tv Book Discussion on No Place to Hide CSPAN May 24, 2014 8:15pm-9:33pm EDT
had happened to past republics. he wrote what was wrong with the current one and that he had learned from serving in state government, serving in the continental congress. it's a nice pairing. he not only undertook this philosophical exploration, he undertook an understanding of the art of politics. he was a genius at oath and so his reading was part of that. reading sources like montesquieu but also his practical experience was crucial to his successes. >> ladies and gentlemen let's thank the cheney's for this great presentation. [applause] i want to thank them. [applause]
booktv continues with glenn greenwald. he talks about his meetings with and meetings with nsa contractor edward snowden in hong kong the revelations about nsa spying that mr. snowden revealed in the reaction that the u.s. media when the story broke. this is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> good evening. i am bradley graham coe order of politics and prose along with my wife in muscatine and on behalf of the entire staff and all the staff here at sixth and i i would like to welcome you. we are always delighted to partner with six and i and co-sponsor author talks in this truly marvelous building. esther forbes who is the executive director of six and i and her organization have done a traffic job establishing this place as a vibrant cultural center now celebrating its tenth
anniversary. we are looking forward to continuincontinuin g our great partnership with them. as a bookstore owner i'm often asked by writers for it by somehow to promote a book after it's been published. i don't think i have ever suggested going out and winning a pulitzer prize and making sure it's awarded just a few weeks before the release of the book. but that's what glenn greenwald did. how is that working out for you glenn? very well. glenn of course led the reporting team at the guardian which along with the "washington post" just won the public service pulitzer for reporting on edward snowden's nsa files. the pulitzer committee commended len and his colleagues specifically for sparking a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy. glenn has been winning awards and recognition for just this
sort of revelatory provocative coverage ever since he gave up practicing law nine years ago to write cones and books. he started his verse blog in 2005 because as he says in the introduction of this new book he had become alarmed by the bush administration's post-9/11 theories of executive power and wanted to make a broader impact in his career as a constitutional civil rights lawyer and allow it. by 2007 p.m. become a contributed writer at salon and in 2012 he signed up with the guardian having established himself as a dog at pursuer of stories involving government overreach. it was glenn's aggressive coverage of such controversies as warrantless wiretapping by the nsa that led snowden to seek them out and enlist him in the release of the classified files documented the nsa's collection apparatus.
glenn tells this fascinating revealing impassioned detail in his fifth and latest book "no place to hide." a few months ago glenn left the guardian to launch a publication called the intercept which is part of first look needy a the pioneering journalistic venture. he is far from finished with the snowden archive. he has been saying there's more to come including even bigger revelations. as he told one interviewer quote i like to think of it as a fireworks show. you want to save your best for last. ladies and gentlemen please join me in welcoming glenn greenwald. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you very much.
[applause] thank you. thank you very very much for that extremely warm and generous welcome and thank you so much for coming out tonight and thanks as well to six and i at politics and prose for inviting me to this popular venue. i witnessed when i was an adolescent a large number of my friends being bar mitzvah and i never was and i discovered i had some lingering jealousy and resentment. i feel i get to compensate a little bit for that tonight. i have that surprise happiness about being here. book tours which i'm now in the middle of our singularly exhausting. but they are also really exhilarating. the reason they are exhilarating is because when you work on an issue or a story like i have been working on at the nsa archive every single day for almost a year you end up focusing on these documents are the stories in a case-by-case
basis. you don't have the opportunity to step back and think about some of the broader implications. and the profound consequences of the work you have been doing. in writing a book and talking about your book with people who have read it and have been and just in your work for a long time and having that dialogue is a provocative and interesting way to be able to think about those issues. as much as i like book tours i particularly like events like this as opposed to what i normally do on the book tour which is sit in studios answering the same set of predictable and this point valid questions over and over by people who work as journalists. i really look forward to the question and answer session which i know will be great as long as you don't ask me two questions. one is so we understand mr. snowden arranged to be caring a rubik's cube and the other question being last week keith alexander the longtime nsa chief said your journalism will
result in the death of innocent people. do you stay up at night and worry about the blood on your hands? therefore all be better than any television interview i do. so i wanted to begin by talking about what i did in the first part of the book the first two chapters which is tell the story of how i came to meet and then work with edward snowden
along with my longtime friend and journalist collaborator in hong kong. the reason that i really wanted to write the book to tell that story is because so much has been said about all of those events in so much of what has been said has been wildly false. one of the really interesting things is if you are somebody really likes to bash the american media and i'm i am definitely somebody who likes to do that, it's one of my most favorite pastimes it doesn't really come as a surprise to learn that much of what the media turns out is misleading in
all sorts of ways. but when you are actually at the center of the story like this and you are reading in the newspaper claims about what it is that happened when you actually know the truth because you are at those events or a part of them your appreciation for their capacity to mislead expands wildly.
