Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American former technical contractor for the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who leaked details of several top-secret U.S. and British government mass surveillance programs to the press. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments. Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Further disclosures were made by other publications including Der Spiegel and The New York Times.
- The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things... I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.
- Edward Snowden, NSA files source: 'If they want to get you, in time they will', The Guardian, 10 June 2013.
- You can't come up against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk. If they want to get you, over time they will.
- Edward Snowden, NSA files source: 'If they want to get you, in time they will', The Guardian, 10 June 2013.
- There have been times throughout American history where what is right is not the same as what is legal. Sometimes to do the right thing you have to break the law.
- Snowden's first U.S. television interview, to NBC's Brian Williams; Snowden: "Sometimes To Do The Right Thing You Have to Break a Law", Gawker (29 May 2014)
- Politics: the art of convincing decent people to forget the lesser of two evils is also evil.
- Twitter June 11, 2016
Interview with Glenn Greenwald, 6 June 2013
Edward Snowden Q and A: NSA whistleblower answers your questions (video), published by The Guardian on 17 June 2013.
- 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.
- All I can say right now is the US Government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.
- If I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.
- Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American
- This country is worth dying for.
- Seeing someone in the position of James Clapper - the Director of National Intelligence - baldly lying to the public without repercussion is the evidence of a subverted democracy. The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed.
- Unfortunately, the mainstream media now seems far more interested in what I said when I was 17 or what my girlfriend looks like rather than, say, the largest program of suspicionless surveillance in human history.
- Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.
- 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.
- Edward Snowden: 'The US government will say I aided our enemies' – video interview, published by The Guardian on 8 July 2013.
- The government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression.
- Edward Snowden accuses US of illegal, aggressive campaign in his first appearance in the airport, published by The Guardian 12 July 2013.
No Place to Hide (2014)
- The true measurement of a person's worth isn't what they say they believe in, but what they do in defense of those beliefs. If you're not acting on your beliefs, then they probably aren't real.
- Penguin Books 2015 edition ISBN 978-0-241-97289-2, page 45.
- It is we who infuse life with meaning through our actions and the stories we create with them.
- Penguin Books 2015 edition, page 45.
- And history also shows that seemingly ordinary people who are sufficiently resolute about justice can triumph over the most formidable adversaries.
- Penguin Books 2015 edition, page 46.
- 2014 Christmas Message (26 December 2013)
- Hi and Merry Christmas. I’m honored to have a chance to speak with you and your family this year. Recently we learned that our governments, working in concert, have created a system of worldwide system of mass surveillance watching everything we do. Great Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information.
- The types of collection in the book -– microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us –- are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person.
- A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters; privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.
- The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. Together we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance, and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.
- For everyone out there listening, thank you and Merry Christmas.
- [www.imdb.com/title/tt2910440 War on Whistleblowers]
- When we've got these people who have practically limitless powers within a society, if they get a pass without so much as a slap on the wrist, what example does that set for the next group of officials that come into power? To push the lines a little bit further, a little bit further, a little bit further, and we'll realize that we're no longer citizens - we're subjects. 
- "When you are in the position privileged access, like a system administrator, you are exposed to a lot more information on a broader scale then the average employee..." Praxis films, 2013
- I don’t work with people. I don’t recruit agents. What I do is I put systems to work for the United States. And I’ve done that at all levels from — from the bottom on the ground all the way to the top.
- Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.
- Saying that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. It’s a deeply anti social principle because rights are not just individual, they’re collective, and what may not have value to you today may have value to an entire population, an entire people, an entire way of life tomorrow. And if you don’t stand up for it, then who will?
- Abandoning open society for fear of terrorism is the only way to be defeated by it.
- Privacy is the right to a free mind.
- The NSA has the greatest surveillance capabilities that we've ever seen in history. Now, what they will argue, is that they don't use this for nefarious purposes against American citizens. In some ways, that's true but the real problem is that they're using these capabilities to make us vulnerable to them and then saying, 'well I have a gun pointed at your head. I'm not going to pull the trigger. Trust me.'
Joe Rogan Experience #1368
- there are no heroes, just heroic decisions
Quotes about Snowden
- [Snowden] betrayed the trust and confidence we had in him. This was an individual with top secret clearance whose duty it was to administer these networks. He betrayed that confidence and stole some of our secrets.
- Keith B. Alexander, NSA General Keith Alexander: 'Snowden betrayed us', BBC News, 23 June 2013.
- I think I have just read about the man for which I have waited. Earmarks of a real hero.
- He's obviously violated the laws of America, for which he's responsible, but I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far … I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial.
- Jimmy Carter, "Father proposes deal for Snowden's voluntary return", CNN, 30 June 2013.
- Snowden did what he did because he recognised the NSA's surveillance programs for what they are: dangerous, unconstitutional activity. This wholesale invasion of Americans' and foreign citizens' privacy does not contribute to our security; it puts in danger the very liberties we're trying to protect.
- Daniel Ellsberg, "Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America", The Guardian, 10 June 2013.
- He's a fugitive, not as Secretary Kerry says from justice — he's a fugitive from injustice. He has no chance of a fair, just trial in this country.
- While we can see Snowden’s experience as an instructional primer on both the value of whistleblowers and the costs of vilifying them, there are elements of his story—fed by the character assassination reprisal tactics of the government—that perpetuate many of the misperceptions about whistleblowers and contribute to the view that whistleblowers are problems to be addressed, rather than potential solutions. Snowden’s case also typifies the most egregious manifestations of the institutional belief that whistleblowers are problems to be addressed rather than sources of risk management and mechanisms for promoting compliance—the focus on the “messenger” rather than the “message.”
