tv Edward Snowden Permanent Record CSPAN October 14, 2019 4:00pm-5:21pm EDT
that inspired me to become an attorney and to continue advocating for people with disabilities. >> to watch the rest of this interview visit our website booktv.org, search for haben girma using the box at the top of the page. >> today is a day for whistleblowers, and i don't mean i've been watching the news. i haven't. i mean that edward snowden will be with us via video tonight. .. we here at length for the
first time with mister snowden himself with this book. in combination with the aclu mister romero hill discussed the how and why of the why he did it. mister snowden leapt a cache of documents to journalists, journalists he believed would release them without tolerating government interference in censorship. those documents showed us our rights are being violated on an unprecedented scale. intelligence agencies were engaging not in targeted surveillance as they told us but gathering up everything they could scoop up on us. a personal private data of anyone and everyone who uses a cell phone or the internet. a data from the underwater cables crossing the ocean through which all that traffic travels. they required the telecomsto build backdoors so that they can hack us . doing so they acquired a lot. a lot on us. so much in fact that in one
points i think itslowed down the internet . the officials engaged in this line to congress, said they were not doingit, many of them regulate now appear on cable news networks as pundits . one program perhaps the creepiest allowed intelligence officers to read their lovers orex-lover's emails and in some cases i believe while they were writing those emails . it was in mister snowden selling an unprecedented crime made up of violations of privacy of us citizens. the government mister snowden worked for stopped caring about what they should do and started pursuing as aggressively as possible what they could do. according to the wartime law he reminds us of in current record, mister snowden performed his duty while facing a great sacrifice,
that of exile. we hear not only how he plans to gather evidence of the wrongdoing, how to protect his loved ones by hiding his plans from them which is a heartbreaking part of the book but you even hear from his then girlfriend's journal in a moving section which is entitled why he suddenly left and learned with the rest of the world on tv. while he's performing the role of spaces, citizen ownership rights and openness, it is a pleasure to welcome our two gueststonight before i bring them out , you have index cards and get to be part of the debate and that 8:05 hour ushers to come up with a blank card. hold it up and we will pass it down the aisle so you can ask mister snowden questions. we won't get to them all. it is our pleasure having said all this to welcome the aclu's executive director anthony romero will come out now and are guest author who will magically appear behind me now, computer whiz and author edward snowden [applause]
>> okay. hello everyone. thank you for that introduction, joel. it is a pleasure to be here with you tonight in brooklyn where i live. and to spend some time with eachof you today. hello ed, we will get to you in a second .i'm really thrilled to be talking to you about this incredible new book, permanent record . if you haven't read it, you must. it is beautifully written, it tells a very personal story that's relevant notjust to the one man who is the author but a personal story about every single one of us . and it's necessary to have these debates around these issues that and has put in the book and framed so well for the readers. it is so good that is number two on the new york times bestseller list. congratulations.
and the us government is suing the author as an effort to try to shut the book down and perhaps is helping get promoted infact . as you heard from joel, ed sparked a historic worldwide debate about privacy and technology when he exposed evidence of the mass surveillance having on the nose to the american people or even to members of congress. this is not our first conversation and i have had a chance to face-to-face a couple of times in moscow, a couple of times with a robot, a couple of times on video chat but i've been looking forwardto this one. we first met in 2014 . it was a quiet moment of two guys trying to understand and get to know one another and through the book, i feel like i've gotten to know you even better than i ever thought. so i want to just underscore the fact that we will be
broadcasting this interview on our podcast liberty. you can subscribe to it, go to our website. we will make sure we get questions at the end. i have a couple questions to kick off the conversation. but before i turn it over to my first round of questions i wanted to show you this audience, ed. >> it's a remarkable room. [applause] >> only a couple fbi agents are in the audience. so i thought i would organize our talk, ed, into three sections. the talk first on a more personal level, the memoir. it's a story about you and your life and to switch years and talk about you evolving as an activist as a human rights leader of the 21st and 22nd century and then to talk to you a little bit about the way forward.
where are you now, whereare you heading ? where are we heading, most importantly let's talk first personally and again, a little bit of themeasure of the man if you will . as i've gotten to know you over the last six or so years , i'm kind of stunned that you wrote a memoir. ora man who is as private as you are , there are conversations although i could interrogate a rock and get answers out of a rock you are much harder than that. talk to me about how an intensely private person tackles this issue of writing a memoir and talk about how you feel now about having revealed so much about yourself to theworld . >> the answer is carefully and with great difficulty. i've been writing for about well, six years since i came
forward that i hadn't been writing this story of me cause it's always been difficult for me to talk about myself . for those in the audience who are familiar with what happened, they are filling familiar with me, to the extent that for example anthony might be. i came forward in june of 2013 and i revealed evidence that the government had secretly constructed a system of global mass surveillance without our knowledge, without our consent. none of us to avoid area in the majority of members of congress did not realize what was happening. the courts were excluded from this and suddenly, i was the most famous and most wanted man in the world. at least 43 period. but i didn't get a single interview for more than six months after that first disclosure to journalists. the reason why is i didn't want the story to be about me
like you said anthony, i've been actively trying to avoid the spotlight. but what i learned from all that period of silence is that if we don't tell our own stories, others will tell them for us. and they won't have the same care and concern that we do. and what happens, this is an important thing for all of us . i am a privacy advocate. and it was very hard, it was harder to tell this story, to tell my story and it was to come forward and really actually risk my freedom, potentially my life to tell the world about everything that was going on . however, disclosure is a skill. it's something that we practice and we get better at it with time. and since i came forward,
previously i've been with the nsa, cia and i've always been kind of a private guy. i had never had to talk about myself month after month, year after year and that men like you anthony that really taught me we can do so much more together and we can do on our own and when i looked around at the world of 2018, and when i look around at the world today, i see how much we need to have this conversation. how much we need to talk about the balance of power between the public and the government. we need to talk about surveillance and data collection. in a way that's not what is the latest scandalthat facebook is involved in . because facebook is not the problem. facebook is the product of the problem. we have to correct the system. that means going deeper. that means more than a news story or more than a clip that yousee on the internet .
