When he went to work for the nation’s spy agencies, “I believed in the goodness of what we were doing” and in the “nobility of our intentions to free oppressed people overseas,” says the so-called NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, in a month-old video posted online Monday by The Guardian.
But in the recording, which appears to be an effort to show Snowden explaining his motivation for spilling secrets about National Security Agency surveillance programs, he goes on to say that the nation’s leaders are “misleading the public and misleading all publics in order to create a certain mindset in the global consciousness.”
“The structures that exist,” Snowden says in an apparent reference to U.S. power structures, are “working to their own ends to extend their capabilities at the expense of the freedom of all publics.”
Snowden says on the video that the NSA “doesn’t limit itself to foreign intelligence … it collects all communications that transit the United States.”
While not offering specifics, President Obama and his national security team have told Americans that surveillance programs are aimed at foreign communications and that the contents of Americans’ phone calls and Internet exchanges are not monitored.
The Guardian and The Washington Post broke stories early in June about materials leaked by Snowden that revealed details of NSA programs that sweep up information about phone calls and Internet activity. Since then, other revelations have followed — including word that the NSA has spied on representatives of the European Union.
Snowden, who was in Hong Kong when he taped the interview with the Guardian, has since flow to Moscow. For the past two weeks, he’s thought to have been in the transit zone of the airport there. Snowden is seeking asylum in another nation. Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have offered him safe haven. But it’s not clear if he can get to any of those nations. Meanwhile, the U.S. is seeking to prosecute him.