NSA when I was focusing on targeting Chinese hackers, would be able to hack hackers. We would be able to penetrate their methods, and this is for everybody around the world, not just in this place or the other, because systems are fundamentally insecure, and this is the same as law enforcement powers we’ve had for generations in taking down organized crime, y’know the mob, domestic terrorists and things like that. You go to a judge and you say “We have probable cause to suspect this person is involved in some kind of serious wrong doing, some kind of criminal activity, please allow us to exercise these lawful powers in pursuit of this target.” And after the judge approves that basically anything goes. I mean the FBI hacks people now, they hack people, the FBI does it everyday, even on Sundays. We get into their computers, and if they have encrypted material we simply steal the key. Because the fundamental reality of encryption, when we think about how this works is the person using the encrypted data, if I encrypt something I can’t read it either unless the key is input at some point. Y’know when you turn on your phone and you’re looking at a, if your phone is encrypted locally, and you’re looking at pictures, y’know your selfies on it, if those selfies are visible to you, it’s because they’re being decrypted. Otherwise it would look like white noise, it would look like garbage. So what this means is that even heavily protected, heavily encrypted communications are vulnerable to traditional means of investigation.” [Lawrence Lessig Interview – October 2014]

On Secrecy

“If I’m a traitor, who did I betray? I gave all of my information to the American public, to American journalists who are reporting on American issues. If people consider that as treason, I think they really need to consider who do they think they’re working for. The public is supposed to be their boss, not their enemy.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“Whether the BND does it directly or knowingly, the NSA gets German data. Whether it’s been provided, I can’t speak to until it’s been reported, because it would be classified and I’d rather journalists make the distinction about what is public interest and what should be published.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

On the Harm of the NSA Program to America

“What people often overlook is the fact that when you build a back door into a communication system that back door can be discovered by anyone around the world. That can be a private individual, that can be a security researcher at a university, but it can also be a criminal group. It can also be a foreign intelligence agency but, say, the NSA’s equivalent in a deeply irresponsible government in some foreign country. And now that foreign country can scrutinise not just your bank records, not just your private transactions but your private communications all around the internet and in every institution … that relies upon these standards – whether it’s Facebook, whether it’s Gmail, where it’s Skype, whether it’s Angry Birds. Suddenly you’ve been made electronically naked as you go about your activities on the internet.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“We’re opening ourselves up to attack. We’re lowering our shields to allow us to have an advantage when we attack other countries overseas, but the reality is when you compare one of our victories to one of their victories, the value of the data, the knowledge, the information gained from those attacks is far greater to them than it is to us, because we are already on top. It’s much easier to drag us down than it is to grab some incremental knowledge from them and build ourselves up.” [James Bamford Interview on NOVA – June 2014]

“I worked previously as a staff officer, an actual government employee for the Central Intelligence Agency, but I’ve also served much more frequently as a contractor in a private capacity. What that means is you have private, for-profit companies doing inherently governmental work like targeted espionage, surveillance, compromising foreign systems. Anyone who has the skills who can convince a private company that they have the qualifications to do so, will be empowered by the government to do that and there’s very little oversight. There’s very little review.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“I am living proof that an individual can go head to head against the most powerful adversaries and the most powerful intelligence agencies around the world and win.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

“We have faced threats from criminal groups, from terrorists, from spies throughout our history, and we have limited our responses. We haven’t resorted to total war every time we have a conflict around the world, because that restraint is what defines us. That restraint is what gives us the moral standing to lead the world. And if we go, there are cyber threats out there, this is a dangerous world, and we have to be safe, we have to be secure no matter the cost, we’ve lost that standing.” [James Bamford Interview on NOVA – June 2014]