it means books. it means ruptured thinking and the only way i think that we can get people to take us seriously today about these things that do seem really abstract, that are mechanized, that are automated, that our algorithms area they are literally in human , is to attach the human elements. it's to explain to someone that you don't know why you care. how you came to care and who you are, where you came from and in that moment of vulnerability, i think , and really that's what surveillance is about real surveillance is about constructing vulnerability to people who have not consented to it. and one of the ironies of this process is realizing that by creating our own vulnerabilities, by saying that we are not afraid, i found a voice i had never
been able to use before. i found a message i had never been able to express before and ultimately , it is not a change in what i did before. it's a new way of expressing the same thing that got me forward and gave me the courage to face the world so many years ago and that this idea that we all have something to say and i have something thatmatters . >> i think you did a remarkable job of helping paint the story, tell the narrative of how you came to be who you are and remember, we have these conversations when you are getting ready for your big and we were having a discussion where i said i need a human being who's going to show up, aspirations and love and fallibility and the book is brilliant because i think you paint that picture of how you came to be and who you are so
let's talkabout some of the fallibility and i'm going to put you on the spot as only a buddy can . i didn't know what kind of mediocre student you were. talk at one point about how the more you got into the computers and internet, the more time i spent online, the more my schoolwork felt extracurricular and you talked about the fact that you really develop your own path of education and knowledge and this quest for learning. i was reminded of the conversations going on in the country about whether or not college or university get in the way of smart innovative people. people like peter thiel, preventing scholarships so people can drop out of college and become leaders. reflect about the role of education or formal education and how you went four wheel driving through the life of learning and knowledge that you felt.
because you're a maronite man with incredible knowledge that comes out of the book but in an unorthodox way that you got there . >> i think the mediocre student. [inaudible] >> i'm not going to use peter thiel as a role model. >> got a lot of nodding faces . >> the reality is we're all a little different, we have strengths and weaknesses and we all do have something we can learn and something we need to be taught . and this is another part in your previous question that i think came out in this process of writing. i think we've all had those moments where we felt like the smartest person in the room. we've all had a thing in a classroom where we've seen the future get something
wrong and they're a little embarrassed, they don't want to admit. but then we also have been on the other side of and one of the beautiful things about learning is not just becoming more capable as an individual learning how to learn. and that means understanding the rules, discovering those strengths and weaknesses. that means doing thingslike i did, joining the army and finding out that was really not something that i was designed for . i wanted badly to succeed there and i broke my leg when i ended up being pushed out in the process of writing this book i discovered a lot more about myself as well . thing that's not in the book though. we didn't have spacefor it . it's that during all this time that i was obsessed with computers, learning so much about technology and i was so good at it . >> picking through the window of your father said as he was locking up his computer, pretty remarkable.
>> i was fascinated with technology, it was my first love . i didn't want to be defined by. i when i was in highschool when i first started going to community college wanted to be an english teacher . and so writing was always something i enjoyed even though i had difficulty with it but when i started trying to write a book, instead of trying to write my own thoughts, instead oftrying to persuade , i realized i was out of my element and this is where i learned to lean on people who knew more than i did, who had read more than i did. and this book would not have been as good as it is. i'm proud of it, i hope you are too. people like ben wisner in the audience, people likethe whole team at old . the editors sarah birch. jillian blake, all these people make this book and but there's one person in the audience right now i think almost none of you know it unless they announced
themselves. there's a man named joshua cohen and this is one of i believe the greatest living authors in the country. and he's a friend of ben's, ben is my lawyer. then it works at the aclu and he made an introduction and the education that i did not finish in high school, i got sick, i left early, like got in the way. he in a real way complete and i remember arguing withhim, debating with him . we fought over commas and clauses. he developed my thinking. he developed my ability to write and he gave so much to this book. i mentioned in the acknowledgments, that can't be expressed, ican't thank him enough . if you enjoyed the book i think you should as well because if i was the heart of the story, he was the soul.
