tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 4, 2014 6:30pm-8:01pm EST
does not care of all they care the stories that they are spying on but they don't care that they spy on others around the world but might exhortations were thwarted it was a huge story in canada that led the nightly news for our five consecutive nights a was day least four interviews to help them do further reporting and a lot of them did. i was very surprised at how much that story resonated. i spoke to a couple of canadian journalists that i know well and i asked why is this so big in canada? they said it shows why that number one there were a ton of canadians who did not even know there was such a
neat -- agency called. . . -- csec they did not know was engaged in this electronics surveillance but canadians did not know that it was engaging in this type of activity. second and this is even more meaningful, this old perception and canadians have nationally is a completely at odds with what the story revealed. is essentially the idea is that they say we are canadians we don't do that kind of thing worse by on democratically elected friendly governments for an unfair economic advantage. both of those points are profoundly significant. think of the agency called
csec throughout the world in cages and consequential behavior which the very distance has been kept from canadians. think about what that means for the claim that we live in a meaningful democracy. whenever people ask me what is the most meaningful revelation and you have discovered? i say obviously the threat to privacy the vast amount of communications is significant but even more than that is the threats posed to democracy it is stunning have instituted a system as consequential as profound far reaching implications as a system of mass surveillance without a
with of disclosure or debates and this is one of the most significant things that we did it did not get a lot of attention compared to the others but essentially it was about a magazine that the nsa publishes internally. a top-secret so it is really creepy they boast of the ways they haven't faded other people's communication with profiles of the technological laggard who can break into somebody's e-mail account. like snoop of the week. [laughter] :and the issues in this noted archives they do interviews with a top
official in charge of four partnerships to manage with the csec in canada and every other agency with which the nsa cooperates. they said there is an incredibly strange phenomenon that these other countries we have wild swings. sometimes conservatives win sometimes it is liberals have the far left and it makes no difference nothing ever changes our partnerships continues as strong a matter who wins or loses the election. why is that? one of the fascinating things is that you encounter this thing which is
government officials actually tell the truth because they did not ever think anybody would know what their answer was. what they said was significant because the reason these partnerships never change based on the outcomes of the elections there is almost nobody outside of a the military structure of the country's that even knows these partnerships exist that they have no idea and never third about the existence and they cannot change them because they don't know about them. over and over of the countries i have reported i had top officials say to me i was responsible for overseeing his agency and yet i've learned so much more from reading your
articles that were published than i ever earned from the oversight committee on which i sat. it is almost like the state within a state. it has been completely removed from democratic reliability or transparency of any kind and writing about csec really underscore that. think of how little we have learned about one of the most profoundly consequential programs that our government implemented and how to do when of a democracy how meaningful is that we have no idea what it is all those policies implemented in the name of terrorism that existed behind the wall of secrecy in implications for democracy are incredibly
profound to understand what our government is doing. that leads to the other reason. but actually it was true that canadians reacted to this story because it was inconsistent with their self perception. obviously that was wrong. canadians do do that sort of thing and the documents show that they did that. so the reality of what our government is doing on the one hand is inconsistent with the perceptions we have about our government on the other is another way to say the citizenry has ben propaganda led to believe pleasant things about their government that is indifferent to use the reality in this is the crux
of the entire pro's 9/11 era so i want to spend time talking about that more in depth. i remember vividly the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack. days and weeks after perot was in manhattan on 9/11 and i lived and worked there 10 years so i recall that experience is still recalled it very clearly. the prevailing emotion that was triggered by the 9/11 attacks and the immediate aftermath lot down the road once the government began was not one of danger or vengeance or sadness. the immediate prevailing emotion was shocked and surprised. the question on almost every betty's mind is why would
somebody possibly want to do this to the united states? why would someone had such hatred for america that they're willing to blow themselves up to kill as many people indiscriminately? what causes could have led them to that mindset? bennett was said genuine question that they did not understand the answer. the u.s. government knew it had to provide an answer because everybody knew there was some reason it was not random the group responsible did not fit the names of the country's into a hat and happened to pick out the united states. the government knew it had to ride an explanation. body provided it is now that 12 years later we can let
gatt believe at the time and not because of anything we have done. the reverse so afraid that they hate us for the freedom. that was a genuine answer with a straight face of u.s. government and the media delivered to the population. what is so extraordinary to look back at that it was not difficult at all to find out the reason. there was a long list of grievances that not only the group that perpetrated the attack but a huge part of the muslim world had been openly discussing for many years. you could have gone and read
newspapers or looked at muslim countries or talk to somebody or seek out any of that dialogue and they're all very clear and embedded into the culture not just u.s. putting troops on a whole the soil and saudi arabia but imposing that sanctions regime or overthrowing a democratically elected leaders such as the ones that ruled egypt and still rule saudi arabia for support the country of israel as it engages and violence against its neighbors. the list of grievances was fully aired in that part of the world but yet remarkably america to not just reject that validity that it did
not justify the attack but literally were unaware of the existence of that dialogue they had though ideas the government was even doing these things. that is stunning back for so long critical parts was simply suppressed with u.s. discourse that the americans literally did not vote -- no the existence. if you look at polling data and other surveys the muslim world verses the western world shorthand for muslim countries you find radical difference is how people think about things verses how we think about things and we tell ourselves they don't have the free press and they are misled and it
is propaganda. polling data shows if you ask people in that part of the world which countries are the greatest threat to world peace they don't sarah ran or china or russia but overwhelmingly the greatest is to countries and israel. so sometimes it is the perspective in that part of the world but sometimes it explains what we are it is critical nobody likes to think of themselves living in a society that is propagandized. but to demonstrate how this works is narrow but very powerful is one that happened in 2009 and iranian
journalist was detained while in iran doing journalism works and the iranian government said they arrested her because they suspected she was a spy issue was there three months and tell the court ordered her release that there was no evidence and during that three months her case was one of the most celebrated cases in america us media circles people would go on every day to say free her and demand all the outrage let's dash iran a of a country that is so tyrannical the imprisoned journalist there is indignation in whole or over what they had done and then a few months later to victory in journalist to
release them huge amounts of attention paid and anger and indignation. but at the same exact time that that was happening the united states government has been imprisoning over two dozen journalists as part of the war on terror including the case of cme who was algeciras of photojournalist who was arrested and detained by the u.s. government as he was crossing into the border of afghanistan to cover the war for outages sarah. -- algeciras. then taken to guantanamo where he remains the next six years without being charged without crime no due process in tigert --
interrogated about his work for glenn greenwald and nothing about terrorism or al qaeda. the reason this is so amazing his name was almost never mentioned to this day americans have no idea the government imprisoned two dozen journalists were kept a folk group -- photojournalist and present six years without a trial. i looked at the word to find the number of mentions during the three months period since she was detained there was 8,000 dimensions if you search the name for the seven years the journalist was kept in guantanamo it is less than
100 americans have no idea who he is. in the muslim world cme is a huge celebrity it is major headline news. people though it is not just iran and north korea that imprisons journalist but also the united states it is us that we have been kept and this disparity between what the government is doing and what we are aware of this central to what has gone wrong in the post net 11 era. and this is the backdrop was the main impetus and i remember the moment i decided i had to write about this.