you're really is shocking to have seen some of the things that were set given my firsthand knowledge of how false they are. i remember in particular in hong kong when we rebuild edward snowden's identity and his assistants on june 10 of last year. from june 10 until june 23 the instant consensus of the american national security league -- leak in washington in large numbers of the american media was that there was no question but that this is almost certainly a chinese espionage operation that at worth snowden has almost certainly a spy of the government in beijing.
then on june 24 when he left hong kong and flew to moscow on his way to ecuador and got trapped in moscow by the u.s. government who revoked his passport the very same people who'd accused him of being a chinese spy instantly transformed their smear smear campaign into oh he's
obviously an agent of vladimir putin. that's been obvious all along and they seamlessly switch. i know those same people would accuse him of being an agent of that government. there was this op-ed in "the wall street journal" last week saying we know for certain either that this is this whole operation is either a chinese spy ring or a russian spy ring or a sino-russian joint operation. it's definitely one of those. so it was really remarkable to see just how those kinds of things ossified. then there was the issue of who
edward snowden was. this actually stunned me. i was vaguely aware of this at a time when i was occupy it in june in hong kong and wasn't paying much attention to people like jeffrey toobin were saying that in writing the book i went back to see how the media baird informed in the wake of our disclosures and the unveiling of our source. it is really remarkable. i mystified to this day how it happened almost overnight within 24 hours all of these journalists who never heard the name edward snowden before had no idea who he was or what he did or what motivated him for able instantly to diagnose him laid in a remarkably coordinated way. this consensus arose that he was a fame seeking narcissists and literally within the 48 hours after it was unveiled that phrase appeared in countless newspaper cones and all sorts of
television programs and persist to this day even though the very time those people were smearing and maligning his character as a means of distracting attention from the revelations he was telling me as we were executing his plan which was i'm going to unveil myself one time and come forward and say i'm the person who did this because i feel an obligation to stand up in public and explain why it is that i did what i did. i don't want to hide. i don't want other people falsely accused. i want to take responsibility for what i did guess i'm convicted it was the right thing to do. after i do that i'm going to disappear. i'm not going to do interviews and not let them personalize the issue the way they always like to do with whistleblowers. literally every day for the next two or three months i had every major american television personality actors who play the role of journalists on television calling me and pleading with me to arrange for them to have the first
television interview with edward snowden. they were going to devote hours of prime-time. he could've easily been the most famous person in the world and he steadfastly rejected every single one of those offers because he knew that could result in allowing personally and they would ask probing questions for which our american media so well-known such is tell us about your girlfriengirlfriend you miss her and what is your life like in moscow in those kinds of questions. he was determined not to let that happen so he staved off all television for a full year. that is really the -- of a fame seeking narcissists. then there is the issue of the results and outcome of the disclosures. almost instantly there was the script that was read from by the
american political establishment which was that these disclosures are going to result in the deaths of innocent people and the compromising of american national security. i think every interview i've done with every major tv outlets in the last year has entailed those accusations put to me with the somber haste in this demand that i take it seriously and address it. what is most remarkable to me about it isn't that it is presented without any expectation of specificity or rather dense to corporate the accusation. none of this in this room are surprised after the media did in the run-up to the iraq war that they are perfectly ever asked for any evidence whatsoever to corroborate it. what surprised me the most about it was the eagerness to completely ignore the fact that in every single case every single whistleblower of every
unauthorized disclosure which
means that your publishing information that the government wants to hide this same accusation is made to the same kinds of fear-mongering over and over again going all the way back to the 1971 week of daniel ellsberg when the pentagon papers and informed the american citizenry that the government was systematically lying to them for years about the vietnam war. daniel ellsberg was my childhood hero. i actually had the honor of becoming friends with him and i served on the board with him. i have had the opportunity to talk with him. he has become the leading most vocal defender not just of edward snowden but chelsea manning and other whistleblowers. the reason he said he does that and he's devoted to doing it even though he's now 83 is because he said every single thing that they say about edward snowden and chelsea manning every single thing was
said about me.