he made a book into a work of literature. [applause] >> i think he's blushing, it's a little dark but i believe he's letting. a few other things on a more personal note for research into how you evolve and develop. the relationship with lindsay who i think some of the most poignant pieces of it were the diary pages that you published, what she was feeling or thinking when you left in hawaii. when you were in hong kong and then russia and then you talk about how you fell in love. you gave her a 10, she gave you an eight on a hot or not website. you talked about how she was your soulmate and i've known that be the case from the years i've gotten to know you and have had a chance to interact with her. what's the price of, for those years that you so much to yourself, you talk about the evolution of how you
became an activist and you as you evolve into a whistleblower and you were conscious enough to share everything with her because you would put her in perils way and it was a price in that you couldn't share a big part of what was occupying your heart and mind with the person you love the most and then that incredible break and then marriage. talk to me about how your relationship evolved and changed as you evolve and change in this moment with the spotlight and now that it's all out on the table, better, happier days now? are there fewer secrets to keep and secondly, reflect for me a little bit on the vulnerability. you talked about in the book around breaking your legs when you went to go into the military and the section when you develop when you had your first epileptic seizure.
and how it racked your body and really rock your world and your confidence. and this image i have of it is this man who could take on the us government and win. almost infallible. you pulled it out. and then there's kind of a fallibility and human weakness elements, around struggling with illness and struggling with your leg struggling with epilepsy. reflect on love and the role of sickness or fallibility in your personal life and then will switch gears. >> that was a very small question . but we've got time. yes, let me start with the fallibility. one of the things that i really tried to express as i was writing this is how imperfect i am. how much i've always struggled and i think this is something that is important,
because so many people write these memoirs and it's like look how great i am. look how much i did. and so much of the conversation about me and about really a lot of these public figures and things that have any kind of political importance, they divide people into good and bad. you're a hero, you're a traitor. you're the best person in the world or worst person on earth . but peoplearen't like that . we try and we fail. we hurt and i've done my share of hurting. but we also strive. and when i was failing constantly so many things, the thing that kept me going was the fact that i got better. we all have the ability to improve and we only have to better in degrees because fortunately we live a long time that this is the most
important thing. when we got that worldview where we go this person did a great thing, there the hero or that person did a bad thing, their ability. what we're doing is worsening these people arenot like us . they did something exceptional, they did something greatand i can't because i'm normal. the reality is those people are normal to . that's not something that diminishes them. that's something that empowers all the rest of us. because the only thing that differentiates you from them is actually business decisions that we make. we are never more than one decision away i'm doing something heroic and it can just be walking by on the street. but i have hurt and i've hurt others and this brings me in the lindsay. i love her dearly. we had been together for the betterpart of a decade before i left .
and we had had, every relationship is complex. we fought, we broke up, we got back together but we loved each other and we still love each other. and think about what itmeans . to have someone you love more than anyone else, to have someone you trust more than anyone else on the planet and to not be able to tell them the reason that you're about to destroy your own life. it created distance and eventually it created anger. i couldn't tell her even though i wanted to because the fbi would accuse her of a crime . they would say she is part of the conspiracy. she was an accessory because she didn't pick upthe phone and say help, some of going to talk to a journalist . >> a definitely interrogated her. >> interrogated her, they harassed her, they tried to make her intellectual, into an informant and through all of that, she stood strong . and not for me, but for her.
and the thing is after all of the things that i put her through because of that decision which makes me besides all the other things i've been bad in life also probably the worst boyfriend in the history of the united states and i'm probably in the running or worst boyfriend in the world. >> she would give you a six today, not a. >> that's how you know how good a person she is. she gave me an eight. she found out what i had done at the same time everybody else did. she saw me on tv when she was with a friend. and although she would be completely justified in hating me and she was angry, she turned to her friend and she said in that moment he had been drifting apart in our relationship for sometime cause of all the distance, because of all the secrecy, because of all the lies, he said what she saw on tv,that
was the reason she fell in love with me . and we are together again today. she lives with me and exile. she has voluntarily joined me in exile and this ladies and gentlemen comesback to that arc of self-improvement . i may have been the worst boyfriend but i am doing everything i can to try to be the best husband because i'll never be able to repay her. >> i think part of what i found so compelling in the book was especially in around pages 96 group hundred and five when you talk about how we grow and how we develop and how we evolve, you talk at one point about how half the things you had written on the web you talk about whether or not you try to find a way to expunge them and erase them and you decided not to and you said half the things i said i hadn't even meant at the time . i just wanted attention and then you talk about when you were 22 years old you said my
policies at age 22, i didn't have any. and you talk about the fact that the statements that may have been treated to you when you were younger that don't ascribe to you today and i'm noting about a very different political climate when we don't allow people the opportunity to involve change or say i screwed up. that halloween costume that one wears in one's 20s can bring a home down a whole political career and you make a point about being kind, if we live life only we will grow and learn and make mistakes and reconcile ourselves. the line i love the most, what mattered most to me wasn't so much the integrity of the living record but that of my soul and it's a real view to you so let's switch now about how then a man who was very much self schooled and self-willed and how you involve into becoming a human rightsactivist .
