tv QA with Edward Jay Epstein CSPAN February 12, 2017 11:00pm-12:02am EST
prime minister theresa may taking questions from members of the house of commons. later a discussion on trade policy in the future of nafta. ♪ >> this week on "q&a," edward jay epstein discusses his book "how america lost its secrets: edward snowden, the man and the theft." >> edward jay epstein, in your opinion, why did president obama pardon edward snowden? dr. epstein: president obama, in this case was the man who knew too much. unlike the world of journalism, the world of presidents, they have access to the findings of
our own intelligence communities, the cia, the nsa, that the eye. so he knew without a doubt that snowden was lying when he came -- claims that the u.s. government, specifically obama, tracked him in moscow. he knew he was lying when he said he had no contact with russian intelligence. he knew snowden was lying when he said he had only taken whistleblowing documents. so it is not even compassion, and no present to give him a pardon, and he did not give him a pardon. >> your book, called "how america lost its secrets: edward snowden, the man and the theft," when did you get interested in doing this story? dr. epstein: i have always been interested in espionage. i temporarily interrupted my interest when the cold war ended.
it was suddenly announced that someone had stolen communication secrets, and facts snowden admitted it on video. there was no whodunit, and went to russia. this interested me because it was a potential -- i stress the word potential -- espionage case. i became involved in 2013, shortly after the theft. >> how many countries did you go to to do the stories? dr. epstein: japan, where snowden had works, hawaii, the scene of the crime. russia, of course, where he ended up. so i would say three different countries. >> as you know, a lot of reviewers -- there is a whole group of people that do not
think you have done a fair job. they think you are biased. the front page the book review in the "new york times," by nick lennon, he says you don't know what you are talking about. what is going on with the negative journalism? dr. epstein: i have been concerned with a single issue -- how unverified information becomes established as conventional wisdom. it started with the warren commission, went on to the black panthers, and of course soviet disinformation. in all of these years, i have never seen a case where the snowden case -- so uncritically, journalists have accepted information from a single source, edward snowden, who is in moscow under the control of
the russian government. so what i am doing here is questioning the validity of that single source. so many journalists have tied the reputation -- the author of that review was the head of the pulitzer prize committee that gave pulitzer prizes to several authors. the reaction to me is what business you have disturbing the peace? what business do you have saying the conventional knowledge is wrong? they have a perfect right to question my facts, to even question my motives. but my motives are clear. i am doing exactly what "the new york times" review said i was doing. i'm not taking at face value the story of edward snowden, and i am basically looking at what the government, which has access to information that journalists don't, what the government has found about snowden.
>> i don't want to put words in your mouth, but is this a case where the liberal point of view says he is a whistleblower and the conservative point says he committed treason? dr. epstein: there is a rift here, a great divide. i am not sure it is only the liberals. i think the general wisdom has gone being on the liberal/right wing. i think there is a libertarian streak, a privacy streak, and a commitment to journalism as a religious institution, where you have to have faith in other journalists. if a journalist wins the pulitzer prize, they have to somewhat know what they are talking about, even though i am trying to say that the emperor morneau close. all of these journalists, they had only a single source other than the documents. the documents are legitimate, but aside from that the
narrative comes entirely from snowden. >> what do you think of him? dr. epstein: snowden? i think he was a disgruntled employee who didn't like the nsa. he was working for a private company. he started more like you said he started. he held anti-surveillance parties in hawaii, got angrier and angrier, and left with the documents. he wound up in the situation in hong kong where you are what russia -- where his only in was to russia. he went to russia, and the home of the russian intelligence services hands, and they are going to squeeze them. that is what they do. that is what we would do in reverse situation. i never interviewed snowden, not that that would help, and i only know the same things from the video clips that everyone else
has seen. >> how hard did you try to interview him? dr. epstein: i went to moscow twice. i met with his lawyer in moscow, who was very helpful but said his aclu lawyer in america has the keys to seeing snowden. i went to that lawyer, wrote to him, and he said that snowden declined to see me. so that is as far as i went. >> when all of this became public in "the guardian," "the washington post," there was an interview with snowden. let's watch a little bit of that from 2013. >> my name is ed snowden.
