National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden says he's not all that worried about the United States sentencing him to Guantanamo Bay, but he does not believe he will be able to get a fair trial.
"If I end up in chains in Guantanamo, I can live with that," Snowden said during an extensive and revealing interview from Moscow with The Guardian
The former CIA computer expert, who is wanted by the United States under the Espionage Act after he leaked tens of thousands of top secret documents about the NSA's surveillance practices, gave the newspaper that first leaked the items a seven-hour interview, a portion of which was released on Thursday.
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"I'm much happier here in Russia than I would be facing an unfair trial," said Snowden. "I've been very fortunate to receive asylum."
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Meanwhile, Snowden says in the interview that he urges professionals such as lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests, and others to upgrade their security in the wake of his revelations.
Professionals are failing in their obligations, Snowden said, when they don't protect their security measures.
"What last year's revelations showed us was irrefutable evidence that unencrypted communications on the Internet are no longer safe. Any communications should be encrypted by default," he said.
Snowden also during the interview gave glimpses into his daily life in Russia, denying reports that he is depressed and saying he has no regrets about leaking the NSA information.
But he also rejected conspiracy theories that claim he's a Russian spy.
"If the government had the tiniest shred of evidence ... it would be on the front page of The New York Times by lunch time," Snowden said.
However, he refused to speak Russian during the interview, joking that the "last thing" he needed was a video clip of him speaking another language.
Snowden told the interviewer that he does not work for a Russian organization, but he's independently secure and lives on his savings and on money from awards and speeches he delivers online around the world.
Meanwhile, Snowden said he is holding out for a jury trial in the United States instead of one before a judge only, in hopes that it would be difficult to find 12 jurors who would convict him.
But until that happens, he said he's likely to remain in Russia, where he knows he's likely being kept under surveillance. He says that like when he was in the United States, he often works online until the late hours of the night, and is using that time to work on designing encryption tools to help professionals protect their data.
Snowden says he's negotiating foundation funding for his project, which he insists would help protect journalists.
"An unfortunate side effect of the development of all these new surveillance technologies is that the work of journalism has become immeasurably harder than it ever has been in the past," said Snowden.
"Journalists have to be particularly conscious about any sort of network signaling, any sort of connection, any sort of license-plate reading device that they pass on their way to a meeting point, any place they use their credit card, any place they take their phone, any email contact they have with the source because that very first contact, before encrypted communications are established, is enough to give it all away," said Snowden.
Such tools could also protect people who have faith that their communications are safe when they communicate with their priests, he said.
"If we confess something to our priest inside a church that would be private, but is it any
different if we send our pastor a private email confessing a crisis that we have in our life?" said Snowden.
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