and i was, i was keen to read about what were the trigger points. talked about japan being your atomic moment and how you began to develop an understanding of what the government was doing behind our backs. japan was my atomic bomb and i realized where these new technologies were headed. that is my generation didn't intervene, the escalation would only continue. talk about the hypocrisy, talk about the road to damascus, what converted you into this human rights leader that you become for our generation. >> i think it's the statement you made before about our histories. the mistakes that we make, the things we say when and where younger that we move on
from, that would like to disown but we can't destroy the fact that we actually said these things. it's hard honestly to hear people call me today something like a human rights leader. because i still see myself just as another person trying to do what they can to make things a little bit better. but i wasn't always that way. i was young, i was self interested. i just wanted to argue with people. it didn't matter what we were arguing about. i didn't even care about these things. i just wanted to feel like i knew something. i wantedto be recognized, i wanted attention from girls . we've all done these things and we're in a library so i know half of the audience is older than me at least . and really, i want you guys to think about this for a minute. what was the most embarrassing thing you ever did when you were young? what's the stupidest thing
that you ever said? now take a minute and just enjoy the fact that basically no one remembers except the people who were closest to you. because it wasn't recorded on the internet. it wasn't tracked in this crystal that never changes and is hanging there on the wall, haunting you. it's always three paces behind you and anyone can take it off the shelf and say remember that terrible thing you said, you're a terrible person no matter how much you've changed. now think about the other half of the audience that's younger. think about the ones that are far younger than me and think about the fact they are that young right now and the worst thing they've ever done are remembered forever, not because they want to remember but because they are not permitted to forget. the system captures it as soon as it's brought into existence and this i think is what's responsible for so
much of the tremendous division that we see today. when you say something stupid and no one forgets about it, no one moves on, it's always there can always people off the shelf , you have to instead justify it. you can't evolve. you are a captive to all of your own worst mistakes. and this, becoming i guess what i am today, taking these different positions, coming to oppose some of the policies of the government that i've volunteered to serve when everyone else is protesting the iraq war, i volunteered to fight. when everybody else was like oh, the cia is torturing i said a, i'll go work for the cia. didn't have skepticism. i didn't believe that the government would lie to us because why would they sacrifice our long-term faith in the institutions of government. for short-term political advantage? i was nacve. but step-by-step we find those contradictions.
step-by-step we recognize our own mistakes through experience, through learning and we can become something more. we can realize all the terrible things we said, our mothers, yes but through that they alsoharmed and diminished ourselves . and through discovering, step-by-step that the work that i had done over the span of a career, that was exciting to do, that i was proud of because of the principles of need to know to work in the intelligence community. you hear about in themovies , they had no idea what office he is doing and you guys eat lunch together even though you're in the same building , your one room away and you're not supposed to ask. so i get this, everyone did this but then with time, with experience, with more reading , you start to realize that you are building cogs in a larger machine. and what i said set out to do
was not burn down the nsa. i wasn't trying to break the government, i was trying to tell people how to live or change the laws. what i was saying was that the purported value of the document, what the government saysthat we're doing , and tell the public even under own in front of congress, i was in fact not the truth. it was a lie and when that happens, blowing the whistle , i don't think should be seen as a revolutionary. it is not a radical. it's rather conventional acts of return. it is saying to the government, saying to our public that somewhere along this path, we have lost our way. i can't change it. you can't change it. but together maybe we can change it. but that's not a decision for the little lower. all whistleblower does is set
and say to you what you are not allowed to know but must know for the remainder democracy. >> i think what i most appreciated was how the label attached to you whistleblower, patriot, human rights leader, privacy advocate , all of those are evolutions . even when the very first call you made when you found that you could happen to los alamos website. and you called the operator and you waited for the phone call back and were anxious that why wouldn't they call and when they finally called them back and you told them there was a backdoor that you can close off and you felt good about that. then years later, you were raising concerns around things small and large within the it intelligence community. and then increasingly you find you found that people were not responsive your
criticisms. there was one point where you talk about interaction with a superior who called you into hisoffice and you were raising something, maybe it was by the motel, i'm not sure . and then you say that he cut you off. and he said well, we're not here to talk about that. why we're here is to talk about insubordination in the chain of command that was the beginning of that omg moment that criticism from within the ic, wasn't as welcome to talk a little bit about how you decided that you couldn't reform the intelligence community from within going up through the chain of command because why? what was the turning point there? >> just a little bit of scene setting for those in the audience and having a chance to read the book . this is after i've come out of the army, the a little bit of soul-searching. i don't understand as
security guard, got my first secret clearance. i've bounced over the cia using my technical skills and this is where i became the insider . on a really hot nickel team for young guys who just came in off the street, they were desperate for people with technicalskills because the intelligence community was doubling and tripling in size after 9/11 . now i had moved from being a contractor, sort of a private worker for the government into an actual officer of the government. a cia communications officer and i was going through training. they moved me to this secret facility in virginia, but over towards the central western part. a is that most people have never called the hill which is different from the farm you hear about the movies and the funny thing about this place is that it's way outside of regulations or everything. it's very slapdash, we're in
a crumbling hotel.we got families of people who are going through this training program before they get sent around the world towork at embassies . and there's four people living in one hotel room with two beds . the parents and the kids and their hiding like their chihuahua when the maid comes in and put them like the snakes are there kids in the dresser drawers. because they don't have the accommodations, nobody can take me when their family emergencies. it's really basic stuff. that's really more workers rights then directing a union but i knew how the cia and bureaucracy works was unlike everybody else was in this program for most of the people in this program i had previously done a stintin headquarters so i had informally nominated to be a class rep . i write these things up and i go to the boss of the school