i was reading a newspaper account and simultaneously watching a canadian television program. the theme of both was the same that people are stunned this kind of violence could take place in such a peaceful community where it took place. i remember thinking it is appealing it is true it is relatively peaceful and did you walk around canada it seems like a peaceful country and it is when you walk on canadian soil. that is true. but what isn't is a foreign policy of canada is peaceful and is not peacefully it is
not said judge mentally or under annunciation. [laughter] i say that as a little observation. i have seen americans to speak to canadians play at the stereotypes to flatter the canadian that our government is we're like the bush administration we wish we could be more like you. but just from the obama administration alone this to me is one of the most extraordinary thing is that i have heard. in the last six years just under obama who won the 2009 peace prize the united states has dropped bombs on seven different muslim countries in addition to the muslim minority in the
philippines that is eight countries that have been bombed says the 2009 inauguration of the nobel peace prize winner canada refrains from the american aggression large leaded not entirely from participating in the war in iraq but it is the steadfast ally and partner with militarism and violence a obama campaign of libya and now the canadian press itself calls the new war in iraq that has spilled over into syria. you may have views about those policies and may believe they are terrible acts of nation building generosity. maybe they are. but there is a huge part of
the world their regards those much differently as sacks of aggression they see innocent children who are killed continuously by those policies on top of which of surveillance or rendition to pick up people from around of world to be tortured you cannot be a country that lets your government engaged in militarism and violence and that radicalism and aggression in multiple countries around the world and simultaneously have the expectation that there will never be violence brought back to the country perpetrating that. is not a radical left-wing doctrine that i invented the
concept of pullback it -- below back is if the government in gauges of military action may be not justifiable but inevitable violence will be brought back to that country there is a remarkable 2004 report commissioned by the george bush pentagon run by donald rumsfeld given to the defense task force and the questioned the past what old delhi was the cause of terrorism where there's so many people in the overall to do violence in the united states? go online to read it. it is self-evident. the report concluded the key causes of terrorism aimed at
americans '' american direct intervention in the muslim world. and then identified three policies. number one. support for the region's worst tyrant's giving economic aid and drowning in the regime's weapons. number two steadfast support for israel to enable all sorts of aggression. number three. actual wars and occupations with the invasion of afghanistan and canada plays of role but this is not me but an actual quotation repudiated the government's statement to its own citizenry wide terrorism happened. muslims do not hate our
freedom but rather they hate our policies. it is so tempting to see ourselves as victims as pure and innocent victims'. we all want to use your cells that way to a visitor cells the many responsibilities or culpability. it is tempting to use day when our societies are attacked the reason is because there is the extremist religion and the world that is unbearable a fateful -- hateful that they just want to do violence for its own sake and that simply is not the case. it is our responsibility as citizens and as journalists to make certain the dialogue is not comfortable or flattering. the goal should be as rational as possible so we are not susceptible to
manipulation. so chock about the events of this weekend this is uncomfortable but it is the sign it is worth talking about. i have spent three or four days watching footage of the family members of the two soldiers that were killed i have learned their names and life aspirations i have seen their parents grieving on the screen it is incredibly horrific and terrific to watch but the thing that i find significant and what we should be focused on over
the past 12 years my government especially has done all kinds of things that resulted and the horrific death of innocent people throughout the world. thousands of children and women and innocent men. i would bet almost anything over 99-point 9% of americans and canadians are completely incapable of identifying the names of a single one of those victims'. we know nothing about the life faster version of the people of our government whose lives they end. they literally disappeared from public discourse. we care more and pay more attention with our neighbor down the street is killed in a car accident and someone 1,000 miles away.