i am 29 years old. i work for booth allen hamilton as an infrastructure analyst for nsa in hawaii. >> what are some positions you have held previously you go -- previously? >> senior adviser for the central intelligence av solutions control center, and telecommunication system officer. >> who is this fellow? >> in the clips we have just seen, he tells a lie. he said he was a senior advisor to the cia. what he was was a communications officer, what is called a hack, working at the cia for two years and was actually forced out. he was not a senior adviser, but that is not my complaint. the interesting thing about this
video is that he made it. if snowden had gone directly to moscow or if any intelligence officers had gone directly to moscow, a narrative would be established. u.s. intelligence workers steal secrets, go to moscow. but he stopped in hong kong and made this video. supplying, just as we have seen, alternative video where the self-interested party identifies himself as a whistleblower. from this video and the story he told, i think he was honestly reported. i have no complaints against the journalists who took this single source, a great story, and ran with it because the government did not immediately respond. they were shellshocked, and people found they were not
credible. they did not like the u.s. government. at that point, the story became established. this is the way he established his narrative. >> how much did he move up the database at the nsa and how did he do it? dr. epstein: despite what snowden says and despite what his supporters say based on what he says, he removed 1.5 million documents, a vast patch of secret documents. the way i know this is this is in the report of the house permanent select committee on intelligence, signed by all the democrats and all the republicans. these members of this commission had only one source essentially, and that was the u.s. intelligence community.
they read the damage reports, ok? that is my source. the more interesting question is what was the intelligence damage assessments based on? each compartment from which snowden stole information how to had a log, and the log said when he copied, selected, and moved the documents, so that is how they knew the minimum number of documents he moved. but where he was working, he had what was called a thin computer. that is a computer without any storage capabilities or ports, so you cannot make copies because it was such a high-security facility. so he had to move the information with this workstation to a server and from that server, where he raced the data, he had to move it -- erase
the data, he had to move it to another computer which was approximately 20 miles away where he had previously worked. to a thick computer that had ports so he could make some drives -- thumb drives or external drives. so the nsa -- or the apartment -- department of defense, was able to trace the movement of information, how much he moved, and when he moved from one computer to another. that is how they came to the 1.5 million. >> how did he pick the journalists -- how did he pick those people to release this to? dr. epstein: he wrote to laura poitras, who had been making anti-nsa films, and said you selected yourself because of the
work you had done. he picked them because he knew they would be on his side. he knew they were actually all courageous reporters. laura poitras made films which she found, and she believed that she was under surveillance with good reason, possibly. and glenn greenwald was her friend, became a co-author and cowriter. he also wrote to lenox about the nsa, and this pulitzer prize author who had also been writing about surveillance. he knew three people would be sympathetic to what he was about to do, and in his first communications with them, he lied to them. he said he was a government employee -- which he was not --
who is a senior member of the intelligence community -- which he was not. he did not belong. 17 agencies make up the intelligence community and he did not belong to any of them. he was a security administrator from an outside contractor of the nsa. >> the three people that were involved, this is from a "new york times" hosted skype discussion among the three. here is the first reaction of mark. >> [indiscernible] to latin america, where he was on a train to russia.
the government canceled his passport, and [indiscernible] he deliberately did not bring any of the documents with him to russia come up with the express purpose of making sure that he could not he compelled to disclose them. he didn't bring any of those documents. >> i am holding some tweets back from early january from mark ellman about your book. have you read those? dr. epstein: no, i don't do twitter. >> these are quite critical. he was talking to -- about things that you dispute. dr. epstein: this is a good illustration of the snowden narrative. he destroyed all his material because he went to russia. he did not transfer any material
to the cloud or anything. snowden gave the russians nothing. this all comes and can only come from a single source, and that is snowden. now gelman is repeating what snowden said. what i found is the opposite. i will give you four bits of evidence -- direct bits of evidence that we may not believe, but they come from witnesses. first, vladimir putin. he said snowden had contacted russian diplomats, who authorized him -- snowden to come to russia. so he was in contact with russian officials. secondly, anatoly gujarati, when asked if snowden had given all
his documents to journalists in hong kong, he said no, he gave only some of them. when asked whether snowden had brought -- he was in moscow at the time -- he brought documents to moscow or had them in moscow, undisclosed documents were secret material, i should be per -- precise. and he said yes. >> and this is his lawyer? dr. epstein: yes. we had overseas intelligence -- france, others who said snowden shared his intelligence with russian intelligence.