and the boss of the school because he's the one responsible for this reporting it to him was not well received. and he says basically, don't rock the boat. just go on, you're going to be out of here in acouple of months . let this be someone else's problem andi tell the class and they're all disappointed . so i take another crack at it and i go that's not good enough. so i go to his boss and i go to his bosses boss and i go to his bosses boss's boss. and then the next day i come to the school and i hear a, everything is been fixed. great. but then i get pulled out of class and i get dressed down by the head of the school and then iget dressed down by his boss . and they pulled me out of class and into the side room and isprecisely this kind of thing you're saying . they would fix the problem but there were going to be consequences or making things uncomfortable. this is a really important
pointbecause we see this happening right now. with all the whistleblowing that's in the news . and it's funny, but it's human nature. we can understand this. whistleblower in the public right now i think will come out of this okay. there are going to the attack, they're going to base retaliation but they will be protected becausethey're not indicting the system . there indicting a man. a man i think most of the country believes does rightly deserve. but that man who has been indicted by this complaint is already out there today saying who is this person? they're acting like a spy. you know what we used to do despise , implying i don't like that this person expose me, it would be better if these people were killed. and it's not just that, it's everyone at every level and this is what we have to create processes to account for. this is what we in talking about growth, we have to help ourselves get over is the problem and the complaint
never matters. who this whistleblower is, who i was reporting this low-level stuff back in the day, it's the proof that matters, not where it came from. it's what are the facts ? is this a violation, is itnot ? whenever power bases some kind of opposition they immediately tried to change the conversation into who are you, how dare you get people talking about who brought this forward instead of what was brought forward. and this was my first brush with a very minor brush, ironically it ended up working out quitewell for me . but into that darker side of human nature which is completely understandable that we do not respond well to criticism and that's why we need processes to account for that.
>> the part i think is so relevant for today is what you said on the bottom of 238 when you said the whistleblower in my definition is a person who through hard experience has concluded their life inside an institution has become incompatible with the principles developed in their loyalty oath to thegreatest society outside . this person knows that they can remain inside the institution and knows the institution will be dismantled . however, they blow the whistle to disclose the information to bring public pressure to bear. how is this message relevant to today? talk about the decision to go to journalists. you talk a lot about that thinking process whether it's self publish, talk about that process, allowing it to be turned over, all the cash documents. and then turn it over to
someone else and decide what was going to be in thepublic domain . >> this is the thing that we were struggling with right now . and we have struggled with in this country for 50 years. i mean, daniel ellsberg back in the 1970s when he was reviewing the secret history of the vietnam war, he was accused of all the things you see whistleblowers accused up today. he was charged under the precisely same espionage act that i have been charged under. and he believed he was going to spend the rest of his life in prison and he would have it next. the investigation. but what you have to realize in all of these things iswhat drives a person . to abandon the safety of their office. what drives aperson to abandon the safety of the system . whistleblowing is again, never rewarded.
that's just not how it works. and the cia, nsa wrongly sees itself as kind of a paramilitary organization. they see following orders as equivalent to morality. you don't question the lawfulness. you don't question the proprietary of what you're doing. you go you said this, they should be institution's desire and it is you do it. if you question it you enough with problems. butwhat happens when the system fails . and what happens when your organization can't respond to it? what happens when you are required by the process to report the wrongdoing you witness to the people who are responsible for that wrongdoing? but what if you're supposed to be going to congress and congress is the one who is directing the wrongdoing? what if you're supposed to go to the head of an agency and the agency director is the one whose name is on theorder that is violating the law or
the constitution . this is where we have seen time and time again that when you go through the channels as you call them, they don't resolve the problem. rather, they are kind of track. there was lower so into it and there flushed from the system. the complaints are very. the programs are short up and made even more secrets in the person who reported them had their life destroyed they lose their career and in some cases lose theirfreedom, their families . these are not hypotheticals. i can cite names if you want them but this is where we go all right, there's all this mess. how do we ensure the public interest is what's served. this is where the whistleblower takes an enormous amount of risk stepping outside of that system. to tell the public what they need to know. but in my case i didn't want to say i'm the president of secrets.
i'm a technologist. i could have put this on the internet or send it to wikileaks but i wanted to do something different because i've seen all the criticisms and allegations that had been put forward before . about so, this is going to causeharm to national security . people are going to die because of this . they saidthat about ellsberg , they say that about manning, theysay that about everyone . it never bears out and they never have evidence of it but they always claim it because they want to recontextualize thatconversation . from the concrete forms of their policies proven out by the revelations and instead talk about the theoretical risks of journalism in a free and open society. but that's why we have the first amendment. that's what the fourth estate is therefore to contest the government's monopoly on information area is to second-guess the government and go to the public need to know this i tried to play my part in it by acting as a source.
this means i didn't publish any documents. i still haven't published any documents. i provided evidence of what i believe to be unconstitutional behavior on behalf of violations of rights of americans and people around the world . and there's a journalist could sort through this. the journalists were granted access to this archive on the condition thatthey publish no story , simply because it's interesting or get clicks, they would only publish stories that bring public interest and it's an extraordinary measure before they publish these stories that would go to the government and give them a warning and an adversarial chance to argue against publication. that's to say if you publish this, this program is effective at saving lives, this matter or the other and then every story i'm aware of this process was followed. and i don't believe the government ever spiked the story successfully. because a lot of their claims bore out to not be true.