that is natural human interaction. the public policy is a dangerous thing to have that one-sided perspective on the world and that leads us to believe there is an ideology out there that kills innocent people and the most terrific and tragic ways we are nothing more than innocent victims that are the bystanders because we allow ourselves to suppress the implications of what caused it. the reason for me it is so important to talk about these things is that we become more susceptible to the fear mongering the canadian government has a engaged in to manipulate our emotions to greater police
powers that the conservatives in parliament when to introduce a bill to criminalize anything that is perceived as legitimizing terrorist attacks. although i did not say it people falsely claimed that i did that i legitimized the attack. but when we don't face the reality of water on governments to. but the more important reason to confront the fact it is easy to look back at past generations and the reasons why they made evil choices it is extremely
difficult to do that for ourselves but it it is worth trying to imagine with what it is we're doing and it is undoubtedly true that future generations will look back at the united states to say in the wake of 9/11 to embark upon a path of end of this war. with this approach that guarantees not l longer war but one that has no end. . .
and i think there are two critical points in terms of that process. one is that the mere existence of a successful attack is not evidence that government policy was flawed the mere existence of a terrorism attack does not show that the government should change its policy. you could have the most perfect government policy, the perfect celebration of privacy and security for freedom and security and still have terrorist attacks you cannot have a society in which absolute safety is the goal. it is not achievable, and trying to achieve it will
create so many worse arms then the failure to have it in the first place. we allow that all the time. and we see a fatal car accident we do not start immediately demanding that our government lowered the speed limit or change its policies. we accept that in exchange for the benefits of having automobiles we're going to have the risk of death, and sometimes people are going to die. it is intrinsic to the process, unavoidable, and cannot be solved. we do not demand the speed limit be reduced to three miles-per-hour in order to evade fatalities. we should be thinking this way about terrorism. even after this week, even if there are weeks and weeks more of weeks like this one in the year or two ahead, if you are a canadian citizen, if you are a canadian, you have a greater chance of dying by slipping in the bathtub and hitting your head of a cement or getting
struck by lightning than you do of dying in a terrorist attack. that is just factually the case. and yet, we have allowed this word terrorism to take on such profound meaning that right before our eyes government dismantle the core protections, defining attributes the west and justice in order to keep us safe. i think it is critically important not to to reflexively act that way every time there is an attack. the last point i want to leave you with is this word terrorism itself because in all of the things that i have written about over the last ten years, every single issue from torture to indefinite detention to killing people who use names you don't even know was drones to massive government secrecies to all kinds of pervasive mass surveillance, the government and its defenders use one word over and over to justify everything that they do, the
word terrorism. the utter the word and expect, often reasonably, that it will end the debate in their favor. it is the most come sequential word in our political vocabulary. and what is amazing about that fact is it is simultaneously a word that does not have any fixed meeting. you cannot provide any definition of terrorism that will then lead to a consistent application. you cannot find scholars who can give you the definition of what that word means. their is a famous supreme court case where the supreme court justices grappled over the word obscenity because pornography in the united states is legal, but obscenity isn't. the supreme court justices had to define obscenity, when does something cross the line from pornography to obscenity. the supreme court justice famously said kamal i can say about obscenity is, i cannot define it, but i know it when i see it, which is a really kind of alarming way
for our first amendment freedoms to be defined based upon this sensation in your stomach about what this phenomenon is. that is the same weight terrorism has talked about. the incident in quebec according to the government's own version of events, the perpetrator of that crime waited for two hours in his car in order to find a soldier in uniform and attack and soldier. now, whatever terrorism means -- and it is impossible to define -- but the one common usage it typically has is requires the deliberate targeting of civilians with violence for political ends, and yet here is somebody who seems to have deliberately avoided targeting civilians and targeted a soldier instead, clearly illegal and unjustified, not a soldier deployed in war, but in what sense is that terrorism?
coor's someone like the ottawa shooter who seems to be driven by a mental instability rather than political ideology. i think what this shows is, the word terrorism, as significant as it has become, really has no meaning other than violence engaged in by muslims against the west. it is really just a term to legitimize the kind of violence that we do ourselves and to delegitimize the violence that is used against us, and when you think about it in that way, it should have far different consequences than it has now won eight comes to be applied without anybody really thinking about what it is. that point i just want to leave you with the league, it is not quite about the events this week directly. it is actually about the last year-and-a-half of work
have been able to do with edward snowden. i just want to share with you one particular lesson that i learned from the last year-and-a-half that i try and impart to everybody wherever i go and whatever i am speaking about. for me it was april -- profound lesson. when i first talked to edward snowden, the very first conversation i had with him was on line, and i knew nothing about him, his name, age, i did not even know in which agency worked, but what i did know is that he had claimed to have an enormous amount of extremely sensitive material from the most secretive agency of the world's most powerful government and that he wants to give it to me. and usually when you have somebody who comes forward, even with a tiny fraction of what he had, to give you information the losses they are not allowed to give you, they want to hide, the protected, remain anonymous because they fear the consequences.