they said that is when intelligence -- what intelligence services do. i think he was correct. and we of the house select committee report -- have the house select committee report, which says snowden was in contact with russian intelligence after he arrived in moscow, and continues to be in contact with them. this report was declassified in december 22, 2016. whatever snowden brought or did not bring to moscow, he had the grids in his head. he said he did -- secrets in his head. he said he did. he said he could make the nsa go dark. he said the same thing to gelman and everyone else, so the russians knew he had secrets in his head.
the assertion that he gave nothing to the russian, the assertion we have seen in that video, comes from snowden, and i don't believe snowden. >> where is he right now? dr. epstein: snowden is in moscow at an undisclosed location, under the protection of the russian government. >> mark gilman and his tweets, i will redo a couple of them. this is january the first -- read you a couple of them. no time, space, or inclination. past a certain point, that faith work doesn't marry the effort -- merit the effort. dr. epstein: the ad hominem attacks -- i can't really say very much about gellman. he has a basically almost religious commitment to his
faith in the person who gave him this pulitzer prize. they believe in him. when you are go -- argue with someone with faith, you are automatically wrong because you are violating what they believe in. i think this is become it religious matter. that's a religious matter. anyone who contradicts snowden, gellman also attacked them with the same vicious comments. >> he said it was an awful report. dr. epstein: they declassified report, and the summary of the report, and having not read the report, he attacked it with the same slurs he attacked me with. here is a specific. >> you can answer this one. he says in another tweet
"snowden, epstein's book says, reached unreachable level three secret that only a spy could want. there is no such category at the nsa." in your book is a level 1, 2, and three. he says there is no such thing. dr. epstein: this comes from the former director of the nsa, the former director of intelligence, michael mcconnell, in which he says there were four levels. the first level is administrator document, the second level is documents or material from which the source has been removed, which is what they circulate. the third level, i call a level three, he might call it the third tier, is information that still has the sources included
in them, and the fourth level is so secret that mcconnell cannot say in the wall street journal what it is. so there is level three, whether it is called tier three, third tier, whatever. >> there is this clip of glenn greenwald talking -- what harm has the release of this all this done? what the specific arm has it done to this country and the people? dr. epstein: two different worlds. in the world of intelligence, 1.5 million documents were removed. 50,000 of them, roughly, work -- were given to journalists. we don't know what happened to the rest, whether he gave them to the russians, whether the chinese make copies of them in hong kong, we don't know. but the intelligence is
compromised. it is not that they will check down the channel, but they will use it to tell you misinformation. as if the mafia found out the fbi was tapping a phone, it wouldn't unplug the phone because they would cap another phone, they would keep talking over it. damages harder to assess and the intelligence world. the second is the world of counterterrorism. there, we can assess the damage. one of the programs is called 702, prism, one of the programs basically was intercepting the internet, foreign internet abroad while it was still unencrypted. they were able to do that through the structure of the internet, because it takes about 90% of the material through the
united states on the latest companies like google, facebook, twitter, whatever. those companies encrypt it. but before it gets to them, it is in plain text. the nsa was intercepting those and intercepting communications between bomb makers in pakistan and operatives in america who were going to set up the bombs. one example of the pakistan bomb maker communicating with an american of afghan descent in colorado who was planning to blow up penn station, grand central station, on september 11, 2009. this information was shared with you the i -- fbi, and the guy was arrested before he could detonate the bomb. that tragedy was averted because the program was still secret. they didn't know their messages
were being intercepted in this way. when snowden publicly revealed it, and revealed it in the video of hong kong which we have seen here, once he revealed it they switched to end to end encryption. they began encouraging it -- encrypting it from the moment it was sent from their phone to when it was received by the operative. so now the nsa and all of its allies lost the vantage of finding out in advantage of what terrorists were up to. so that can be measured. >> glenn greenwald, from the same conversation that was held through "the new york times." >> he published many pokers of top-secret -- hundreds of top-secret documents, and [indiscernible] of what was non-newsworthy but