going to the congress in telling the american people through their elected representatives that daniel ellsberg was almost certainly a russian spy. the accusation was continuously made to officials before the supreme court that these disclosures would severely damage american security would risk the lives of men and women in uniform and in general undermined the security of the united states. it's now essentially consensus that all of that was fictitious. the disclosures that were made were noble and heroic and yet there's no conception at all when these accusations are made the fact that they have been made over and over again and disproven over and over again might mean that we have to have at least says journalists and iota of skepticism when those claims are made in the latest consensus. the reality is the disclosures that we may have been quite damaging to the reputations and
the credibility of american officials who have been lying to the public in building this massive surveillance for all of these years. it hasn't in any way harmed any legitimate interests of citizens. it's only strengthened the system of which we are all apart because that requires us knowing rather than -- the most consequential acts our government is doing in the dark. the last point i want to make about why i wanted to tell the story in the misperceptions that are cystic is about what edward snowden hoped to achieve what his actual desired outcome was. there is this very pervasive criticism that i would call as being from the right by which i mean mostly from democrats. although we do hear it from republicans as well occasionally but not with near the frequency that these disclosures have been incredibly reckless and they
have been disclosed without regard to american interest and the intention to harm american interests that this was somehow vaguely treasonous. i was on c-span this morning and every time the hosted now go to the democrat mind i knew i was about to be called as traitor. there's this idea that there's this extraordinary recklessness taking place and edward snowden wants to harm the systems. then there's a much less well-known strain of criticism for lack of a better term i would say comes from the left that it's a much more serious criticism of the journalism and the way the disclosures have been carried out. because it's much more serious it has much less tension. that criticism is why are we holding on to it and wildly publish the entire archive for white we publish huge numbers of documents rather than this carefully manage process that we use? the answer to those both of those questions lies in the
truth about what happened when edward snowden came forward in what his objectives were. like most sources he had very clear ideas about certain types of information that people needed to get out and then there was other information that he was insistent he not be published which was common for sources to say you can publish this but not this and then there was this vast gray area of information. he didn't trust his own judgment unilaterally to make those choices. what he said was i'm giving you these materials and i want you to make the judgment about which of these documents you publish. many of the documents i don't want published and he gave his categories of documents he didn't wish to be publish such as things that would reveal the communications of innocent people that the nsa has
collected or things that would enable people easily to accuse him of treason by for example disclosing the surveillance methods the u.s. government uses on al qaeda or adversaries of the government. agree or disagree that is what the framework was he insisted upon. we agree to that framework and there was a good reason why i think he wanted that is why he agreed to that which was he did not come forward in order to harm the united states. if you wanted to do that it would have been the easiest thing in the world for them to do. he could have taken those documents and passed them to every american efforts vary. he could've sold those documents for tens of millions of dollars to virtually any intelligence agency on the planet. he could've taken them and uploaded them all to the internet himself. he didn't want any of that. the reason he didn't want any of that the main reason is because he wanted to make sure there was some benefit pragmatic benefit
to the choice he made to unravel his life and that benefit would be that the government wouldn't be able to distract everyone's attention from these revelations by saying let's focus on how edward snowden is an irresponsible traitor. they wouldn't be able to say look we found page 5862 of the documents that it then released of this innocent person who has jeopardized and how we access on that one small case as a means of demonizing the disclosures. he was acutely aware of the need to have a public debate on his side. that was important to him. he wanted the public to be focused on the substance of the revelations and not on the ancillary tax ticks if we did any other sort of course. that meant that he wanted us to go one by one by one in each and
every document each and every story and published it journalistically meaning report it described to the public what it out let it linger so people had time and space to react so that it can grow and once we were ready to report on the next one do that and keep doing it until those stories were ready. you can agree or disagree with that method but as a journalist and a human being i promised him i would adhere to that framework it i really didn't care from that point forward about that because that was the framework i was going to use. i think his strategic sense has been remarkably vindicated. here we are a year after the first tory on a topic i've been writing about for eight years surveillance and privacy in the united states. incredibly ethereal and rather remote and complicated to people particularly when pitted against the visceral fear that their children and they will be blown up if they don't have these policies.