- The corporate press’ “myths” include “that Edward Snowden is a Russian spy,” Greenwald noted. “While he was in Hong Kong . . . what was being said with the same authoritative tone: ‘It’s very obvious: Edward Snowden is a Chinese spy.’ When he ended up being trapped in Moscow, the very same people who’d said that, their accusations instantly morphed into, ‘Of course, he’s a Russian spy,' without any acknowledgement they’d been saying something profoundly different just weeks earlier."
...This character assassination includes the allegation that Snowden’s motive for leaking NSA classified information is due to his being “a narcissist”—although after initially coming forward Snowden turned down numerous interview requests from top media outlets, which, Greenwald quipped, is a strange way for someone craving attention to behave...He also defended Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, whom he said had been smeared in the press for blowing the whistle....Maligning dissidents as deviant or mentally ill is a technique repressive regimes use to marginalize dissenters, Greenwald said, the rationale being that only crazy people would resist the status quo, while normal, well-adjusted people support it. He added that those reporters who are professional flatterers of the powers-that-be can’t understand someone acting and taking risks due to “conscience” because they are cowards minus consciences.
- Glenn Greenwald Speaks Out, PR Watch (20 June 2014)
- [Snowden] has joined the ranks of the hunted and the persecuted because he named and documented the crimes of the state. His defiance of the control and monitoring of our lives by the security and surveillance makes him an American hero.
- Chris Hedges, "New Yorkers Declare “I Stand With Edward Snowden”: Dozens Rally & Draw Positive Media Attention for NSA Whistleblower", The Sparrow Project, 10 June 2013.
- Our democracy, as Snowden I think has revealed, has become a fiction. The state, through elaborate forms of political theater, seeks to maintain this fiction to keep us passive. And if we wake up, the state will not shy away from draconian measures. The goal is complete subjugation, the iron rule of our corporations and our power elite.
- Moral courage ... is always defined by the state as treason. ... It is the courage to act and speak the truth. Thompson had it. Daniel Ellsberg had it. Malcolm X had it. Martin Luther King had it. What those in authority once said about them they say today about Snowden.
- As head of state and government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young US citizen Edward Snowden so he can come to the fatherland of Bolivar and Chavez to live away from the imperial North American persecution.
- Nicolás Maduro, "Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua offer Snowden asylum", BBC News, 6 July 2013.
- By Julian’s courageous actions and others like him, we could see full well the atrocities of war. The release of the files brought to our doors the atrocities our governments carried out through media. It is my strong belief that this is the true essence of an activist... It is my great shame I live in an era where people like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and anyone willing to open our eyes to the atrocities of war, is likely to be hunted like an animal by governments, punished and silenced.
- I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.
- We are open, respectful of the right to asylum, and it is clear that if circumstances permit it, we would receive Snowden with pleasure and give him asylum here in Nicaragua.
- Daniel Ortega, "Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua offer Snowden asylum", BBC News, 6 July 2013.
- [Snowden]'s done a great service, because he's telling the truth and this is what we are starved for. The American people are starved for the truth. And when you have a dictatorship or an authoritarian government, truth becomes treasonous. For somebody to tell the American people the truth is a heroic effort.
- Ron Paul, "For somebody to tell the American people the truth is a heroic effort...he knows it's risky", Piers Morgan - CNN, 10 June 2013.
- WikiLeaks has achieved far more than what The New York Times and The Washington Post in their celebrated incarnations did. No newspaper has come close to matching the secrets and lies of power that Assange and Snowden have disclosed. That both men are fugitives is indicative of the retreat of liberal democracies from principles of freedom and justice. Why is WikiLeaks a landmark in journalism? Because its revelations have told us, with 100 per cent accuracy, how and why much of the world is divided and run.
- I suggest... we look beyond this virus and ask how our current state of fear and its mass obedience will be exploited in future. Will the workers ‘stood down’ ever see their jobs again? Will artificial intelligence consume freedoms that have been suspended? As Edward Snowden says, the disease of mass surveillance will outlast this pandemic.
- In a call with reporters hosted by the Freedom of the Press Foundation on Tuesday, board member John Cusack expressed his umbrage with the media’s “character assassination” of Edward Snowden and neglect of The Real Issues. “Why are the red and blue elites in the establishment press so afraid of an informed public?” he asked rhetorically. “Why do they keep changing the subject?” “Have the establishment media been so co-opted by government access that they’ve lost all sense of proportionality?”
- To me Snowden is a hero because he revealed secrets that we should all know, that the United States has repeatedly violated the fourth amendment. He should be welcomed and offered asylum. But he has no place to hide because every country is intimidated by the United States.
- Oliver Stone, "Oliver Stone defends Edward Snowden over NSA revelations", The Guardian, 5 July 2013.
- I think Snowden has done a service... I wouldn’t have had the courage, and maybe not even the intellectual capacity, to do it the way he did it... There’s a logic to what he has done that is impressive... He really has refrained from anything that was truly dangerous, with regard to our security — regardless of what people say. He has been circumspect about what he's released, how he's released it, who he's released it to. It’s clear to me from listening to his personal statements — I think those are important — that he did have a genuinely altruistic motive for doing it.
- Lawrence Wilkerson inSnowden has done a service": Former Bush official Lawrence Wilkerson applauds the Whistleblower, Salon Ben Norton (24 March 2016)