"I love my country. I feel like a patriot," Edward Snowden tells Wired in a wide-ranging and lengthy interview for the September issue, which features an already-controversial cover image of the NSA whistleblower wrapped in an American flag, notes Today. Other highlights from the interview, conducted over the course of several weeks in Moscow:
- The takeaway quote: "I care more about the country than what happens to me. But we can't allow the law to become a political weapon or agree to scare people away from standing up for their rights."
- What finally made Snowden blow that whistle: A top intelligence official's testimony that the agency does "not wittingly" gather intel on US citizens. "It's like the boiling frog," he says. "You get exposed to a little bit of evil … a little bit of dishonesty … and you come to justify it. But if you do that … by the time you've been in 25 years, you've seen it all and it doesn't shock you."
- He wanted Uncle Sam to know what documents he lifted: Snowden says he left a "trail of digital bread crumbs" so the feds would know he wasn't a spy for foreign entities. He says the NSA "missed those clues."
- The US is deathly afraid of what's in the NSA docs: "I think they think there's a smoking gun in there that would be the death of them all politically," he says. "[In] their damage assessment they must have seen something that was like, ‘Holy s---.'"
- The NSA is still deeply flawed: It "still [hasn't] fixed [its] problems. … 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?"
- The solution that will end mass surveillance: "By basically adopting changes like making encryption a universal standard—where all communications are encrypted by default—we can end mass surveillance not just in the United States but around the world."
- He says the public has 'NSA fatigue': We've been desensitized to any new news about mass surveillance.
- He's lying low: Snowden hopes to spend at least the next three years undetected by US officials. When he's out in public and Russian locals recognize him, Snowden says he puts a finger to his lips and says, "Shh."
Click for the entire interview