it's very difficult to get people even to think about it seriously let alone care about it. after a year the interest level of the story is evidenced by the audience here in manchester in the book in the way in which the policies are debated and reform movement that continues to strengthen around the world is greater than ever. i think that is a direct byproduct of the very careful and aggressive simultaneously careful and aggressive choice that edward snowden made about how he wanted to bring these documents to the world. a big part of the book was to correct the misperceptions and a definitive series of events about what to place. so that's the part about snowden in terms of correcting the record. i just want to take a few minutes to talk about what i think is even more important part of the story and by the story i mean those first two chapters when i say here's what actually happened. i think there's a really profound lesson to be learned by
thinking about what happened and why it happened. i know it's been a profound lesson for me personally. when i went to hong kong as most people know my assumption was that i was going to be the source. i thought that for a variety of reasons beginning with the fact he demonstrated to me that he had access to enormous amounts of top secret information which made me think he was a senior in the u.s. government. secondly i spent many weeks talking to him on line and his insight was invariably sophisticated. a little bit cynical but always smart and thoughtful and avoided clichés. was just a very original and deep thinking way of looking at the world. thirdly from the very first moment i talked with him he was adamant about the fact that he was going to be identified as the source area early on in our reporting. he said in the first conversation i ever had with him i know that almost certainly
means i'm going to spend the rest of my life in prison. the fact that he was willing to go to those extremes and incur that risk led me to believe he was probably near the end of his life because it seemed like you would have to be extremely disillusioned if you are going to make that sacrifice and also it's almost as though to me it seems like it's less of a difficult choice than saying i'll spend the rest of my life in prison if your life expectancy -- it seems like a much more don ting choice. like we have all probably experience when you make assumptions about someone you are talking on the internet and you meet them in real life everything you assumed is wrong. that was the case here. the first time i met him in that hotel in hong kong he was 29 years old. he grew up probably five years younger. i was overwhelmed with
dissonance and confusion and it took me on him of the entire day to recover. the reason for that and the thought that i had in my brain was it was completely befuddling it was really confounding that somebody who was that age and who was clearly very intelligent and well adjusted, something i was able to see over the course of my interaction with him even before i got there and clearly had a stable and lucrative career and as i learned later was somebody who had a longtime girlfriend who loves him and who he loves in the family who was very supportive. why would somebody like that give up their entire life literally subject themselves to almost certain consignment for the rest of your life in a cage not in order to enrich himself. sometimes you understand why someone may steal or kill to gain huge of money or not to exact vengeance but simply in
defense of a principle. a political principle that didn't really affect him at all because privacy and the importance of it though very profound him with something he had the skills i might most people in the world who actually saved guard. he could actually safeguard his own privacy. he was worried about everybody else's. it was really almost i was maybe too cynical and wasn't thinking clearly but i really was suspicious over the storyline that he was telling through his actions which is i'm not even 30 yet and i have to go to jail for the rest of my life because of this abstract value. my first priority in hong kong was to understand what his true motives were not the motives he was claiming that understand the motives behind the motives and the moral reasoning that led to that decision because i wanted not to be a part of helping somebody unravel their life unless i was completely convinced there was agency and
moral autonomy. i spent a long time trying to understand what it is that he did and why he did it. what ultimately got me to the point where it's extremely comfortable where he did understand motives and i could trust the authenticity of the explanation he was giving was when he talked about how growing up in assorted alienated environment the internet was his salvation unlike for people of my generation and the generation before me who didn't have the internet growing up and came to see the internet as this discrete and shouldn't use for isolated tasks people of his generation who grew up in the culture see the internet as an integral part of the world. not just a part of the world but a part of their internal exploration as human beings. that requires the ability to act freely and anonymously and with privacy. he talked about how we did to live in a world in which that was eliminated for billions of other human beings who are yet
to be born. when i said to him i understood that but i still understand why you personally are willing to engage in this risky talked about this belief system he had developed. what was really odd to me was i knew almost in the first hour that he didn't finish high school and after he didn't finish high school he was looking around to do something and when he was 20 years old he enlisted in the u.s. army in 2003 with the intention of going to volunteer to fight in the iraq war for the united states. he said he did that because he believed the war at the time was noble and just and it was intended to liberate the iraqi people. he said he got basic training and realized all the people there to train him spent more time talking about killing arabs than they did liberating anybody. that was the impetus that led him to enlist. when i heard he enlisted i thought this is a person who has had a profound reversal in their life who has had a fundamental transformation of the kinds of
things. to go from his classical patriotism fighting for my country in this war that i believe this just to being one of the most risk seeking aggressive whistleblowers in american history must have had a profound change that took place. what i realized was there was great continuity between the factions. the reason he enlisted in the u.s. army was because he genuinely believed it was his obligation as a human being to risk his own interest even his life if it meant going to liberate oppressed people. that was really the same mentality the same moral framework that led him to do this was the blowing and put himself in a position of going to jail for the rest of his life he said to me i am not going to be a person who simply has a leafs and articulates and expresses those beliefs. those beliefs in my opinion are worthless unless i'm willing to take action in defense of them.
