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In New Video, Snowden Predicted US Reaction to Disclosure of Spy Programs

In video interview taped before revealing his whistleblower role, Snowden predicted US would paint him as having "aided our enemies"

Jon Queally, staff writer

Nearly one month to the day after Edward Snowden revealed himself as the NSA whistleblower behind a series of explosive news stories that have shown the depth and detailed workings of the spy agency's vast global surveillance network, the Guardian on Monday released a second video interview—recorded while he was still in Hong Kong—in which he makes surprisingly prescient predictions about how his actions would be interpreted and how the US government would try to paint him as "an enemy" for making these disclosures.

Answering a question about how he thought the US government would react to his disclosures, Snowden answered: "I think the government's going to launch an investigation. I think they're going to say I've committed 'grave crimes'—that I've violated the Espionage Act. They're gonna say, I've 'aided our enemies' in making them aware of these systems. But, those arguments can be made against anybody who reveals information that points out mass surveillance systems."

Fundamentally, Snowden continues, these spy programs are being pointed at the public and not the so-called "enemies" that have been used to justify the creation and implementation of these systems.

"The structures of power that exist are working to their own ends to extend their capabilities at the expense of the freedom of all publics." –Edward Snowden

Though the Guardian never made indications it possessed additional footage of Snowden answering questions in Hong Kong, today's video shows that the 30-year-old employee of Booz Allen Hamilton had thought long and hard about the implications of his actions.


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In the interview, Snowden specifically addresses the reason why he thinks he was doing a public service—not only for Americans but for the global "public"—by revealing the extent to which the NSA has been spying on the world in recent years.

"America is fundamentally a good country," Snowden says in the interview with the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald and independent journalist Laura Poitras. "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 capabilities at the expense of the freedom of all publics."

Watch the video:



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