Edward Snowden believed that the government fundamentally “had noble intents,” as did the American people. However, admitting he was naive, Snowden discusses the upper echelons of government and how they are pervaded with corruption, giving him the understanding that led him to do what he did – whistleblow on mass surveillance programs.
Edward Snowden has spoken publicly in a talk about why he felt that moral duty to expose the extent of the mass surveillance program employed by the intelligence services in the United States.
Changing the boundaries of rights
Snowden says that the vast majority of the members of Congress were not briefed about the extent of the programs that were being used to keep checks on members of the American public. He also said that neither the Senate nor the House had any idea about what the various bodies of intelligence and security agencies in the United States were engaged in. This lack of transparency led him to believe that the upper tier of American politicians would never be willing to share information with the public about the sheer size of the mass surveillance programs.
Snowden said that if he had believed that intelligence methods would be made public at some point then he would never have been forced to resort to such radical and drastic methods.
Snowden said that in the era following September 11th 2001 an attitude has been engendered among politicians and members of the intelligence services which has led them to ride rough shod over the basic civil liberties of the people of the United States. He said that the example of the mass surveillance program in secret illustrates what he referred to as ‘an institutional momentum’ that was ‘changing the boundaries of the rights that we enjoy as free people in a free society.’
It is important to note that mass surveillance programs are still ongoing in the United States without any level of public or legal scrutiny. While Snowden exposed a vast swathe of highly disturbing information about the practices of the NSA, he has no access to the current strategy employed by this intelligence agency. Furthermore, there has even less scrutiny over the other many intelligence agencies that work with the United States military.
Snowden has said that the clandestine nature of American politics with recourse to intelligence gathering in recent years has robed the American people of their ability to debate issues of national security properly. For Snowden, this is a dangerous challenge to the freedom of America itself.