what he discovered not just the surveillance system itself but the idea of this extraordinarily consequential apparatus have been constructed without an iota of understanding or knowledge by all the people he said knowing that it happened and then knowing he would be spending the rest of his life on his conscience having to realize he did nothing about it even though he could was in infinitely worse punishment than anything the united states government could do to him including putting him into a cage for the next six decades. it was almost a choice that he would rather be in prison then knowing he did nothing in the face of what he considered to be be -- and not only did that are swayed me deeply his authenticity but it really eliminated this lesson for me. i've been writing for a long
time about this formidable political and military economic force in the west that do all sorts of horrible things. when you write about those things all the time you talk about then there's this tendency to spread a gloominess like i just listen to these horrible things and i actually feel weekend and admits it and despairing and defeatist about the prospects for doing something about this. what can i do to stand up to these formidable forces? to me the real lesson of edward snowden and what he did the thing that i think is so profound that i hope everybody in the world walks away no matter what their ideology is or perspective learning and thinking about was he was this incredibly ordinary common powerless person. he grew up in a lower middle class home. he had no position or prestige or power and yet simply in an
act of conscience and courage and his convictions he literally change the world. he revolutionized how people all over the world think about a very wide array of profound issues. even if there is never a law that is passed to reform the nsa or anything else that consequence will generally -- and that should be a permanent antidote to defeatism to the idea that where powerless injustices that we confront we always have within ourselves the ability when we summon our will to find a way even acting alone to unleash all sorts of her found changes and being able to see him do that is something that will profoundly influenced me and probably will for the rest of my life. i just want to talk for a couple
of more minutes and then we will start the q&a about what the book reveals about that surveillance system. because that ultimately is what motivated him to come forward and the journalism that we did. i just want to talk about one small part. obviously the book contains a lot of documents and revelations and puts together older stories in a broader context to convey what this is but this to me is the nub of everything that's happened which is over the past 10 months there are passionate sometimes scornful debates. but the essential public complaint has been on the one side the nsa assistance that we needn't worry about what it is they are doing because it's an extremely discriminating targeted careful form of surveillance that is only interested in monitoring communications and people engage in terrorist plotting or other forms of threats to america's
national security. on the other side you have people like edward snowden and the aclu and a lot of people who have been saying that the exact opposite was true that this is a system of indiscriminate limitless ubiquitous surveillance unlike anything that is created in the world. if you listen to a debate in which somebody like keith alexander stands up and says one thing and i say the opposite there's no way for a person to resolve those differences except for the good luck we happened to have tens of thousands of nsa documents which do resolve those differences very decisively. one of the documents that i've published is illustrative of countless documents that appeared in this archive in which the phrase collect it all appears. that is the motto of the nsa. it's a motto for keith alexander when he was a general in baghdad because he wanted to direct that
framework of surveillance as an enemy population in the middle of a vicious protracted war and that got imported like so many other abuses like detention without trial onto american soil it became the surveillance loss of the of the u.s. government and all other populations. there are all sorts of documents that are collected in the institutional mandate of the nsa. i did a debate in toronto to the former director of the cia under ocean when someone i presented him with that fact he was assuring the audience that it was limited and discriminating he was basically left to say it's a really difficult point but it doesn't mean collected all. collected all means collected all evidenced by the fact that there are billions with the b
every single day of e-mails and telephone calls collected by the nsa and stored by the nsa from the american system throughout the world. there's one document in particular that says that the top by the nsa is very generous of them to make a document this clear and helpful. is this how they talk when they think nobody will know what they're they are saying. it says are new collection posture and it's a sort of circle. each peg of the circle has a different phrase that defines what the nsa sees as its collection posture. at the top it says collected all but as you go counterclockwise on the wheel it says things like snip it all process it all exploit it all know it all. that really is it the institutional ambition of the nsa and its closest partners. it's not just an aspiration of some science fiction future.
it's something they are extremely close to fulfilling in document after document demonstrates that. if nothing else matter what you think of edward snowden and surveillance and how benevolent you think the government is to be entrusted with these powers at the very least it's extremely difficult i think to dispute the principle that if the united states government is going to create something that profoundly consequential for privacy for generations for how we communicate and how people in the world organize themselves or how personalities are formed and individuals explore the world they are going to convert that from what it was which was the greatest instrument for liberation and emancipation and equalizing of forces into what has become which is the greatest and most menacing social surveillance ever known to people in history. at the very least even if every program and detail is known to
us the broad contours the fact that our governments are doing that have to be known to the population if it has any meaning at all to say we live in any form of democracy. that is the principle that edward snowden chose shows to come forward in the principle that has animated every journalistic choice i've made and certainly the reason i wrote this book. so thank you very much for listening and we will now have a 30 minute q&a. [applause] thanks very much. thank you. i guess the system is anyone who wants to ask the question lines
up at either of these two microphones and to alleviate the burden of having to pick people we will alternate systematically from one microphone to the next. stay many of the nsa's programs have been based on questionable legal variables. you think there will be any repercussions for those who greenlighted these programs or is it too soon for that and you have any more smoking guns that you think could lead to indictments? >> if we had a country living under the basic concepts of the rule of law the answer to your question would be easy. people who ordered surveillance that violates the constitutional rights in a federal court in washington four months ago ruled that it did or who abused the system for improper purposes would be held accountable just like other people who aren't in power in washington when they break the law for much less significant transgressions are put into prison. we are a country in which we
know american political officials created a world like a torture regime and based on aggressive -- declared illegal since nuremberg and collapse the world economy and not a single one of those individuals literally a single one has ever been held accountable under the law. [applause] even though we have a country that imprisons more of our citizens than any in the world proportionally for far less transgressions than any country in the west. so you have this split in how the system functions. my colleague matt tiabbi has a book out right now called the divide about how this judicial system has created tiers of injustice and that was somewhat what i last book was about. there are all these really raise
american journalists who love to stand up and say edward snowden should man up. that's their phrase. come back to the united states and face trial and be prosecuted and put in prison. this whole debate began when the senior national security official clapper went before the united states senate and when asked by ron wyden is the nsa collecting data about hundreds of millions of americans he said what? mass collection of americans? he lied to the american people. which is at least as much of a felony as edward snowden is accused of. you cannot find a single politician who has interviewed james clapper who asked if he should go to prison or suggested that he shouldn't demonstrates this split in how we look at what the law is for. as for powerless ordinary people and not for people who yield
power. as for smoking guns no matter what i demonstrate indictments in our current culture but there definitely are stories left that will shape how the story is formed. just to be clear those stories are not purposefully setting on -- which is in nobody's interest. these are the stories that are difficult to report prayed they involve incredible sensitivity about the lives of innocent people and how the report while protecting their interests? they involve all kinds of legal questions that will implicate the interest of our source and the journalists working on the story but the minute those stories are ready and we are working on them as fast as we can they will be published and i think they will significantly reshape how people view these revelations. [applause] >> i'm excited to get to ask you this. you hinted at on it in your colbert interview.
