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May 29 2014

“Sometimes You Have to Break the Law to Do the Right Thing”

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden met with NBC News’ Brian Williams in Moscow Hotel to talk about the revelations and his personal situation.

Edward Snowden: ‘If I could go anywhere that place would be home’

By Tom McCarthy, The Guardian

Snowden tells NBC it was his duty to reveal sprawling NSA surveillance but going home meant ‘walking into a jail cell’.

One year after revealing himself as the source of the biggest intelligence leak in US history, Edward Snowden appeared in a long network television interview on Wednesday to describe himself as an American patriot and to make the case that his disclosures were motivated by a desire to help the country.

In his most extensive public comments to date Snowden sought to answer critics who have said his actions damaged US national security or that the threat from the secret government surveillance he revealed was overblown. Snowden was interviewed by the NBC News anchor Brian Williams, who travelled to Moscow for the meeting.

Snowden defended his decision to leak documents to the press, instead of restricting his complaints to internal channels, and explained why he had decided for the moment not to travel back to the United States to face criminal charges.

NSA releases email in dispute over Snowden ‘internal whistleblowing’

• Leaker says he raised surveillance concerns internally

• Agency: email ‘did not raise allegations or concerns’

The National Security Agency has disputed Edward Snowden’s insistence that he made efforts to raise his concerns about its surveillance practices internally before he decided to go public.

Releasing an email exchange it claimed to be the only record it could find of such an effort by Snowden, the agency said on Thursday he was merely “asking for an explanation of some material that was in a training course he had just completed”.

Six months ago, the agency issued a statement saying it had “not found any evidence to support Mr Snowden’s contention that he brought these matters to anyone’s attention”.

Top NSA officials struggled over surge in Foia requests, emails reveal

By Jason Leopold, The Guardian

• Snowden leaks prompted thousands of open record requests

• Top agency officials discussed how to fend off Foia inquiries

National Security Agency officials wrestled for weeks with how to respond to an unprecedented surge in open records requests from members of the public in the wake of the first mass surveillance revelations from Edward Snowden almost a year ago.

Newly released NSA emails, obtained by the Guardian under a Freedom of Information Act (Foia) request filed last November, reveal that top officials discussed how to fend off journalists, advocacy groups and individuals who flooded the agency with more than 1,000 requests between 5 June and 25 June last year for classified data related to the former contractor’s disclosures. [..]

The NSA is one of the few US government agencies virtually exempt from open records laws because its activities are considered properly classified under a presidential executive order and many Foia exemptions.

But since details about the NSA’s vast surveillance activities were no longer a secret thanks to Snowden’s disclosures, the agency didn’t know how to respond to requesters.

Internal discussions took place between a newly formed media leaks taskforce, NSA’s public affairs office, the office of general counsel, the policy and records division and the Foia office.

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