by Julia Davis Edward Snowden set the world ablaze with revelations of overreaching surveillance, conducted by the American government against its own citizens. The excuse of “national security” often allows powers-that-be to avoid public scrutiny, effectively ending the discussion. However, in this scenario people feel personally violated and the debate is unlikely to cease anytime soon.
On Monday, readers of The Guardian had an opportunity to participate in an online chat with Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who exposed details of domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). Questions submitted by readers included several that were hotly debated on cable news shows over the past week.
For the first time since Edward Snowden exposed details of NSA surveillance, three former NSA officials–Thomas Drake, William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe–appeared together for a USA Today interview.
They say the documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old former NSA contractor who worked as a systems administrator, proves their claims of sweeping government surveillance of millions of Americans not suspected of any wrongdoing. They say those revelations only hint at the programs’ reach.
Famed British spy novelist David Cornwell, who writes under the nom de plume John le Carré, is well-acquainted with his subject matter. He worked for MI5 and later for MI6 until his covert identity was compromised, bringing his spy career to an end in 1964. He seems a natural ally of the frenzied bureaucrats calling for Edward Snowden’s head. But, in a piece he wrote for The Guardian, Cornwell slammed the British and UK governments for allowing intelligence agencies to secretly run the show and erode democracy.