a question about neal gallagher who fought against the hoover fbi when he was a chair that subcommittee on aviation of privacy which were sold in the freedom of information act. he said he's been following your reporting on the nsa with great interest that parallels his interest with the hoover fbi and is a member of congress he saw first-hand how the fbi use methods like the nsa today to develop compromising dossiers on members of congress to force their votes in key issues. he opposed the hoover lost to see to do his stand. my question to you is what can you tell us about the potential for the executive branch to use the nsa is an internal political police unit able to control the congress and judiciary by threatening to create personal scandals and ousting from office is the hoover fbi did in his day? >> i may be in trouble with my editors and fellow journalists who might work on this story when i get those previous and i have a momentary loss of control.
there are all these headlines after my "colbert report" saying the greatest story yet is coming and thank you for that public pressure. i'm going to be a little careful about that uncharacteristically but what i will say is that we have had stories that speak correctly to that question. there was a story we published in "the huffington post" three or four months ago that's a remarkable document that didn't get so much attention it deserves. sometimes because of what's going on in the day that have the nsa saying that they had taken six people they considered radicals but they said specifically they're not numbers of a terrorist organization or plotting terrorist attacks. ..
and martin luther king has he was peaceful and nonthreatening but that is not how they were seen of the '60s and '70s. just like people who are muslim whose say i think palestinians have the right to defend themselves and those who are now seen as radical as well. they target those kinds of people and i know go-ahead and kill me but there is definitely stories like that coming. [applause] >> i want to use thank you very much and when you see edward snowden thank him for doing what he did. [applause]
i didn't have the permits the either. is okay. [laughter] i think many people here grew up in the late sixties or early '70s have done a lot of demonstrations and have worked for people and we tried to make our country and our government a better place. but it always seems we are caught in a time warp that seems to have have been in previous generations. not just generations but what happened to this country in the '60s and '70s and those that have the impact on the direction of our country that was not
that long ago that people should have forgotten although maybe they have. i just want to ask as someone who has been out there with talks with people and has reflected on your own work in syria why is it we keep doing the same thing over and over again is there any way we can prevent this from happening again? even though we will get very this stock even though we don't see any demonstrations out there but people all seemed to be very angry about it or upset what the government is doing.
so what are your thoughts? >> with the premise of the question that people all seem very bothered by this. there is a expectations of a set are politically engaged and also politically passionate that how we look at the world to expect everybody will see the world similarly to how we react and therefore when we are a greek if there is not instantaneous demands then that means generally people are apathetic. but there is a tendency. how perceptual change takes
place if you look at polling data in the united states those that have been taken every year it has been a constant every year so consistently which is it? the threat of foreign terrorist attacks or the threats to our civil liberties and every single year since then 11 americans overwhelmingly have said i fear the threat of foreign terrorist attacks more than the threat to my civil liberties except in 2013 except after three months after the snowden story and it refers to so that 65 or 70 percent said i feel more of a threat from the u.s. government and terrorism that is a remarkable and sudden changes and one that will have profound implications.
