Although Edward Snowden supporters—myself included—may lament the lackluster support received last night at the first Democratic presidential debate on CNN, the fact the candidates discussed Snowden and the NSA programs was a victory for proponents of Snowden’s principles.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:
“He stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into the wrong hands, so I don’t think he should be brought home without facing the music.”
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley told the Las Vegas audience:
“He put a lot of Americans’ lives at risk. Snowden broke the law. Whistleblowers do not run to Russia and try to get protection from Putin.”
The arms of the Democratic candidates were not stretched wide-open to welcome Snowden back to the United States (video via Politico here).
However, Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA and other government programs in order to bring awareness to the issue of government surveillance and privacy in the 21st century. Even though a warm embrace for Snowden would have been music to the ears of many supporters, Snowden’s message is still resonating with America years later.
And that is a sign of success.
The Edward Snowden-inspired Citizenfour took home “Best Documentary” honors at the Oscars on Feb. 22. Citizenfour, which was originally only shown in limited cities, details the high-risk exposure of the NSA and government surveillance by whistleblower Edward Snowden and how the revelations ignited a national conversation about privacy.
Director Laura Poitras, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills accepted the award. In her emotional acceptance speech, Poitras reiterated the message of Citizenfour:
“The disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself. When the most important decisions being made, affecting all of us, are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control. Thank you to Edward Snowden, for his courage, and for the many other whistleblowers. I share this with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who are exposing truth.”
I recommend Citizenfour to those interested in learning more about Snowden and the process behind the sharing of his discoveries with the world. Below is the official trailer for Citizenfour followed by a Q&A with Director Laura Poitras by the Film Society of Lincoln Center:
Besides Citizenfour, Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place To Hide is another exceptional account of Snowden’s journey. No Place To Hide also provides specific details and technical aspects of the various NSA programs exposed by Snowden. Below is a Ted Talk on privacy by Greenwald: