Russia "probably did hack the systems" of the Democratic Party," but proof has never been proffered because there were likely a half dozen other attackers, too, Edward Snowden said in an extensive interview with Der Spiegel.
And the revelation of there being a host of attackers on the Democratic National Committee would pour cold water on the Russia narrative, Snowden said in a Q&A.
The Russians "probably did hack the systems of Hillary Clinton's Democratic Party, but we should have proof of that. In the case of the hacking attack on Sony, the FBI presented evidence that North Korea was behind it. In this case they didn't, although I am convinced that they do have evidence," Snowden told Der Spiegel.
"I think the NSA almost certainly saw who the intruders were . . . but I am also convinced that they saw a lot of other attackers on there, too. There were probably six or seven groups. The Democratic National Committee . . . refused to provide these servers to the FBI, which is really weird. So, I think the reality here was it was narrative-shaping about the Russians," Snowden said.
Snowden, the former CIA employee and contractor with the National Security Agency turned whistleblower turned public enemy No. 1 in the United States, has been outcast and threatened with arrest since leaking thousands of highly classified NSA documents in 2013.
Snowden told Der Spiegel he is a "lawful permanent resident" of Russia but "absolutely" hopes to return to the U.S. someday.
"There is still hope for the future, even for me," he said.
Regardless, Snowden said it was all worth it.
"Look at what my goals were. I wasn't trying to change the laws or slow down the machine," Snowden told Der Spiegel. "I know those people and I still have some faith in them, that the services can be reformed.
"My personal battle was not to burn down the NSA or the CIA. I even think they actually do have a useful role in society when they limit themselves to the truly important threats that we face and when they use their least intrusive means. We don't drop atomic bombs on flies that land on the dinner table. Everybody gets this except intelligence agencies," Snowden said.
"We don't have any proof that these mass surveillance programs are stopping terrorist attacks. But if you can't show us that cells have been uncovered thanks to these measures, and yet you say these are absolutely necessary, why is that? Because they are super interesting for other areas of spying," Snowden said.
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