edward snowden said -- edward snowden said exactly the opposite. i don't want to or intend to hide. i intend, once i give you this material, to come forward to the world and publicly identify myself as the source and to explain to the worldwide it is that i did what i did and to explain my reasoning and motives of why i think it is the right thing to do. he said, i do think it is the right thing to do and therefore do not feel a need to hide. and when i got to hong kong, remember before i got there and had this mental image of what he is like. i am sure you have all had that experience. when you interact with someone on the internet each developed a mental image. i get to hong kong, and there is this kid, you know, 29, six years younger, he looked like any kind of computer geeks that wanders the mall or is in a college laboratory. and i spent a lot of time
with them trying to understand the motive for why he would want to upper his life to come forward knowing that it would mean he would go to prison for the rest of his life. and what i finally understood about those motives was that he had discovered something that he believed was a profound injustice, and he knew that he had the ability to do something about it. and what he said to me was, if i confront this injustice and know that i can do something about it and decide not to, that will produce severe pain. i will have to live with that on my conscience for the rest of my life, and the pain of having to do that is so much worse, he said, that anything that the u.s. government could do to him, including putting him into prison for decades. and the reason why that is so stunning to me and why it has so profoundly affected how i look at pretty much everything is because edward
snowden is the most ordinary and a remarkable person you will ever meet. he came from a love and self class background. his father was in the coast guard for 30 years. he cover-up without a shred of position or power or prestige. and even when he decided to do what he did, he was toiling away in obscurity in this massive national security corporation. and yet, through nothing more than an act of conscience and a fearless commitment to the political principles that he said he believed in, he changed the world. he did. he literally changed the world. he transformed hundreds of millions of people. he radically altered the debate about who we are and what kinds of rights we have in the digital age, the relationship of individuals to the state and to states to one another and the role of journalism in society,
all kinds of implications, some of which we know, most of which we probably don't. and one of the things that i have countered from the first moment i began writing about politics, not just about myself, but this kind of temptation of defeatism. it is very easy to look at all of these policies and all of these complexities and say to yourself, the institutions that are responsible are so enormous and powerful that there is nothing that i, as an individual, can possibly do to change it. it is kind of, in some sense present because it relieves you of the obligation to act and yet there are so many examples throughout history of really ordinary people, powerless, ordinary, rock of people engaging in similar acts of conscious whether it is rosa parks refusing to sit at the back of the bus and sparking this unbelievably significant
civil rights movement or a tunisian street vendors setting himself on fire in protest of tyranny and sparking a regional conflagration around the world. i think the critical lesson that i know i have learned from working with edward snowden that uc from so many of these other examples is that any institution built by human beings, and the institution built by human beings, no matter how formidable or powerful that it seems can always be reformed and changed or even destroyed and replaced by even the direction and that passion is there. and that is a critical lesson to keep at the forefront of all of our minds all the time. with that, thank you all very much. [applause]
[applause] >> thank you. >> some water? >> thank you. so we are going to have conversation for a while, and then we will turn it over to questions from the crowd. their is a microphone here. there is another one in the back so we will start a line up toward the end of our conversation. i will give the word. thank you, glenn greenwald. it is true that canadians were shocked to learn that we were spying on brazil for
industrial purposes, but we were not shocked by the revelations are we were not shark dynasts disclosed to spy or that there was buying and some unnamed airport and elsewhere through wi-fi. maybe that is because we are canadian and it seems impolite and it is embarrassing to us in a way that our own government, what they're doing here is not. i have heard that theory. i have heard other theories. i have heard that we are not like americans, who are adamant about their rights. we are more deferential to power, and that is what the reaction here has been muted, whereas in the united states your revelations with edward snowden have prompted the president to actually modified, whether that is meaningful or not is another question, but to regard his and modify it be so we get in this discussion about the canadian psyche.
and i am screaming throughout all of this, we do not know as much as they do. they know about tourism, verizon, and we do not know in any conclusive terms weather not our spy agency, whether or not our government is spying on us, and you do know something about that. you know more about what our government is doing and doing in our name and maybe doing to us that anyone in our audience today. there is no question before this question, is see sec spying on canadians? >> we have already done stories, one in particular, that demonstrates the answer to that question is yes. the story that you reference , tracking people land at international airports, using wi-fi connections and cyber cafes and the likes which includes canadians. it is also important to understand that there really is no such thing as
canadians buying. canada's buys as part of the five eyes alliance which is notably principle because of how individual is. whenever reporting we have done about the nsa and gmc chq necessarily includes canada as well. i think it is important to realize that edward snowden was working inside of an american surveillance agency and so the vast, vast, vast bulk of the documents he took were not documents about see sec but about nsa and itsy hq. there is already information about that exact same kind of scott -- spine that they have denied, and there will be more reporting. it is complicated, yet the responsibility to do it right and make sure what you report is accurate, and we are being careful in that regard. we are also reporting it as quickly as we can and all i
can say is, there are very significant revelations left to report. >> the difference is that the message to americans was , verizon, a company you communicate through all the time, indiscriminately spying on massive amounts of people, both surveillance, and i think that here we have a situation where people were able to say, i don't even know what airport that was. and we have the government equivocating that it is embedded data. it was just an exercise, and then the commissioner saying that no laws were broken. so it is highly consequential if information is revealed that makes it undeniable. they are forbidden by law from doing so. is there anything you can tell us about whether we can anticipate that kind of revelation? >> what i would tell you is, you need your own edward snowden, a canadian edward snowden who is inside of the
canadian national security apparatus and takes the documents that you're eager understandably to look at and make public through journalists or some other way. i hope that happens. >> if you are out there, we now come. >> right. you know, i mean, i actually do think that one of the most consequential aspects of the reporting is that he will inspire other people not just in the u.s., but partner countries to come forward. i learned the lesson along time ago that i am not going to preview the reporting because what ends up happening is as it here and preview reporting. from the time that i get back to my children until the day that i die i will be delays with e-mails and tweets asking for the documents.
on top of which she go through the reporting process for reason. it i will wait for it to happen. all i can tell you is there is, as you know, stories in the works that will be reported in good time. >> you have been telling us that we have big stuff coming for months and months and months. can we get a hint? >> i am not going to play 20 questions. it does not do any good. >> with all respect to the process that you go through to report this stuff responsibly, and i can understand why you would do so, there are other factors that have inhibited your ability to report these stories. and your experience which we have talked about has been a little troubled. if you describe your relationship has a difficult
one, and you talked about a shocking resistance for months and months. and you told me that this has to do -- a think we have to is the 65 with a reporter who was ideologically opposed to reporting this. do you want to say his name? >> terry. >> soho i let him do the dirty work. i think it is a mixed bag. as he said, we did several stories in cooperation with greg western, a fantastic reporter and a couple of editors who were very aggressive and stood steadfast and did not capitulate to government pressure. each of them left, one to become the editor in chief of the globe and mail. greg left as well.
