Snowden ‘humbled’ by success

 

Government leaker Edward Snowden thinks the U.S. has notched a slew of successes to rein in surveillance since his first leaks one year ago, but the work is not done yet.  

In an email to supporters of the American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday, one year after the first story was published based on his National Security Agency (NSA) documents, Snowden said he is “humbled by our collective successes so far.

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“When the Guardian and The Washington Post began reporting on the NSA’s project to make privacy a thing of the past, I worried the risks I took to get the public the information it deserved would be met with collective indifference,” he wrote. “One year later, I realize that my fears were unwarranted.”

Snowden praised the broad public outrage about government snooping, which has led one federal judge to call it “almost Orwellian” and inspired calls for reform from all levels of government, including President Obama. Tech companies have also made pledges to beef up security for users of the Internet, which Snowden has described as a critical way for the public to avoid prying eyes. 

“America has always been an ideal, and though I’m far away, I’ve never felt as connected to it as I do now, watching the necessary debate unfold as I hoped it would,” he wrote.

Still, more work is left to be done, Snowden said.

He called for supporters of the ACLU, which is providing him legal assistance, to “keep the momentum for serious reform going so the conversation does not die prematurely.”

One area where reformers are looking for more action is Congress, which is still working on legislation to end the NSA’s bulk collection of people’s information.

The House passed a version of the USA Freedom Act last month, but many civil liberties advocates feared it had been too watered down at the request of the Obama administration and intelligence hawks in Congress.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is holding a hearing on the bill on Thursday afternoon.