Edward Snowden gave his first interview since he leaked NSA documents.
The interview, which was published in the New York Times, was done through encrypted emails and focused on government and the media. Lara Poitras is a filmmaker who won Snowden’s trust many months ago — she served as the intermediary. Snowden said, “Laura was more suspicious of me than I was of her, and I’m famously paranoid.”
As reported by the Daily Mail:
“Snowden, in describing his methods for choosing a reporter to work with while searching for a way to tell the world what he knew, said that basically all emails are possible targets for government surveillance
Those from news organizations, he suggested, are all the more likely to be read.
‘Assume that your adversary is capable of a trillion guesses per second,’ he wrote to Poitras at the start of their work together, a relationship the New York Times documents alongside the Snowden interview.”
“It should be clear that unencrypted journalist-source communication is unforgivably reckless,” Snowden said.
The whistleblower asserted that the media does not do an adequate job of holding government accountable. This allows government to remain unchecked and become out-of-control, he argued.
“The most important news outlets in America abdicated their role as a check to power for fear of being seen as unpatriotic and punished in the market during a period of heightened nationalism,” he said. “From a business perspective, this was the obvious strategy, but what benefited the institutions ended up costing the public dearly.”
Snowden, who now has asylum in Russia, said the media often turns a blind eye to government spying. “Any unencrypted message sent over the Internet is being delivered to every intelligence service in the world,” he said.
The whistleblower does have hope for the future, however. He thinks that major media outlets are beginning to recover from what he calls a “cold period” of not holding government accountable. He thinks this period began after the 9/11 attacks.
There is no doubt that Snowden himself has been a wakeup call for journalists who work in the mainstream media, who so rarely question things.