will avoid harming innocent people. i think we have done a very good job of that, and the proof of that -- there is zero. not a little bit, but zero, that the series -- stories have caused harm to individuals or endanger national security in any way. it is the same terms of transparency that no other specific harm has come to freedom. dr. epstein: what grand -- glenn ringwald is saying is that the documents they published did not compromise any intelligence operation. a very respected blog, which is partly sponsored by brookings institute, found that was not
true. they had compromised military secrets, agents names, blown ongoing operations, given away basis, compromised allies like british and in raise israeli -- israeli intelligence services, and they can be found on that blog. i would answer very simply that my comp rising the prism program, -- compromising the prism program, part of the riser -- pfizer act it refers to. they basically compromise the entire war on terrorism. i am not sure if glenn greenwald did, because snowden had
compromised in his video from hong kong. i would attribute it to greenwald, and i think he is doing what he says he is doing. he is publishing documents that he thinks expose secrets. i am not blaming him for doing that. i don't blame us on -- assange. once documents get weeks, stolen in this case, and given to journalists, i think we accept that journalists will publish them, even if it is buzzy -- buzz feed publishing a dossier from an undisclosed source. i think that is what glenn greenwald did. >> he lives in brazil, and writes for "the guardian" newspaper in london? dr. epstein: he moved to brazil
for personal reasons. he is, i believe, still based there. i am much or he is still writing for "the guardian." he has his own website called intercept -- internet by billionaire, and i think he spends most of his articles. >> did you ever speak to him? dr. epstein: no. >> the next versus desk person is laura poydras. what you know about her? dr. epstein: she is a documentary filmmaker who, during the iraq war, was unfairly suspected of collaborating with the iraqi extremists, al qaeda. i do not think she was.
and she was then on a watchlist and tracked, and got more and more concerned about the security of herself. she was spending five years on a project to investigate the nsa, and she made a documentary, which i have seen and i like, called "citizen for," and again i think are documentary honestly reflected what snowden said. it was fairly edited and i think she deserves the oscars she won. >> this is from 2015 from the canadian broadcasting corporation -- 2015 from the
brian: this is 2015 from the canadian broadcasting corporation. brian: thank you and be careful, citizen for -- four. brian: my name is edward snowden. >> my name is edward snowden. >> were you suspicious of the sender of the emails in the beginning? >> i knew that was legitimate it would be dangerous, and i had to be very careful.
brian: he literally asked if you are trying to trick him? brian: he literally asked how to i know this is not entrapment? dr. epstein: the documentary -- she used her emails snowden sent her. in those emails, he begins by lying that he is a government employee. you can see him at manipulating her by saying you are under surveillance, and in those emails she sewed how she contacted greenwald and gelman. she put together what later became his network. she explains how they came to hong kong and interviewed him, and you see what you provided was his alternative narrative. it is a narrative i don't accept because it comes from a single source, and the single source went to russia. brian: you open up your book, among other things, with a quote from bill cs 80 -- from dots from doetskyetsky. why? epstein: he is committing a
horrible crime, murder. he never planned to do it and his anger at the system becomes such that innocent people suffer. brian: the quote is "there are certain persons who are perfect right to commit breaches of morality and crimes, and a law is not for them." dr. epstein: that is the position of snowden, greenwald, and gellman. a single person, in this case snowden, is justified in knowing what information will be secret and which information be sacred. in america, we have a president who is elected. we have congressional committees that do oversight of the intelligence community. we have a huge compliance machine of literally thousands of people in the nsa. the compliance is not only the nsa, but the inspector general, department of defense inspector general, a team from the department of justice and a committee that reports directly
to the president. it is not perfect, but the same individual who is not even working for the nsa, but for a private company, says he will declassify all of the secrets. i don't care. lot of thetake a secrets with me, to hong kong. which is part of china. and i will go to russia. that is no more than a character then that in "crime and punishment." brian: what in his background did you find interesting? dr. epstein: snowden -- let me when i investigated lee harvey oswald, i found friends of his from high school, friends of his from the marine corps, from workplaces, about 87 people who spoke to me and became part of my book. with snowden, it was the exact
opposite. yes, he dropped out of high school in his first year. i cannot find any people who could say anything about him. i couldn't find anyone in the military because new privacy laws made it very impossible. brian: he was in the military? dr. epstein: for about four months yeah. brian: why did he leave? dr. epstein: he says he left because he injured his feet in a parachute jump maybe, i don't know. it just says he was not fit for the military. he then joined the cia, and there i have more information about him, because basically what happened in the cia is that he began violating their rules. different forms of hacking into computers, and they basically said unless you resign, we are going to start an investigation