in part that is because they have raised that were more tangible and a media how to pay your bills and keep unemployment but there is a sense of confusion of outrage which i do think is there and people say i went to the polls with this election are that the election i really mean 2008 but i that the vote i thought that what happened but i see that it hasn't. now the wonderful democratic participation and i have an influence that all these massive forces we have they occupy wall street movement that was crushed so there is
the real collective sense of hopelessness so that a lack of action is not reflective of the lack of outrage and the other thing i would say is it is important to see this story internationally and not domestically because it is a global means of communication. i know from where i am in brazil this has resonated greatly and has been sustained over the course of the year and the debate over these issues continues to swirl that all over the world people think differently and you cannot help but lead to all sorts of changes that we cannot even anticipate. there has been debates over scandals for years but to
focus what is in front of us rather than the distant past but we look at things that are distant foreign leaders over there or leaders here like j. edgar hoover and we're just lucky enough to be free from so they don't think those abuses are possible. that is part of why people write books or right blocks or come forward to change our people think more than anything i have seen and i would love it to be more but it has been very succinctly. [applause] >> do you see any scenario
playing and how to where we would see do meditates fort edward snowden to return to or do you really think it will be a challenge to return without being locked up in a cage the rest of his life? >> title see any scenario where he can return. i remember an article in 2011 that went bradley manning was stained. it bordered on torture i remember being confused initially why would they do that? put her in those kind of conditions? it seems so counterproductive and distracted attention and turned her into a martyr and even jeopardize in any
statements that she made were incriminating saying it was a byproduct of coercion. in the reason they subjected her to that treatment is the same reason they were so vindictive about prosecuting whistle-blowers even though they use proper channels and have done little harm which is the same reason it put people in orange jumpsuits thousands of miles away and torture people to go around the world. but to send the message if you think about meaningfully undermining specifically and whistleblowing take a look at what was needed to chelsea manning. and all the other
whistle-blowers and you should think twice. but let edward snowden, to which he wrote welcome party to severely undermine it would incentivized other people that is the reason why they're so desperate to get him and infuriated he is protected because he has a template for other people to come forward but don't want to spend the rest of their life in prison and that is very alarming to the government and in encouraging. [applause] >> and they could be looked at as people with ulterior reduce people to expose
wrongdoing. it is a very isolated event for the individual so quickly an interview with the new endeavor you will look to employ anonymous technology. had you saw it in terms of what impact it has of the relationship? does said facilitate the person in power with the interior but? does it give way for the whistle-blower? as the only avenue of support.
>> that question raises an important problem. if we tell them the government is collecting them and how long they are speaking and a device they used to collect emails, office applications such as the right to privacy. but there is a lot of other rights that are seriously threatened include gain the freedom of the press. how do you do journalism that relies on people giving you information and remain anonymous in the world for the government knows who everybody is talking to wear every betty's data is collected comprehensively so it is a journalistic way to
think about to create ways to enable sources to come forward once khodzhent like deep throat did to bob woodward and sources with the confidence they can do it that everyone is talking to everyone and secure job the way to let people deliver documents to a journalist with a good amount of anonymity but also of technology in the hope to develop further and encourage others will once again reestablished the ability of human beings to communicate anonymously. it is critical for privacy but also for journalism and human rights workers and attorneys do need to communicate in an private and to communicate to reestablish privacy and as
far as facilitating with that with the whistle-blowers. we are all complicated human beings i remember debating does mother teresa spend her life eating the board because it is moral or because she enjoys the praise she gets for doing it? >> a mixture of motives. fairly well dash very few purely good people but to have the information to find a way to the public regardless of the motivation >>. >> thank you for everything you have done. >> it is unlikely the government will take on any form of those abuses ever paul -- policies it is not
moving forward on legislation that addresses only one of the of policies and legislation that has ben watered down already is effective. for real protection civil liberties is that left up to individuals set up private e-mail or can howl they do about with the undue scrutiny? >> that is the great question. i agree completely of the different ways like where the change is likely to occur and what happens in that big white building a few blocks from here is relevant and the least promising because the recent history with the government attempts to do and when it
is unsuccessful they have to engage in a ritual of symbolic reform that smell and looks like reform usually designed to ensure it continues strong girth and never. that is what they're almost certain to be. by the time etiquette's duse's say protective hands of dianne feinstein turns into the opposite. even though some things might happen there are lots of other ways that it can. country's standing together to undermine hegemony but the panic and the feeder of the impact of the revelations of the future business prospects based on the idea that korean companies can say don't put
your emails with google because they turn it over to the nsa is important. [applause] and ultimately exactly what you said not just individuals realizing privacy has been compromised with encryption it is also the traces we all have especially people your age and younger people have career choice says. that nsa needs help yob highly adept people at programming and cryptography to work on their system with a corporate partner or other silicon valley companies need them to operate those systems and then this other side where there are companies that produce a privacy tools or social activism and you may not make as much money but that
is the choice we can make. the last point to underscore that committee is remarkable is kgb mill that can protect your anonymity and they work there is all sorts of documents and the staples is there out with the inability to invade the communication. they scour the internet looking for people to our using pcp to protect e-mail because they regard anybody that uses that e-mail as inherently suspicious. on the grounds if they keep them away from our eyes they are bad people. the reason that works you could be targeted because so few people use it to. but as millions start to use it instead of tens or hundreds of thousands end it