there were a few details. that were omitted from this story or that. i believe the process was still worth going through. this is why in 2019 six years after 2013 we have never seen any evidence of harm . >> they talk about the sky would fall with all your revelations. and nothing came to pass . >> they always say that area and they say the atmosphere is going to catch fire. the oceans are going to boil, we're all going to die people know how the government is breaking thelaw but they never want to substantiate that . why doyou think that is ? >> i want to add a footnote to the question at this point and then we will go to the way forward. when you talk about turning it over to journalists, the footnote i would add is when you and i have that conversation in moscow in january, it was a cold january where i was kind of interviewing you, you remember i was trying to figure out whether or not my organization would put its weight behind your cause.
that was the answer that convinced me to do so when you said i'm not going to self publish. i'm going to make sure that media organizations are making the decision at best for the public and they will have contestation of what is in the public interest in newsrooms, with editors interacting with the government . that's what convinced me to get behind you like a freight train. let's talk about theway forward . [applause] permanent record, ominous title. you talked about the fact that this generation is the first one to forever have a permanent record of their activities. is that where you think we are? is there any way you think we can recapture the golden age of the internet there was remarkable language about how you talked that the internet was a different thing then what you first came to know. it was a community without
limits, one voice and millions. a community side-by-side, highly monetized and yet regulated . not being exploited. you think we can get back to that golden age of the internet that you so relished in the1990s ? >> i think we don't need to. we don't need to move backwards. we always want to believe the previous generation things that were better there are always factors of it that were in fact better. when we progressed, we lose things but we also gain things. the internet that we lost, the internet that i grew up with was a creative and cooperative space instead of the commercial competitive space that we have today. it was not a system that was designed for exploitation. it was not an industry that
functioned on the basis of something calledsurveillance capitalism . that world hadn't even been imagined yet. that's what we have today. but we can create new spaces that are even better than what we had before. we can also improve the spaces that have been invaded by these antisocial forces. we don't want to go back in time. we don't need to do this whole thing, make the internet greatagain . what we need to remember is it's not the internet that presented the greatness, it was us. it was the community. it was the way we interacted with it and the only thing that's going to make the internet better today, the only thing that's going to make the future better today is not in an algorithm.
it's you. it's a new argument, a new action.it's the fact that people care and they say what wehave today is not good enough . they say i will not accept this and it's not enough to believe in something, you have to stand for something and i'm ready for things to change. >> since the years you revealed mass surveillance, do you see changes in laws and policies in europe and the us? do you think we are more on track now than we were back when you took a flight from honolulu and hong kong? talk about the last six years andwhether you feel it was worth it . >> when you look at everything that happened in the last six years of course it's mixed history. it's the story of humanity, it's a mixed history. but we've made progress and i think a lot of people give up hope because they see all the badness that has happened and the goodness is so hidden and obscured because so much of
technology today, particularly surveillance has been intentionally made into an expert conversation. the terms and topics have been chosen to exclude and the majority of people who have a stake in this because it's easier to control when there's fewer dissenting opinions. it's easier to influence when the only people who can have a meaningful conversation about it work for tech companies or lobbyists. but despite that, we have seen an extraordinary influx of new voices and we have seen this new participation result in new laws. after the revelations of 2015 we get the first reforms to intelligence law in theunited states . since the 1970s that actually restricted what the agencies could do ratherthan expand . it's not even close and thankfully your organization
is suing the government right now to try to make themfollow the constitution a bit more closely . but we have seen things that change the game more structurally. we've seen the productions of dataprotection and the european union , where they are less captured by the tech companies with what'scalled the general data protection regulation . this is an idea, it's fledgling. it's just being exploredand is not especially successful yet . but that we have a right of ownership to records of allah's, even if we don't hold, even if companies don't hold them. you can demand in europe that the companies show you every record they have on you and you can demand in most cases that the companies purge those records.
we don't get that in the united states. we are one of the only countries in an advanced democracy that does not have a basic privacy law.we have a fourth amendment of the fourth amendment restricts what the federal and state government does, it doesn't do anything to help you from facebook and google. moreover, beyond the law we have had technology itself change and this to get technical but it's covered in the book and much more depth for those of us who are interested i'll leave it off here but the idea is before i cameforward in 2013 the majority of the world to medications and think about this , you've got a laptop, you got a cell phone, you got a desktop, you pick up the phone and you don't know how that medication get frompoint a to point b . when you dial a number on your phone and you click send, how is it that only one phone in thewhole world rings ? how is it when you turn on location services , there's a little shows that your your.
