Edward Snowden, the man who leaked information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, said Monday that the U.S. government denied him the justice of a fair trial by basically declaring him guilty of treason, but that it will not be able to stop the truth from coming out.
Snowden fled to Hong Kong for asylum in late May after revealing multiple documents disclosing private NSA information about its extensive surveillance of Americans’ phone records and internet activities, according to CBS. He previously worked as a contractor for the NSA.
In Monday’s online Q&A held by The Guardian — the news source that first revealed Snowden’s identity — Snowden said it would be “foolish” for him to submit to what would be an unfair trial in the U.S., where the government has already declared him guilty of an "unforgiveable crime."
The 29-year-old also said he thinks being called a traitor by former Vice President Dick Cheney is a high honor for any American citizen, as Cheney has himself promoted the systematic violation of American citizens’ privacy in the past through his involvement in wiretapping.
Originally optimistic about how President Barack Obama would approach issues of privacy in the government’s surveillance policies regarding protection against terrorism, Snowden said he grew disappointed in the President’s actions once he took office.
“Unfortunately, shortly after assuming power, (the President) closed the door on investigating systemic violations of law, deepened and expanded several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to end the kind of human rights violations like we see in Guantanamo, where men still sit without charge,” Snowden said.
Snowden’s exposure of the NSA’s programs illuminated the abuse of power and secrecy supposedly based on policies established after 9/11.
“Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism,” Snowden said. “Yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.”