of you, which would have basically destroyed him, even if they found he was innocent. he resigned from the cia, and in the nsa was looking at his postings on the internet. he was a very unhappy employee. brian: what is the difference between the cia and the nsa? dr. epstein: the cia is a foreign intelligence service. the nsa has two missions. one is to protect internet communications, internet, telephone, government communications. all american communications. the second started out as code breaking, but has evolved into basic intercepting of all electronic communications, the
entire spectrum, wherever they are, and it is the queen on the chessboard because every other american intelligence service and our allies depend on the nsa to verify what their spies or found out out during different ways. they need to intercept through some phone conversation, internet communication, or some telemetry, so the nsa is basically a super spy agency. it is limited to foreign intelligence. it is not supposed to do any surveillance on persons in america. brian: cia? dr. epstein: no. the cia is also limited that it cannot do surveillance in america, but the fbi can go from anywhere. brian: from your knowledge, how much does this country spend on
intelligence? dr. epstein: snowden published budgets from 2012, and i would say you could not be wrong with a guess of $10 billion. it might be much greater than that depending on how you define homeland security, but $10 billion, $20 billion, a lot of money. it is secret i should say, secret from me. brian: is that a black budget? dr. epstein: it is a black budget. how we deal with government secrets is they are not secret from congress. congress appoints to committees since 1978, house and senate, since the church investigation. permanent subcommittees which have the classifications necessary to look at the black budgets. but yes, they are secret from the public. brian: i want to show you some video of the last time i saw you, when you did a book on arm
hammer, here is 1996 in december. brian: what you do for a living? dr. epstein: i am an author. brian: what are the kind of things your written about over the years? dr. epstein: i have written books on conspiracy and intrigue. the kennedy assassination, the cia, the kgb. i have also written books about business, the rise and fall of diamonds, the takeovers, mergers, and acquisitions, and books but the media. brian: what year did you do "news from nowhere?" dr. epstein: that was my phd thesis at harvard, so my investigation where i sat in different networks was done from 1969-1971, and the thesis was
finished in 1972, 1973, and published in 1974. brian: when did you graduate from cornell? dr. epstein: 1964, i left for a few years, graduated late, but -- brian: what is the story as you working for the author of working for -- nabokov, the author of "lolita"? dr. epstein: i was a sophomore. i was taking his class, and he asked me if i would like to go to the movie theaters and give him a short review of four movie theaters in the best if,
and tell him what the best movie was playing because he and his wife only had time for one. we're talking now 60 years ago or so, it was a long time. brian: what do you remember him best about him the most? dr. epstein: i remember all of his lectures, because he was dynamic lecturer, and his wife would never turn to me, she would keep looking at her husband. and i would stand there. behind her. and only once did she turn and look at me. and that was when i said something very stupid about the movie "queen of spades," i still regret saying it. and i admit it was incredibly stupid. when i said it reminded me of
and he gotble] -- very interested because he was thinking of some connection and ask you why and i honestly replied, "because they are both russian." anduld see his face drop she looked at me like "what kind and i stillare you" regret that. brian: you said this book, it's "how america lost its secrets: edward snowden, the man and the theft." what number is that? brian: i think it is my 15th long book published by a publisher. brian: have you been able to make above money over the years -- have you been able to make enough money over the years to survive?
dr. epstein: yes. brian: did you have to do other things along the way geico dr. epstein: -- way? dr. epstein: i like doing other things. i have done other things, written columns for manhattan inc. and for slate on different subjects, business in hollywood, but i have supported myself through my books. through my books. brian: do you still live in new york city? dr. epstein: the same apartment you visited me in new york city when you were taking photographs for your book. brian: that was a long time ago. anyway, let's go back to this other story, and here is oliver stone and a clip of him talking. i will ask you what your interaction was with him. >> at the age of 21-years-old, when he did is stunning to me because no matter what you think of him, it takes tremendous kurds to turn your back on a life that is spoiling you. good money, jobs, and physicians, and on top of that he has home -- positions, and on top of that he has a home in hawaii, on the go to list, and he is making more money than he ever made, and he felt that they wrote this constitution and blood. -- in blood.
