Snowden: The Mission’s Already Accomplished

While it’s common to see news articles, TV shows, pundits, editorials, blogs, tweets and books discussing what limits we should or should not put on technology, Edward Snowden is one our few public figures who saw what was going on internally at the NSA and decided that our technological progress needed limits. Contrary to those who accuse him of betraying the NSA and US government, Snowden claims that he was trying to improve the NSA and US government when he made his historic leak to journalists earlier this spring. 

In a new interview with the Washington Post, Snowden tries to explain what his mission is: “I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA. I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”

Snowden claims that the failure of the US government was to abdicate responsibility for asking these kinds of questions. “What the government wants is something they never had before,” he said. “They want total awareness. The question is, is that something we should be allowing?” When no one at any level of the NSA, Congress, or the court system questioned whether the spying that was going on should have been going on, Snowden decided he had been ‘elected.’

“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won."

“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” Snowden said. “I already won.”

Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions” in committee hearings, he said. “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.”

Speaking with the Washington Post, Snowden said that the NSA’s spying programs were similar to those ‘general warrants’ the British government used in Colonial America that allowed anyone to be searched for any reason. “The last time that happened, we fought a war over it,” he said.

In reflecting on what we’ve learned as a result of his actions, Snowden said: “It’s the deception of the government that’s revealed.  “The U.S. government said: ‘We follow German laws in Germany. We never target German citizens.’ And then the story comes out and it’s: ‘What are you talking about? You’re spying on the chancellor.’ You just lied to the entire country, in front of Congress.”

“If I defected at all,” Snowden said, “I defected from the government to the public.”

Read the full story at The Washington Post: Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished

In related news, the NSA’s phone surveillance program is kind of worthless. But its defenders maintain it is essential for public safety.

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About the Contributor

Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson
Benjamin Robertson is a founding editor at Second Nature. He has worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune and Gannett, and now is a web developer at Mediacurrent. He studied Communications and Media Studies under Dr. Read Schuchardt at Wheaton College in Illinois. He has presented papers on Marshall McLuhan, media ecology, and Christianity at the Media Ecology Association, National Communication Association, and the McLuhan's Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference in Brussels. He lives with his wife, Ruth, in Greenville, SC. His personal website is

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