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Edward Snowden on NSA Leaks: Mission Accomplished

Only half a year after leaking sensitive National Security Agency documents and shifting international attention into U.S. surveillance, whistle-blower Edward Snowden said on Monday that “in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished.”

“As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated,” he said in a 14-hour interview for The Washington Post. “Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

Snowden, who originally agreed with the NSA’s cause, affirmed that it was the inaction of our leaders against the invasion of citizens’ privacy that “elected” him to act against the agency. “They elected me. The overseers,” he said. “Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions. . . Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. . . The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility.”

Nevertheless, Snowden insists his mission is to help the NSA. “I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA,” he said. “They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”

He also denied having any ties to the Russian government, adding that it doesn’t serve his true goals. “If I defected at all, I defected from the government to the public,” he said.

About the author

Gary Bryan is an industrial marketing manager by daytime and political and social issues writer by night. You can also find his editorials at Mic.com.