they meant it. these guys were not joking. it is not some old piece of paper. that is a good point to make. the nsa has its own set of laws and he broke those laws but he that broke his oath to constitution and many courts have supported that because they say it has been on constitutional. brian: what did you think about his movie "snowden?" dr. epstein: oliver stone is very interesting and very good filmmaker. i thought in "snowden," he basically did what he does in his movies. his movies are fiction. documentary, this is a fictional portrayal. even when he does his reaction of the movie, and you can see in
on the internet, he adds scenes to her moving. scenes, for example, in which snowden destroys his computer in front of laura poor dress and then great blog. of course, if you done that we would've seen it in the movie. scenes. if you ask him about it in a q&a he says, this is action. and it is fiction. once he labels it fiction, he is entitled to make the movie as he likes. one thing i do like about his movie and the reason i recommended is it best encapsulates the false narrative of snowden. he did spend a lot of time with snowden. she paid one might dollars, or paid $1 million
to the arena had to give him access not only to snowden but as he told me, to block the access for a competing movie that was going to be made by sony and mgm. so he did have access. story, butsnowden's again, if you accept snowden's story, case closed. snowden gives his story in which he supplied no information to anyone but journalists. that is contradicted by even russians and it is basically i troop.hink, so it is not that i do not believe oliver stones movie but i do not believe snowden. and i willmentioned ask you, how much of this is tied to a group of people that all kind of reinforce each
other. when you go back to nick levin, who used to run the columbia journalism school and it was a negative review in your book, front-page new york times on a sunday and mark gelman, who has some of the documents, got a pulitzer prize, and charlie savage, who did a long piece, a new york times reporter in the new york review of books and then you throw in oliver's down they all seem to think about the same thing. you are the first one to come along to give another side to it. nickuch of that is tied to levin and seeing the pulitzer prize over it. dr. epstein: i would not include nick levin, because this is what he said. the ideas i do think fit into a certain circle.
the snowden circle, they have whatd their reputations on snowden says and it strikes me as -- it puzzles me that the same people, journalists in america, that embrace the findings of u.s. intelligence that the russians were behind the hacks of the democratic national committee and other thes that influenced election, that while they would accept these findings they reject the same findings, all which are in the house select completely.port not to mention of course, reject my book, because when i am saying is the entire book says one thing. aboutnventional was to snowden is wrong. it is based on a single source. it is based on snowden.
he is not only a self-interested party but the resident -- the russians now have created the myth of snowden. tweets aboutling american surveillance from russia. so i think there is a commitment, not a political commitment but a commitment to receive wisdom of the press. put this int to context. this is from july of 2015 in the middle of the presidential campaign. it is our now-president donald trump. pres. trump: i think he is a total traitor, and i would deal with impartially. i would get along with putin. i have dealt with russia. he would be absolutely fine. he would never keep someone like snowden in russia. he hates obama, does not respect
obama, and obama has no like for him either. he has no respect for obama. president, he would be done. i guarantee you that. dr. epstein: what president trump is saying is that putin did not, unlike other spies who got caught or leakers who got caught, he did not face a court process. he didn't face justice. instead, he basically went to an adversary nation in took the benefits of going there. i don't use words ever like "traitor." they are legal concepts. i do believe that snowden e*trade his oath to protect. he thought he was above the law.
he thought the constitution said he was above the law. in "crime and punishment," one of the characters believed he was above the law. there is a moral duty that goes beyond the law. whatever he believed, he betrayed secrets which basically war onlarge part of the terrorism, and blue all the nsa and the the department of defense, nine hundred thousand military documents, all the sources they believed, rightly or wrongly, that he had compromise. because once a source compromised, you have to kill it and find some way to replace it. so he did the enormous damage. i do not even know if his supporters say he didn't know damage. they say he did enormous good. that is their view. maybe he did some good, he started a national conversation anti-opened up a subject of interest.
