2013 changed everything. A single young man’s exposure of Constitutional violations by our own government gave anarchists and conspiracy theorists confirmation that our leaders consciously makes efforts to control the lives of the American people. Edward Snowden was interviewed on Reddit’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ just the documentary titled ‘Citizenfour’ about his expose of the NSA was released on HBO. Although he remains in exile in Moscow, he says that he only has a single regret; he would have released the information sooner. Snowden told Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald that if he had acted sooner, the program would not have become as powerful.
Immediately after the horrific events of September 11, 2001, our nation’s leaders realized they could accomplish a goal they had harbored for years; they could begin removing the rights of the American people guaranteed by the Constitution. Under the guise of the ‘war on terror,’ they hastily passed the Patriot Act. This law, approved by both sides of the aisle, removed the requirement of law enforcement to obtain a court order to acquire personal information. If a government agency had reason to believe that a private citizen had any link to a terrorist organization, it could seize all and any information. ‘Bending the rules’ to suit their needs, law enforcement agencies across the nation have violated the fourth amendment rights of thousands of our citizens; including the acquisition of cash and property.
Speaking on AMA, Snowden pointed to the fact that once a government puts a program in place, it is nearly impossible to remove or roll it back. It’s the old story of ‘power corrupts absolutely,’ and governments continually seek more power. He spoke directly to the citizens of other nations and said; “don’t let it happen to you.”
In ‘Citizenfour’ Snowden was filmed in his Moscow apartment. With him was his girlfriend Lindsay Mills; the couple have been romantically involved since 2009. Snowden was forced to leave her behind in Hawaii in May 2013; they were reunited about a year later.
The documentary is a production of the Weinstein Company and director Steven Soderbergh. Snowden said that he had no illusions about his fate when he chose to expose the NSA to Poitras and Greenwald. But contrary to public perception, he is not living in squalor; he and Mills live the normal life of a Moscow citizen. In 2014 the Russian government granted them a three year extension of their visitor’s visa.
Snowden said he was disappointed that the policies of the NSA have changed little since 2013. He advises everyone not to use an iPhone or Apple device; they can easily be compromised. He uses a simple phone which cannot be hacked by government spy agencies.
He was asked if the information he exposed should be an issue in the 2016 presidential election. He believes that the people must organize an effort to place it at the forefront of discussion; the government will attempt to subdue the argument. He told the AMA audience to remember that the law does not protect people; people protect the law. It is always up to the people to force changes by their government which will never take the initiative to revise policy.
If Snowden returns to the United States he will face a minimum of three violations of the Espionage Act.
By James Turnage