how is it that when youturn location services are , there is no a record of where you are if you call 911 or anythinglike that . and it's all related. the idea is that cell phone networks have to know where every phone in the world is at all times your phone is ringing here i am, here i am really right now. even if you're not looking at it, not opening it and it's sitting quietly in yourpocket . and every cell phone tower around you is making a note going i see the cell phone, it's got this simple pardon, using this phone number, it's this kind of model the billing address is for this person goes we know we got credit card information. it was here at this time and then when you will, next cell phone tower etc. and they carry on and the thing is, all this information used to age off. all this information all the dumb things we set on the internet used to evaporate. but no longer. at&t eats those records going
all the way back to 2008. keep your calling records though the going all the way back to 87. he got a kid where youwere born after 1987, they have a recall you ever made .and this is kind of thing. all these communications to point a from point a to point b by crossing a network. it can be a cell phone tower, buried lines, it can hopscotch across the world or the satellites. it can be your cable modem. it can be an old-fashioned telephone line but it has to cross this pathand all the communications of the world tired 2013 , the majority of them are unencrypted. that means they were unprotected, crossing this path electronically naked . all the middlemen passed from point a to pointb, they can take pictures ofanything they saw . they could do anything . now after 13. all of the companies, all the search providers, everybody who saw this scandal as started armoring these communications and where not
protected yet, there's still a lot of unencrypted medications in the world but for internet traffic we got a few statistics on. through web browsers, as of last year and i don't have the most current statistics, more than 80 percent of web traffic through some of the world most popular browsers are now encrypted. now their armor as they cross hostile path and you didn't have to do anything for that to happen. when you look missing. we got advances in law, advances in technology and the most important one, the one everyone forgets is we have advances in awareness. the thing that 2013 was about was not surveillance, it was aboutdemocracy. the fact we were denied facts about what was going on and everybody for 2013 , there were professors, academics saying mass surveillance as
possible. they were saying theoretically this to be going on but no one had proven it was happening though the media, all this reporters, all the debates in congress had to treat the possibility as speculation. now it's back. that's what whistleblowers do. that's what this is about, that's democracy. changing our understanding from speculation to back because we as a democracy cannot survive . we can have a conversation or we cannot basically have a conversation about what we are going to do if we cannot agree as to what is happening in the first place. that's what's changed. now you can decide let me throw in a question that we got from an audience member that will dovetail nicely. person writes, you sued , to ensure that there will be systemic change. what do weas individuals do
this . as specifically as possible and then i'll throw in one . one additional question, what do you think about the topics of raking off ebay private tech companies. elizabeth warren has been running on a platform that we need to chop up facebook and twitter. that they are huge monopolies that there's monetary issues and also privacy and hacking of data. what you think about the idea of chopping up these big tech companies ? what can individual do on a personal level and what you think about senator warren's proposal to chop up the big tech companies? >> because we have limited time i'll leave the technical steps for what you can do to theinternet. if you want to search for this i got a like a lot of writing out there . there's not that i don't need to repeat it but the most important thing you can do is
to care. tell people you care. it is to understand why practice privacy matters, understand what privacy is and that every right we have in the bill of rights, it's understand every right that we and collectively at all derives from privacy. privacy is a foundation or the fountainhead of allrights . we have a right to a fair trial. because we recognize that we have a private interest in ourselves. that the state has overcome if they want to march us off to prison . when you think about private property, this is the right for something to belong to you rather than something to belong to society broadly. when you say the common refrain we hear so much today , i've got nothing to hide.
>> was one of the questions. the one right here how do you respond to people who aren't cold by government surveillance because they think they have nothing to hide ? >> it on my card. >> yes, look. when we look at these kind of things, thenothing to hide arguments . first off, it's what it means to have something to hide, it's saying you don't have anything hide is like saying you don't care about freedom of speech because you don't have anything to say . and more than a, not only says i'm an interesting, not only says i do not need protection now but i never will. >> ..
>> and that's not criminal but dangerous for go the whole right on a privacy right is you don't need something to hide to benefit you don't need to justify otherwise it's not a right, it is a privilege it is the intruder to be justified of their violation their intrusion into your space and into your life. privacy is simply the thing we used to call liberty. liaison violated space of
which these private sport loan - - forces are not supposed to enter and at the same time we have privacy is dead why do you care if privacy is dead then public power is dead. >> the second question i actually lost it. >> chalk it up to the big tech companies. >> right. it is interesting the progressive thinking on where the boundaries for privacy have been violated by corporate power come from the left because traditionally we think of the political right. but we see a lot of these
people that are pretending to be moderate and actually what they are doing is promoting an aggressive defense of the status quo. what we see to the left and the right generally are the authoritarian centers as long as corporations say this is necessary, whatever it is it could be committed to make the system more efficient. but look at our rights it's to make government less efficient and harder to govern so that's more free the people are. when they see the people on the left or the right, whoever they are say the influence of great institutions is pretty
wide. how do you retrieve these powers. and restore the balance. talking about morin or sanders or anybody else. >> we have a couple minutes of wind up. you talk about evolving so from what you see today would you have done anything differently? and then why you decided not to submit the manuscript for government review. why not follow about the rules they laid out in your contract? and then where you go forward
from here. >> i will start with a lawsuit. if you are not familiar, the government is suing me for violating a secrecy agreement. there's no secrecy. but would you enter onto duty at the cia you have the oath of surface where you stand in front of the flag and raise your right hand to say i swear to support not the agency or the president to support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies foreign and domestic. later in the day you sign a secrecy agreement. not a civil agreement just a piece of paper that says i will not do other things so at