but i think where trump is certainly right is that this man has not faced justice and he deserves to face justice, whatever we decide that is. i mean, the jury acquitted o.j. simpson, they might acquit him. i don't know. brian: you had cameras following you around in moscow, hong kong, and so on. who were they and what is going to happen to that material? dr. epstein: two very talented filmmakers are making a documentary about me. they have completed it. they actually as fate may have it, they begin the documentary with your 1996 interview of me. in any case, in the documentary they wanted to see how i went about by investigation. so yes, they followed the around on certain parts of my trip to andn, hong kong, to moscow
-- brian: where we going to see this? dr. epstein: they have to arrange distribution. it is not my film, it is their film. i am just an actor in a film about myself. about myself. brian: what do you think will happen to edward snowden? dr. epstein: that is a good question, and i can only say that i hope he is treated well in russia, because he is now a russian asset. i do not think the russians would ever return him to america he even if donald trump would give him a pardon, i do not think they would return them because he knows too much. in the intelligence game, it is not what you know, it is what your opponent does not know you
know. he would certainly be debriefed in a very intensive way if he would return to america and he would say what he actually did tell the russians, which would help us. so i do not think you will come back and i hope the russians do not do anything to eliminate him. brian: one fact in her, you taught me something i didn't know, and if you watch "russia there is a program called sir," and i had no idea that that woman has a frameless grandfather. famous grandfather. dr. epstein: yes. her grandfather was the president of georgia, a very distinguished person in the cold war. i found her -- i spoke to her because her interview with kluge arena, 10 weeks after snowden came to russia,
snowden's lawyer, 10 weeks before he came to russia, was the last interview. i was the only journalist that he saw after sophie, at least that i know of. and so, because in this interview, which is before the narrative took on this extra act that he destroyed all of his information. because before this, they had not spoken on the subject. snowden himself that he build a -- had emailed a former u.s. senator, humphries. brian: gordon humphries. dr. epstein: yes. brian: how did he get into this? dr. epstein: the republican from new hampshire. he had apparently shown some support for snowden, and as in the book, snowden emailed him back from moscow, saying the intelligence he had was secure, whatever that meant.
so but even there, he did not say "i destroyed everything. oh he said it was secure in his communications. at the point that sophie interviewed the lawyer, it was a wide-ranging interview about his personality, it wasn't a hard-hitting interview. she asked him whether he had given all his documents to journalists, and he said no. he made it very clear to her that he only gave them some, as i said earlier, and then she asked him -- rather surprised, she said so, you still have undisclosed documents? and the lawyer answered is whynly are coal which i flew to moscow to see him.
brian: he is a russian lawyer? dr. epstein: he is a friend of vladimir putin. lawyer for vladimir putin's party. brian: how did snowden get the money for his lawyer? dr. epstein: there are different versions. eventually snowden says he saved up the money and brought it with him in cash to pay for his time in russia. if you carry a lot of cash on airplanes and you have stolen a lot of secrets and have external hard drives and things like that, you are taking a risk. but that is with snowden says. what the lawyer told me is that snowden has no money. he is absolutely broke and needs money, and he was speaking in
russians i am giving my interpretation. he desperately needs money, so if you want to send him some money i will provide you with his defense committee. i will give you wiring instructions. and then, you know, a third possibility is that since he has defected to russia and it is traditional to pay defectors, we certainly do, the russian government is paying for his apartment, bodyguard, and whatever other facility he needs. he has a broadcasting studio. zone broadcasting studio in his home or apartment or wherever he lives. nobody knows where he lives. oliver stone doesn't know, and oliver stone got as close to him as anyone. brian: we are out of time. there is a lot more in this book. it is called "how america lost its secrets: edward snowden, the man and the theft," and our guest has been edward jay epstein. thank you very much. dr. epstein: thank you for a great interview.
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program, here are some others you might enjoy. new york times reporter james risen on his book, which looks at the cost of the war on terror around the world and in the u.s. there is also author tim weiner talking about his book on the fbi and its history of fighting terrorists and spies. and journalist scott shane, who in a 2013 new york times story wrote about a former c.i.a. officer convicted of disclosing classified information to a reporter. you can find those interviews online at c-span.org. announcer: c-span's "washington journal," live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up monday morning, a political white house reporter takes a look at the week ahead on white house and capitol hill. then the partnership for public service ceo will be with us to discuss the presidential nomination process, social media communication, and trump administration's federal employee hiring freeze. also washington examiner
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