NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned Donald Trump, as US President, could do a deal with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to extradite or imprison the whistleblower.
In an hour-long live-streamed video interview on Periscope with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey today, Snowden argued the US had trapped him in Russia when it cancelled his passport. The ex-NSA IT nerd added the incoming White House administration – which seemingly has better relations with the Russian government than the Obama regime – may be able to get him kicked out of the country and delivered into the hands of Uncle Sam, or otherwise imprisoned.
"It could happen, sure, but am I worried? Not really – I am very comfortable with decisions I made and know I did the right thing," he said.
"If my personal security was the only thing I cared about I never would have come forward and revealed myself in public. I would have stayed at NSA making an incredible amount of money for very little work and [would] be spying on you."
Up until now the US had worked hard to keep him in Russia – even going so far as to force down the President of Bolivia's private jet to make sure Snowden wasn't trying to flee. Snowden said he may also have to leave the Putin-led nation because he criticizes the Russian administration. There is no suggestion at this stage that Russia will eject or punish the American fugitive.
Snowden said that he had made asylum requests to 21 countries but hasn't had any luck yet. If he does get sent to the US for a "show trial," Snowden will argue that he has released no secrets personally – giving that job to the press – and none of the information has harmed anyone nor the American government itself, according to two White House studies.
Ultimately, Snowden said he wanted to make the US, and the wider world, a better place. Citizens need to have privacy and legislators need powers of scrutiny, and the balance was changing, in part due to the information he handed over to journalists.
On fake news and the internet generation
During the presentation, Snowden also took questions from Twitter users on a variety of topics. One of the first questions concerned fake news, and Snowden suggested a solution.
Journalists have a tough time of it these days, he opined, because good and true stories don't excite people in the same way fake ones do. As a result, the fakes get social media traction while actual news gets left by the wayside.
Governments are going to try to use the fake news fracas as an excuse to censor news media, he said. But instead, readers need to pay more attention and do the job themselves.
"The answer to bad speech is not censorship, it's more speech calling out fake news," he said. "We need to spread the idea that critical thinking is important."
When asked what people could do to protect against government intrusion, Snowden said the only way was to get organized. He said he understood that someone working two jobs and running a family wouldn't have time, so he encouraged them to "invest" in the ACLU, EFF, or Human Rights Watch. ®
PS: On the subject of privacy and government, Google has published some redacted national security letters it has received from the FBI demanding personal information – such as names and addresses – associated with particular Google account holders.