is the default it will become impossible because of the sheer quantity for that and essayed to target people that will severely undermine their ability to invade these technologies as encryption really does work. if people begin using encryption that is the major blow against the ubiquitous surveillance. [applause] >> unfortunately we are running short on time so we can take four brief questions. >> you said before elizabeth warren for example, who could enter would have to conform to a system that forces them to sell out with the influences to prefer their original populist message those who call them
president show candidates promising reform. baez i.m. curious to individuals such as dome chomsky question those to address the problems given the of love of of pervasive a between them and they in ability with any politician or any branch of government to affect change on its own. i would also like to say to any fbi agents here to contribute to a great cause. [laughter] >> i don't think i am quite that grim about of prospect to affect some kind of positive change if elected day are inherent like elizabeth ward when she gets to washington where she
wants to have the other democrats to make compromises are trade-offs but having someone like russ feingold to have hearings on issues even though every bill they he proposes fails is a real benefit to those working outside of the benefit was to have elizabeth warren growth regulators over oversight and going after to meet these people i don't want to overstate the use i am glad there is the elizabeth warren or russ feingold but i don't think any kind of meaningful change well even come from primarily within the of corrupted system from
those of us who are not in it to take action and then it will be next to a name in order for it to happen. [applause] >> and the only way for information i am curious with those said they have not been doing what a jury's thinking as a reasonable defense with this information? >> are there things they could attack you with it effectively? [laughter] i said earlier there is a really interesting debate that is critical that snowden has done and others have done the reporting the story that the disclosures
we have made has been too slow, too fragmented or piecemeal or incomplete and there should be much more disclosure. i have a lot of respect for those opinions i don't agree with them i shared some of those but i will give you an example. i was doing the pds and news hour debate in the the interview were said to want to ask about a critique romney/ryan from the left i thought she will ask -- actually asked me? i was excited from their right that you are responsible for the dead bodies nobody knows where they are. then that critique from the left was of a column in the "washington post" of my book
from a critic of civil liberties that was the same critique which was i had to engaged in irresponsible disclosures the actual critique from the left is completely excluded as usual. there are real critiques around the disclosure but those that get heard are almost invalid because that is what they deserve. [applause] >> thank you for everything you have done. i do have the adversarial question. do you have a response to the critics you are using the documents for your personal gain between that
and traditional as a journalist the justice department believes even if you are a journalist. the protection and that you have called the constitution that in the very first amendment so if you are acting journalistically it means you can invoke those protections to block your prosecution by the government even though you disseminate top-secret governments so how do you make sure you're acting journalistically and now not a source for a distributor?
and to do the reporting and with a spanish journalist had to enter into contracts before to say they've hired me as a freelance journalist to do reporting because the eyes simply gave them the documents the justice department would say have no long for a journalist now a distributor and a source i am handing them around for free because the truth is they get paid and i did it for free. the same with the block. because they fit into the context you can only get so many stories published in each outlet because they go through is of long editorial process. that is one way to get more stories out to. i could publish the
documents in the books then sells the book and had everybody say you charge money for access to classified documents which is selling top-secret material which is cesspit dies or what we did which is on the very day of the release be uploaded to a the internet every single document in the books everybody can look for free then he faced with criticism now you exploit the documents and generate publicity for the book is a lose/lose proposition. i don't think any apology at all for having written the book. i want to maximize every platform i have to go around the world to talk why these policies are so dangerous urging people to protect their privacy to talk about the reason. was just announced today
sony pictures purchase the book to make a film. i am thrilled. [applause] when i was growing up i was obsessed and it reached me about journalism in a way i probably would not have been reached and i think the film and the book will reach people in all sorts of ways that otherwise wouldn't i would be independently wealthy to spend five months to pour my heart and soul into a book without getting paid for making a living like every journalist from nome chomsky to everyone else you need to get paid like everybody else i don't make any apologies. my duty to my source is to bring the message he wanted to bring to the world as effectively as i can to write stories and go to the media into do films is important ways for me to do that. that is what i intend to keep doing. thank you.
the other thing to keep in mind is i've noted one thing happen when people real a's the vastness of the information we were given, there was almost this expectation we have, like, the holy grail to solve all injustices, all of the files of the u.s. government in our possession so every person who cared about any injustice would e-mail me, say i demand you release documents about injustice x, which assumes we have them. if every single -- let me say this about your question. every single document in the archive that reveals abusive or improper surveillance, or surveillance done for political ends or done in a way that is different from how the u.s. government has been claiming it has been done, will be published, whether be my or somebody else.
that's the promise i make to you. >> are you working with bartn goalman? he talked about how there's more information coming. >> it's been a good, healthier competition. kind of fuels each of us. so, i'm not talking to barton gelman but i hope and expect he'll continue to do the reporting he has been doing because it's good. thank you, everybody. really appreciate it. [applause] >> thank you for joining us and your thoughtful question. we will now have the book signing. additional books are for sale in the lobby. [inaudible conversations]