The blockbuster interview between Edward Snowden and NBC’s Brian Williams included everything from where the former NSA contractor experienced 9/11 to ‘WMDs’ in the Iraq War to what American TV show he is currently watching.
The wide-ranging discussion touched on two central themes: The rise of surveillance in post-9/11 America as well as the NSA-trained hacker’s unfortunate position of now living under Russian protection.
Snowden said that he was “right outside the NSA” when two passenger planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers. The 30-year-old detailed how the terrorist attack inspired him to join in U.S. Army special forces (he says he washed out of the program after breaking his legs).
While subsequently working as a CIA technician in Geneva, Snowden became disillusioned with the system. Now he believes that the U.S. government took advantage of 9/11 to spy on the private lives of Americans and invade Iraq.
“I realised that so many of the things that were told by the government simply aren’t true.,” he told Williams. “Much like the — the arguments about aluminium tubes and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Colin Powell’s speech with the vial of anthrax that Saddam was going to — to bring against us. The Iraq War that I signed up for was launched on false premises. The American people were misled.”
Snowden said that he “may have lost my ability to travel, but I’ve gained the ability to go to sleep at night and to put my head on the pillow and feel comfortable that I’ve done the right thing,” adding that he will be able to “live life as an American more or less” despite his FSB hosts.
“Even though circumstances really trapped me here, I can adapt. I can live life as an American more or less. That’s the beauty of the Internet is that we’re no longer tied to our communities by physical connections,” he said. “Right now I’m watching a show, The Wire, about surveillance. I’m really enjoying it — [though] the second season’s not that good.”
Here’s the clip about 9/11:
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