the time that seems fair. you will be handling a lot of secrets. but then what happens when you realize these obligations come into conflict? what happens if the secret you have agreed to protect because you don't know the secret at the time is that the government is violating the constitution that you have not signed an agreement to protect but sworn an oath i hold the superior allegiances to the constitution but what the government call standard form 312 i think that is lower in the hierarchy. [laughter] but the government disagrees. so they have sued me. to make you have good lawyers? [laughter] >> i'm looking forward to the support of the american civil
liberties union. but i would have given the manuscript to the government in a heartbeat if it had classified information in it that they needed to review. and if i thought they would exercise their authorities in good faith. they are being sued right now by former aclu attorneys over a whole lot of government the cogs in the machine these are not major critics these are not whistleblowers and they are saying they can't get a fair shake. so what chance do you think i have? the government argues a lot but if they get my manuscript they would have returned the whole thing blacked out even my middle name. [laughter]
would you let the cia edit your life story? so the bottom line is they brought this lawsuit to seal the profits but the only think i think the government has accomplished is have more people read the book when the book launched on the very first day it sold out. amazon. you should be reading my books off of amazon anyway. [laughter] you should be supporting the independent bookstores and this is a great time to plug them or the library but i think today is the green light bookstore. help them out. [applause] >> anything you would have done differently? >> to turn back time
everything i learned in the process that would have come forward sooner. every day that i remained silent was a day that these programs expanded and entrenched and more and more difficult to reform. there was a time where whistleblower had come forward they would have been stopped. no doubt in my mind had they been exposed october 2004 george bush would not have been reelected by the way the new york times had that story in october 2004 and they did not run it and the election was that historically small margins at the request of the white house. i of course was there. i could not have done that but you see something the public needs to know when you could
wait for a hero but they are not going to because the person you're waiting for is you prick i hope that you will act and not wait. [applause] >> the final question for go back to the book you talk earlier about my career in the intelligence community was a short seven years which i am surprised to realize slightly longer than the time i've spent in exile in a country that was not my choice. so where'd you imagine you will be in ten or 20 years? you are 36 years old what is the way forward over the next 20 or 30 years?
>> there's an old saying that says a man leaves home to find his place in the world and he returns home to find it. returning to the united states will always be my goal. i've had a single condition even the trial is volunteering for prison under our laws but that single condition that the government guarantee a fair trial by guaranteeing access to a public interest offense the law they charge whistleblowers under is the espionage act which means the jury only considers one question was the law broken? if you gave a document that wasn't authorized to go to jail. we don't even hold murderers to the standard if you murder
someone it's two questions was the law broken and was a justified was it self-defense or were they defending someone else? was even this egregious violation a benefit to the public rather than a harm? the government and every whistleblowing case in the last 50 years have forbidden the jury to consider the question if the law was broken was it justified i believe that is a question in the united states that the jury's position to decide not the government. so when my country needs me i will return. >> we will be glad to see you back here. thank you very much. [applause]
>> thank you i would like to say one thing. it was a pleasure to speak with you tonight. for those who are not aware of history anthony from the aclu. >> i was going to cut you off. [laughter] he did an extraordinary thing in 2014. when the entire government was coming out swinging against myself with the mere idea the public have a right to know, he said if we are in a democracy we have to understand what the government is doing in our name and against us. that was a farsighted vision at the time and very unpopular to see that the government was just not asserting the espionage act but abusing it
to deny public access to the facts they needed to know. to that vision now years later all the work of the aclu since then all the work not under the obama administration but under the trump administration as well, this week with the vision of anthony romero seems prophetic. >> thank you very much. [applause] read the book you will think about your own life even if you fundamentally disagree with this man to say i can identify. they will be things that make you think about your life and your relationship to each
other, the internet, the future going forward and inspire you and tell a very human story of a very human man who i think has done us one of the greatest services of our generation. when we think going forward there are many people would charge that breaking laws were unjust nelson mandela was incarcerated. people that fought for the abolition of slavery broke the law. the nest - - the espionage act those that have been brought against ed's actions we will look back at this moment in ten or 20 or 30 years to have a larger group of people who understand just what you did was a real reflection.for go
thank you. i will follow up with you and see you soon it's been a while since we laid eyes on each other. also i read in want of your interviews how you could turn off the camera in the radio on your phone mind telegraphs everything i do or say right at this moment i need to give you my phone see you can fix it for me. [laughter] >> please stay engaged and by the book. if you want to make a point of the importance of privacy this is why it's on the top of the bestseller list for go thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
have any other interest russia goes like this china goes like this. and they will be at each other a little bit in the far east. they have almost nothing in common except they don't like us. but that's not enough to make a condominium out of. but with respect to the first we cannot afford to lose contact with the enemy or with russia it's important to keep talking. i am a little worried just because they think the wackiest things if you don't stay in contact with them those of you who have seen russians and they have told you of their intelligence services have told them what is going on you cannot just let that run amok.
but i'm sorry if this is the unpopular point a lot of people would not like to see the imf treaty go but my view was as secretary of defense i was look on the other side of the fence at short range missiles which we were not allowed to have but in europe and asia and now the chinese are getting ready to fire at us all the time we have nothing to fire back because it's a deal with the russians. that doesn't mean i want to walk but you don't forget that they did violate that and i know what to do if i'm given
that latitude and i assume my successor's successor will know what to do as well so from that military point of view it's not so bad >> good afternoon. director of partnerships here at the research council and it is my very great privilege to introduce today's lecture and the co-authors of the book why meadow died that people and policies that created the parkland shooting to endanger america's students and as a reminder to those of you in the audience we will be taking questions during the last 15 or 20 minutes we will let you know when we open it up it