subsequent to his leave we were given a new journalist with whom to work. and this individual seems to believe that mass surveillance is a good thing , which she is entitled to think. end and therefore he does not think it should be reported because he believes canadians want these things to be done. that was the hold up they have said, we want journalists who are committed to the reporting. so there have been problems. let me just say, so you understand the process, the documents we are talking about that we have reported on around the world are coming in the eyes of these governments, among the most sensitive material that they have because it shows of the invasion of privacy, and they don't want anybody
knowing how they do it or that they do it. so when they learned that media outlets are going to report on these documents they employ 25 apply extreme amounts of pressure to try and billy and intimidate and scare them. they come and say, if you publish these documents you will help terrorists evade detection, and that will cause the death of innocent people. now, good journalists and editors know that governments say that in every case. and so you ignore it unless they have something specific. not everyone is a good editor or journalist. some people get scared which is held upper portion and that is exactly what he was told. this was a matter of life
and death. that was ultimately revealed to be bullish it, and those documents came out. we're still waiting for that moment. the ability for the system to correct itself, and i don't want to put everything on terry because cdc is a public broadcaster. he was the point of contact. he now says that he was ideologically opposed and has suggested very strongly that the story as abortion. can we put that to rest? >> i will just say that you can go on twitter and call a story bolsa. i don't feel the need to repeat that. the story is true. >> i will follow you up.
i have made things awkward for you in canada who is going to report the stuff with you? >> first of all, i spent a long time talking about the role of journalists. and i think that is to hold people in positions of power and influence accountable including large media outlets. be as annoying as you have been all week and is uncomfortable as he made things i think you did exactly the right thing in and whether you did it. i think the public has the right to know when media outlets to be able to double again deterred. we are still working. and so i hope and expect there to begin reporting
coming soon. >> consistent with this idea of holding powerful people accountable, as the person who has and not the only person, but as the person who has these files you are a powerful person. it is unfortunate that some of the of the people who have these files are not sharing with anyone which is shameful because you are working with journalists. these questions fall to you, and i suppose that is your burden. a question was posed to me. puzzled by the process by which you choose journalists to work with and that it lacks transparency. i won't ask you necessarily to account for that, but you did tell me in a previous conversation that there's a changing. the slow process, especially when we do not have as rigorous and, you know, robust a press in canada as you do in the state's.
if you get to a bad relationship with the media can go by, but tell us as much as you can about steps are taken to make things go faster. >> a lot of people who do not have any idea about what the process actually is often voices opinions of a less about what it entails which i think is the natural thing to do because there is a lot of interest in the story. so people want more documents to come. the archive that we have is vast and complex and pertains to pretty much every country on earth in ways that take a long time for even the most technically adept people to process and understand. it takes a lot of reporting and a lot of work to piece them together in the right way. i think that what is really remarkable is how many documents we have been able to disclose around the world in the time that we have
been able to, especially since we have a duty to not just the public to make sure that we are reporting directly and not misleading people but also to our source. if edward snowden wanted just a really fast and indiscriminate publication of these documents, he would not have needed to come to me. he could have uploaded it to the internet himself. he came to us as this it -- specifically said i want someone to meticulously that the material and make sure every story that is published as in the public interest and does not risk innocent lives, and that is a burden i take very seriously as a journalist and as an obligation to my source. but we do face that burden. there are big media outlets, the new york times, guardian , "washington post" will have tens of thousands of documents. maybe one day they will report them. maybe one then it won't. what we're doing is, we want to put this story ahead of our own competitive interest or our own proprietary
interest of the documents. so we have created a system in new york that is almost ready where journalists from around the world will come and work directly with the entire edward snowden archive so that we substantially maximize the number of journalists are able to work with it, do reporting, and we think that it will expedite the number of reporting process is by letting me era of -- media -- media outlets have at it. >> and so people can visualize, this is like a human-sized many freight where people cannot download files or make copies but they can come into the library where journalists will be able to come and access the files. >> correct. and this is going to be debuted soon. >> pardon? >> almost ready, you say. >> almost ready. correct. >> okay. i can't imagine how your life must have changed, the incredible pressures. you are a new kind of journalist, not an
institution, though i understand the intercept his building some institutional facilities, but you are one guy who has become a magnet for -- i mean, 22 countries have been in partnership to report this stuff, all the stuff that is not known yet. does it feel like a burden, and are you ready for it to be off your shoulders? >> i mean, sure, it is a burden when -- i mean, there is a lot of responsibility to being a principal guardian of how this material is distributed to the world. you do have a responsibility to make certain that material that might endanger people's lives is reported responsibly, but then you also have this corresponding burden to make sure that the material gets out quickly. and then you have a burden or duty to your source to make sure that the process goes in accordance with the way he asked it to be conducted and that you agreed to. on top of which there are all kinds of pressures and
threats that comes from doing reporting like this. there was a long time and i could not travel back to the united states because the government was continually -- continuously threatening to arrest us. they detained my partner, and there is still a criminal investigation in the u.k. over that. you know, you go into journalism to do a story like this. i have been working on these issues for a long time, and so the ability to have, first of all, the evidence to show that all the stuff i have been saying and other people in saying actually is true, and you can see evidence. we can take a huge hole in the wall of secrecy behind would say have been functioning. it is incredibly gratifying. the platform that i have to go around talk about these issues on which i have been working is valuable to me. and so, it has been barred some, coslet of adjournment -- journalists around the world have burdens with all kinds of things that they do. it is just the nature of good journalism. if you say you want to
