Today marks five years since the Guardian published Verizon’s FISA court order, the first story based on documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. At the time this story appeared, the whistleblower’s name was not known. It was three days and several enormous stories later that Snowden finally stepped out of the shadows, the source of the biggest public archive of top secret documents in history.
RootsAction, Norwegian PEN and Networkers South-North are launching a campaign and petition at 4pm local time today in support of bringing Edward Snowden to Norway in order to receive the Ossietzky Prize in November this year. The petition’s initial signatories include Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Daniel Ellsberg, Marit Arnstad, Jesselyn Radack, Arne Ruth, Ola Larsmo, Coleen Rowley, Thomas Drake, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Marjorie Cohn, William Binney, William Nygaard, John Kiriakou, Moddi og Mari Boine.
In an interview published on Tuesday by the German press agency dpa, Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas suggested that Edward Snowden’s best option would be to return to the US to face trial:
He is only in his early thirties and would definitely not want to spend the rest of his life being chased around the world or applying for one asylum after another.
Maas’ statement has been roundly criticised in Germany, where a majority of the population is in favour of granting Edward Snowden asylum. Opposition politicians, who are trying to arrange for Edward Snowden to testify to the ongoing Bundestag Committee of Inquiry into surveillance, have deemed Maas’ intervention as “cynical.” The German government has gone to considerable lengths to frustrate the desire of the Bundestag committee to receive Edward Snowden as a witness and the matter is likely to be challenged in Germany’s constitutional court.
In a recent debate on Rethinking the U.S. National Security Apparatus, Michael Hayden, a retired general and the former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, said that Edward Snowden “blew the whistle” on the NSA’s use of the Patriot Act’s Section 215 to collect phone records of nearly every American. Hayden observed that while the government felt it had executive, legislative, and judicial approval to use 215 that way, the American people have not consented to this program and have been left out of that process.
In a 40 minute interview broadcast by NBC on Wednesday 28 June, Edward Snowden was asked about his career history, his life in Russia, the NSA’s capabilities and the possibilty of him ever returning to the United States. During the broadcast, Edward Snowden described making his concerns about surveillance practices known both formally and informally before going public – something that NBC was able to confirm during the broadcast was indeed the case.
Three further short clips from this interview were later released by NBC.
Edward Snowden’s first television interview was broadcast by German channel ARD on the evening of Sunday 26 January 2014. The interview was conducted by NDR’s Hubert Siebel on Thursday 23 January and was originally broadcast with a German voice over. NDR have now made available a version of the interview with the original, English language, soundtrack.