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Snowden Criticizes Russian Surveillance of Citizens

Snowden Criticizes Russian Surveillance of Citizens

 Edward Snowden (File photo)

By    |   Saturday, 10 September 2016 09:20 PM EDT

Former NSA contractor and spy-secrets leaker Edward Snowden says government surveillance of private citizens has worsened around the globe – including in Russia, where he's been living for three years.

In an interview with the Financial Times, the former NSA contractor complains Russia has "gone very far, in ways that are completely unnecessary, costly and corrosive to individual and collective rights" of its citizens.

"The laws have gotten worse in some countries," he tells FT. "France has gone very far, so too, of course, countries like Russia, China. In Britain there’s an authoritarian trend."

Snowden has unapologetically tweeted his criticism of Russia's policies under President Vladimir Putin — especially the passage of legislation that gives the Kremlin broad powers in the name of national security, FT reports.

"A lot of people who care about me tell me to shut up, but if I was married to my own self-interest, I never would have left Hawaii," he tells FT.

"I can’t fix the human rights situation in Russia, and realistically my priority is to fix my own country first, because that’s the one to which I owe the greatest loyalty. But though the chances are it will make no difference, maybe it’ll help."

Snowden has been living in Russia since 2013, granted asylum after he fled the United States and provided journalists with a cache of documents detailing the NSA and international intelligence community’s surveillance operations.

Ben Wizner, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents Snowden in the United States, is working on a petition for a presidential pardon this fall, The New York Times reports. 

"Of course I hope they’re successful but this has never really been about what happens to me," Snowden tells FT. "No matter how the outcome shakes out, it’s something I can live with."

His chances of a pardon under a President Donald Trump "would be zero," FT reports, and when asked about prospects from a President Hillary Clinton, Snowden replies: "You’re trying to drag me into a political quagmire."

"I think we should have better choices," he tells FT. "We’re a country of 330m people and we seem to be being asked to make a choice between individuals whose lives are defined by scandal. I simply think we should be capable of more."

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Former NSA contractor and spy-secrets leaker Edward Snowden says government surveillance of private citizens has worsened around the globe - including in Russia, where he's been living for three years.In an interview with the Financial Times, the former NSA contractor...
Snowden, Russia, surveillance
381
2016-20-10
Saturday, 10 September 2016 09:20 PM
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