challenge people, the nature of doing that is that they can do things to you because of the way you are defining or challenging. that is just intrinsic to the process, and if you are not prepared to accept that in journalism is probably not for you. >> you could almost watch before our eyes the process by which she becomes this -- you become suspected of treason and then slowly the stories bear out and there is a legitimization that happens, the pulitzer prize. you come to canada and all of our top journalists welcome you with open arms. well, not all. if a journalist wants to come and be respectable, what are you trying to do? >> you know, it was funny, i was invited to do the debate here in toronto six months ago. a very high end. and i was -- that to people that i was debating were
alan dershowitz, precisely, and general michael hayden who was the director of the cia and the nsa and the bush administration. and i gave an interview to a canadian based journalist in brazil on the day before i left for toronto to go into the debate, and i was talking about this serious crisis of conscience i was having which is when you get invited to these kind of events you are expected to be very simple. they have this cocktail party in this chandelier room, and you're supposed to shake hands with your adversaries and treat them like respective opponents. i don't have any respect for alan dershowitz. [applause] you know, he is a war criminal. he belongs in the hague. truly, he implemented a
system of torture -- [applause] and so it does bring up those kinds of conflicts. you know, i, you know, i actually -- it was funny, i gave this "where i said, i am having hard time shaking their hands because i consider them to be two of the most pernicious people on the planet. and there was this huge profile of me on one side and michael hayes on the other and the quota of mind, i'm debating to of the most pernicious people on the planet. and i did not shake hands with them or speak to them. you know, you do get that conflict. you want to maintain your outsider status. all these temptations when you get invited into these regal halls where it is expected you're supposed to change your behavior in exchange for getting admission to these clubs. that is what passes. even if you are committed to resisting it, it is a potent process, and so i think about that all the time.
>> has not been a private -- problem yet, but i will look out for it. >> one question for our partners at urban media that was submitted to the facebook page and then if people laugh questions could start to line up we will turn this into more of a conversation with you. ian or sullivan has asked the question that i would love to ask you, why didn't edward snowden use facebook? he would be huge on social media. why is he not on any platform? >> is because he hates facebook. i mean, they are like one of the worst violators of privacy in history. that would be really weird. [applause] nobody should use facebook. [applause] but i have actually encouraged him to use twitter as a means of having a platform where he can speak. in the reality is that one of the interesting things about the way he has been able to construct his life
is, you know, in the united states the word russia since people into these seizures of hysteria, like its 1958 tamales 1958 when it comes to russia. oh, he's in russia which means he is condemned to this life of misery. and the reality is everybody was going to end up in an american prison for the rest of his life. although he did not choose russia, being there has enabled him to do interviews and give speeches and make appearances and write columns, and he has become an important voice. so he is happy, and there may be one day when he ends up on twitter. >> this seems like he should be out mixing it up with everybody a little bit more that he is. >> a little bit difficult when you actually cannot leave the country or when the world's most powerful government considers you the number one fugitive. you have to be careful about where you go and what you do, so he tends to live his life on line which actually before all of this happened,
before anyone knew edward snowden is what he did anyway. it has not changed all that much for him. >> we would get to as much of this as we can. everyone please keep questions brief and make sure that they are, in fact, questions. to the gentleman here. >> a lot of americans i no seem to have drawn a distinction between stories about the government spying on them, which was intensely debatable, and stories about americans or the american agency spying on other governments, which they kind of expected was happening and they kind of wanted to see happen. and i wonder if you draw a distinction between those two things and how you draw that distinction? >> i think you can kind of look at the story in four broad categories. there are stories about nsa of spying on their own citizens, stories about nsa spying on foreign
populations indiscriminately , putting entire populations under surveillance microscopes. then there are stories about the nsa spying on a friendly governments to of the chancellor of germany, and there are stories about spying on adversarial countries like china pakistan. there is this sense in the united states unsurprisingly that the only legitimate stories are the ones about the nsa spy on their own citizens. and we have done a lot of reporting about the nsa spying on foreign populations. and i say all the time, the idea that the only privacy that matters is the privacy of americans and that the rest of the world, which by the way, happens to be 95 percent of the world, that their privacy is irrelevant, in fact so irrelevant it should not be reported on is grotesque. and snowden was adamant from
the start that he regarded internet privacy as being the privacy of individuals around the world regardless of nationality to use the internet without monitoring innovation. the debate is a valid one. i do think that the stories about spying and democratically elected leaders has been significant because a lot of people do not think that the nsa or any government should be doing that. that is debatable. i pretty much stayed away from stores with the u.s. government spying on adversarial governments because that, i don't think, as all that interesting. i do not think that that surprises anybody. that is hell i evaluate the categories. >> thank you. next question. >> you spoke a little bit about how intelligence agencies are to some degree insulated because people are just not made aware. i mean, short of waiting for somebody to come along and
leaked documents, how do you suggest we go about establishing a meaningful oversight? >> i do think public awareness is the prerequisite. one of the things that has happened in the united states is that there have always been certain avenues that existed for information to get to the public that the government does not want to get to the public. then there has been really a war on those avenues. in particular i will give you an example, a statistic. under president obama there have been now seven prosecutions, whistle-blowers, sources, people who give information to journalists that the government does not want out under this a 1917 statute which was designed to criminalize to center or one. in all of american history prior to president obama there were a grand total of
