I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.
Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.
There can be no faith in government if our highest offices are excused from scrutiny - they should be setting the example of transparency.
I do agree that when it comes to cyber warfare, we have more to lose than any other nation on earth.
They still have negligent auditing, they still have things going for a walk, and they have no idea where they're coming from, and they have no idea where they're going. And if that's the case, how can we, as the public, trust the NSA with all of our information, with all of our private records, the permanent record of our lives?
Even though we may focus first on the rights of our own country, that does not mean that we should disregard the rights of everyone else.
Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him... the better off we all are.
A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama's promises.
I never chose to be in Russia, and I would prefer to be in my own country, but if I can't make it home, I will continue to work very much in the same way that I have... What happens to me is not as important; I simply serve as the mechanism of disclosure.
I support a guaranteed basic income. I think we should take care of sick people. I believe women can make their own choices and that the government is at its best when it's building bridges instead of bombs.
It's been vindicating to see the reaction from lawmakers, judges, public bodies around the world, civil liberties activists who have said it's true that we have a right to at least know the broad outlines of what our government's doing in our name and what it's doing against us.
The public interest is not always the same as the national interest. Going to war with people who are not our enemy in places that are not a threat doesn't make us safe, and that applies whether it's in Iraq or on the Internet. The Internet is not the enemy. Our economy is not the enemy.
If an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc analyst has access to query raw SIGINT databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want. Phone number, email, user id, cell phone handset id (IMEI), and so on - it's all the same.
Perhaps I am naive, but I believe that at this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents.
I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression.
It's important that we elevate and primarily focus on the rights of American citizens, but it's also important that we don't forget, 95 percent of the world's population lives beyond our own borders.
The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.
All I can say right now is the U.S. government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.
Being a patriot doesn't mean prioritizing service to government above all else. Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen, from the violations of and encroachments of adversaries. And those adversaries don't have to be foreign countries.
After 9/11, many of the most important news outlets in America abdicated their role as a check to power - the journalistic responsibility to challenge the excesses of government - for fear of being seen as unpatriotic and punished in the market during a period of heightened nationalism.
We're losing our way as a society. If we don't stand up, if we don't say what we think those rights should be, and if we don't protect them, we will very soon find out that we do not have them.
What we've seen over the last decade is we've seen a departure from the traditional work of the National Security Agency. They've become sort of the national hacking agency, the national surveillance agency. And they've lost sight of the fact that everything they do is supposed to make us more secure as a nation and a society.
When people say, 'Why don't you face the music?' I say, 'You have to understand the music is not an open court and a fair trial.'
My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.
That's the beauty of the Internet is that we're no longer tied to our communities by physical connections.
What does that mean for a society, for a democracy, when the people that you elect on the basis of promises can basically suborn the will of the electorate?
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.
I did not seek to sell U.S. secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.
Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you are being watched and recorded.
What the government wants is something they never had before. They want total awareness. The question is, is that something we should be allowing?
When you use any kind of internet-based capability, any kind of electronic capability, to cause damage to a private entity or a foreign nation or a foreign actor, these are potential acts of war.
Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.
Every person remembers some moment in their life where they witnessed some injustice, big or small, and looked away because the consequences of intervening seemed too intimidating. But there's a limit to the amount of incivility and inequality and inhumanity that each individual can tolerate. I crossed that line. And I'm no longer alone.
The NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America.
The NSA has the greatest surveillance capabilities in American history... The real problem is that they're using these capabilities to make us vulnerable.
For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished. I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.
I think it's important to remember that people don't set their lives on fire. They don't walk away from their extraordinarily, extraordinarily comfortable lives ... for no reason.
You could watch entire villages and see what everyone was doing. I watched NSA tracking people's Internet activities as they typed. I became aware of just how invasive U.S. surveillance capabilities had become. I realized the true breadth of this system. And almost nobody knew it was happening.
If I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.
Congress hasn't declared war on the countries - the majority of them are our allies - but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we're not even fighting?
When you are subverting the power of government, that's a fundamentally dangerous thing to democracy.
When you are in positions of privileged access... you see things that may be disturbing. Over time, that awareness of wrongdoing sort of builds up.
No system of mass surveillance has existed in any society that we know of to this point that has not been abused.