“The only thing that the Section 215 phone metadata program – actually, it’s a broader program, bulk collection; bulk collection means mass surveillance – was in stopping, or detecting, an 8500 USD wire transfer from a cab driver in California. And it’s this kind of review, where insiders go ‘we don’t need these programs, these programs don’t make us safe, they take a tremendous amount of resources to run and they offer us no value.’ They go, ‘we can modify these.’” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“When you look at the actions that I’ve taken, when you look at the carefulness of the programs that have been disclosed, when you look at the way this has all been filtered through the most trusted journalistic institutions in America, when you look at the way the government has had a chance to chime in on this and to make their case and when you look at the changes that it’s resulted in, we’ve had the first open federal court to ever review these program declare it likely unconstitutional and Orwellian. ... And now you see Congress agreeing that mass surveillance, bulk collection needs to end.” [Brian Williams Interview for NBC News – May 2014]

On Technical Literacy

“Technical literacy in our society is a rare and precious resource. This is why so many IT consultants who basically just fix printers make very good salaries, because not everybody knows this stuff. And we need this in government, we need advocates, we need specialists, we need experts, [who] work in the service of these senior civil servants and so on, and they can aid and explain and interpret in the same way [as a] foreign language interpreter. The critical question is, do we want public policies regulating intelligence agencies, or do we want intelligence agencies that determine their own policies, that determine their own regulations, that we have no control or oversight over? And I think that is a critical distinction.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“We have a few editors, a few reporters who are not grounded. They don’t have background in technology. They don’t have PHD’s in computer science. And technical reporting in mainstream news at the “New York Times,” “The Washington Post,” is incredibly a modern thing. One reason we don’t see the media keen on stories that are of real important is because they don’t realize they are of critical importance. We are increasingly reliant upon the technical community to kind of do this for us and represent us. This is danger over time because what we see is an increasingly disempowered citizen class and even in the press, even in politics because they have no idea what’s going on that matters. And increasing empowerment of people who have sort of unique, technological literacy. I think this is dangerous over time because you will see a concentration of power around small groups, small individuals, who can increasingly impact society in greater and greater ways.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

On Solutions

“Encryption makes you invisible, but highly visible to [the intelligence community] [indiscernible] everything will intelligence group in the world goes, why is this person different? We see this in is changing and normalizing the use of immigrants are in — of encryption, which is important we are hiding within the crowd. This is being done which has been going on for a number of years. i trusted my life to it, and history shows it did work. It is not bulletproof.” [Julia Angwin and Julian Sanchez Interview on C-SPAN – December 2014]

“The other thing is we need public advocates. We need public representatives. We need public oversight. Some way for trusted public figures sort of civil rights champions to advocate for us and protect the structure and make sure it is been fairly applied. We need a watch dog that watches Congress. Something that can tell us hey these guys didn’t tell you that he just lied to you. Because otherwise how do we know? If we are not informed we can’t consent to these policies. And I think that is danger.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

On the Future

“I don’t want to harm my government. I want to help my government, but the fact that they are willing to completely ignore due process, they’re willing to declare guilt without ever seeing a trial, these are things that we need to work against as a society, and say hey, this is not appropriate. We shouldn’t be threatening dissidents. We shouldn’t be criminalizing journalism. And whatever part I can do to see that end, I’m happy to do despite the risks.” [TED Talk – March 2014]

“Contrary to popular belief I don’t think we are exactly in the Nineteen Eighty-Four universe.... No system of mass surveillance has existed in any society that we know of to this point that has not been abused…. Nineteen Eighty-Four is an important book but we should not bind ourselves to the limits of the author’s imagination. Time has shown that the world is much more unpredictable and dangerous than that.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]

“… No matter how deeply an individual is embedded in the government, no matter how faithful to the government they are, no matter how strongly they believe in the causes of their government – as I did, in the Iraq war – people can learn. People can discover the line between appropriate government behavior and actual wrongdoing. And I think it became clear to me that the line had been crossed.” [ARD Interview - January 2014]

“I’m much happier here in Russia than I would be facing an unfair trial in which I can’t even present a public interest defence to a jury of my peers. We’ve asked [the] government again and again to provide a fair trial and they’ve declined…. I made it very clear that I’d like to return to the United States and if the possibility for a fair trial existed, that would be something that could be pursued.” [Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill Interview for The Guardian – July 2014]