three cases, the prosecution's, so he has more than double the number just in his six years of these kinds of prosecutions as compared to every other president prior to m combined. what this is about is trying to shut off every valve that exists for any information to get to the public other than the information the government chooses, and you live in a state where the only information that gets to the public is information that the government chooses, you live in a state of propaganda, by definition. when you say other than people leaking documents a whistle-blower's what can be done, i don't think anything can be done other than whistle-blowers. there may be other ways to do it. not everyone who least as it by taking tens of thousands top-secret documents and handing them over. sometimes people just call up a reporter and give tidbits of information, but this is a crucial process to save democracy. we have to know what our government is doing beyond with a want us to know in order to have democracy be
meaningful. and that is why i think this process of disclosure is so critical. >> thank you very much. >> yes, i would like to begin by saluting your courage and intellectual honesty and i would also like to salute the absolute humiliation you inflicted on the voters' eye and his propagandist and islamist real time. [applause] i may be using harsh words when referring to bill marr, but this is what i think of him. i don't know what you think of him. >> i concur with your description. [laughter] >> but i would also like to know that an individual such as c who presents himself as a liberal and a progressive, the kind of -- and yet shares many similar views on american foreign policies, i would like to know, what kind of influence and
individual like that has or how does he resonate with in the liberal class of the u.s. if there is such a thing. >> yes, it is a good, but complicated question. there was this article today in the boston globe by this author who has a new book, the principal point of which was that it does not matter who wins elections. the national security state will continue to get its way exactly as they want no matter who wins. and i know from having gone all over the world speaking in doing reporting on the nsa file, by far the biggest question that people ask, and it is not even a question but more realization, people around the world everywhere for a long time loved president obama because they viewed him as this vehicle for fundamental change from all the things that they thought
had gone wrong with the united states and its behavior. and not just from spying, but from the escalation of drones to the escalation of militarism to just the general face of the united states, people around the world now see that not only has there been no radical change but almost none. and the point of all of this i think to that realization is that there is almost a full scale consensus in the american political class both on the right and the left about the propriety of these policies and the way in which the u.s. has been conducting itself so that you even have so-called liberals, this new class of -- they call themselves new atheists, supposedly these white westerners to fantasize about how they will leave in the name of liberal values and the like and spend almost all of their time really against
the evils of muslims in a exactly the way dick cheney would. and so you have this kind of convergence of conservatism and liberalism in the united states that very much supports this posture of endless war and all of our policies that enable and supported. if you look at, for example, hillary clinton the most people agree will probably be the president, she wrote a book pretty harshly criticizing president obama and did not criticize him for bombing too many muslim countries but for not bombing enough. and almost all of her criticisms of him or that he was to peace read and not willing enough to use violence in that part of the world and not steadfastly supporting israel, so there is a consensus. you should not be fooled by democrat versus republican or conservative versus liberal. they share a common theme. i think he is mouthing the
east us into which he is connected. >> thank you very much. >> i am really nervous. i looked through the room a dozen times to make sure no one i know is here. first of all, i think i had been convinced for a long time that he was going to be charged for extortion for his involvement with the video. if you see him, tell him my say i. but so i was working on the liberal campaign which i tweeted you about, but i am not sure if you had a chance to read it because it was disjointed, and i will not go into all the details, but she went to over 70 countries, has worked on dozens of classified missions, nato.
we just could not get her in the press in canada and all. it was the most devastating thing had never been a part of because she put up $80,000 of her own money to try to run it up against. and if we had just met the march 3rd deadline we might have had a shot at polling in people who would have voted. while working on her video i got my video editing software ended up being hacked by the chinese. i am still not sure if it was that chinese government. it was that chinese ip address. i saw of not turn the car driver because i don't know if i should. but long story short, i am not actually involved in harassment. my question is, what do you think police, the domestic
police because in my travels coming up in january, and i will find out more, some of the stuff they did even in my case, the supreme court has now ruled the you're not supposed to be getting a ip addresses directly from the service provider. like, i guess, to have you found that the police themselves are more pervasive in terms of spy techniques for the federal level or national level? >> actually, thank you for that question because it provokes what i think is an important and underappreciated developments. people who have been writing about and talking about what we call a war on terror for dictator so have been mostly condemning certain kinds of abuses that have been perpetrated by the u.s. and its allies in other distant parts of the world aimed at foreign population. and one of the things that you see very kind of rapidly
now is the importation of a lot of these, what were once terror policies into how the government interacts with its own citizenry domestically to buy at least early in the united states. if you look, for example, at the nsa mass surveillance program, that was a program pioneered in baghdad and then brought on to u.s. soil if you look at drones, which were once loan exclusively over places like yemen and somalia, police departments in the united states and canada as well are now using drone is for surveillance. use of that protest in ferguson, misery over police brutality. that is pair militarization, the kind of forces that american police department use to use against foreign populations are now being used against the civilian population.
once you start to endorse this and accept catch certain kind of policies are okay, it is almost inevitably the case where it will be brought into the domestic ground. stop that people from doing bad things, there is no reason why that will ultimately not be brought into your own country and your domestic population. >> i think we have to be out at a certain point. pretty good in terms of following up. >> so during the wednesday attack i walked all around ottawa, as close as i can
get. stuck around most of the day , about 2:00 a.m. i did a self video talking about misguided fear, terrorism verses climate change. climate changes the issue that people -- if people understood the threat as much as the scientific community is starting to, they would realize that climate changes the issue that is not going to go away and the extreme weather events that are causing 6 million -- $6 billion of damage in calgary, billion in toronto, this will only get more frequent and extreme. could you search through your files on climate change and release that information sooner than later? ♪ scavenged kicked.
>> you are getting a taste of what my life has been like. we have done some reporting on climate change, including climate conferences with thick -- something akin release at any moment. he worked in one particular agency, and one part of that agency and was taking documents in this elite. he had to take them where he could get them, and so he took a lot, but he did not take documents on every topic. you know, i guess i could tell you, if there were documents relevant on climate change they would have been reported already.
the other thing is, think we should in careful of ever say it, this is because kurdish youth, because there are short-term arms and long term arms in having new way pervasive starvation but i agree with york corporation point completely which is that human beings are bad at evaluating risk. i know, you know, people in the united states, someone who walks around petrified of the terrorism threat, and yet they text all of their friends while driving. it is like, you know, that is so much more likely to kill you that terrorism, but i think one of the things the you see, and i think that you see it this week, and at the talk about this a little bit in canada, and it is hard to talk about, but
we are tribal creatures. and what terrorism does is it triggers this tribal instincts in as which is that we collectively, our group has been attacked. you know, i think that is what you see lots of canadians who are well intentioned and not at all giving into hysteria nonetheless doing things like waving canadian flags and talking about it like it is an attack on democracy. it is the reason why terrorism is so successful at be manipulated. there are these other people felt side of our society who have attacked us collectively which is a powerful instinct that we, as human beings, have revolutionaries and is and why we response to it more than the distant and scientific threat of climate change, even though from every rational metric climate changes much, much worse. and i think that is exactly the kind of thing that we have to guard against, this kind of deliberate of manipulation of the makeup of our instincts and
emotional constitution's because that is how we get lead to evaluating the world in rationally, and i think you see that. >> thank you very much. last question. >> i had the pleasure to ask you a question, following your work ever since snowdon , shortly after he arrived in hong kong. my question actually is about love pentagon of the things that i found remarkable in leading of -- reading over some of the statements by edward snowden, and the guardian article he talks about love. he says, i do not want to live in a world where we cannot express love, creativity, and have relationships. this struck me as out of place coming from a person who is very intellectual, brainy, nerdy plan to talks about encryption a lot and uses a lot of abstract terms to talk about what he is doing,
not often getting to the heart of things. this struck me as being the heart of his motivation, and i wonder if you could say a few words about that. i know it has moved a long way from the political, but i think it is at the heart of the political relationships with each other, relationships, friendships, ability to be creative, to do what we're doing right now. >> you know, that is -- [applause] yes. [applause] >> yes. [applause] >> that is -- i think it is profound and incredibly insightful about the motivations of edward snowden, in a way that is not easy to apprehend. and i think that is a fascinating topic. for the moment i will say that i give it had talked. the people plotting
terrorist attacks or engaging in violent crimes, if you are a good person who goes to work and comes home and raise your kid and watches tv but are not doing bad things and therefore have nothing to hide and therefore do not really care of the government is invading your privacy because you do not think that they're interested in what it is the your doing. i talked about the critical, a central role of the privacy place in the lives of all of us, and not just people who are doing bad things like committing terrorism and the like. and when i was in hong kong, as i said earlier, it was critical for me to understand the motive that led edward snowden to do what he did, because i wanted to make sure was not participating in unravelling someone's life who had not given the extremely careful in deep thought to why this was worth doing. and as to many, many times of course culver hours and days for this explanation of why it was worth it. he had a stable life, i girlfriend who loved him, a
lucrative career, family that were supportive to my great light in hawaii. why was he willing to throw this away in pursuit of this abstract political ideal? and he gave me a lot of answers that were not quite persuasive until he talked about what you just raised, which is, he said that growing up the way that he grew up, which was pretty port, he did not even finish high school. he grew up in this very cloistered suburb in northern virginia near the threat of military industrial complex. he had a narrow world. the internet is what allowed him to explore the world and ultimately himself he could speak to people and listen to the those who he would otherwise never communicate with an experience ideas, trying out different personalities and identities
, of which was possible exclusively because he was able to do it had in the realm of privacy. he said he did not want to live in a world where that was lost. he was not willing to live in that world. the reason is so important to him, and something i have given some much thought about is because as human beings @booktv there are all sorts of scientific studies that demonstrate this to be true, but our own human experience proves it more, when we think that we are being watched, our behavior changes radically. we become much more conformist, compliant, make choices that are the byproduct of our own agencies but of the expectations and mandates of social orthodoxy and concession, and it is really only in his private room where we can explore intimacy and as you say love and in different ways of thinking and being in creativity and dissent and
all exclusively reside in this round of privacy where we can act without otherwise being cast upon us and making judgment. that is something that was crucial to the evolution of edward snowden as a person, the abilities that have this private from online were so many people, especially younger ones don't just buy books and make travel reservations but developer who they are as people and made? connections. all of that is severely crippled, but not completely destroyed when we live in a world of mass surveillance, where the internet is converted into a place where we can be washed and monitored that is what makes what you said so insightful. yes, he talks about encryption, surveillance technology, but ultimately there is a deeply human perspective that drove him to do what he did. deeply noble and selfless because he wanted these
connections that could be made exclusively in a world where the privacy could continue to flourish, and he knew that is what was being destroyed and that, if anything, is what drove him to do what he did. so excellent observation. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> thank you so much. [applause] >> well, i cannot think of a better place to leave it than there. on behalf of this audience -- and i think i will go ahead and say on behalf of canadians, i wanted thank you, not just for being here, but for shocking as into awareness. i wanted thank you for challenging us to reinvigorating ourselves and rediscovering our purpose in this country. --, thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, everybody. really appreciate it. [applause] [applause] ..