Snowden cheers on increasing pace of government leaks

Snowden cheers on increasing pace of government leaks
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Edward Snowden cheered on the increasingly swift pace of government leaks that are giving the public access to reams of official secrets.

Snowden wrote in an article for The Intercept that in the past it took years or even decades for classified data to make their way to news outlets. But now, secrets can be made public almost instantaneously — an evolution that has deeply frustrated government officials.

“We are witnessing a compression of the working period in which bad policy shelters in the shadows,” Snowden said.

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“And this temporal compression has a significance beyond the immediate headlines; it permits the people of this country to learn about critical government actions, not as part of the historical record but in a way that allows direct action through voting — in other words, in a way that empowers an informed citizenry to defend the democracy that ‘state secrets’ are nominally intended to support.”

In his op-ed, which was extracted from a book published by Intercept staff detailing U.S. drone operations, Snowden vehemently defends his leak of massive amounts of data about U.S. surveillance. The former National Security Agency contractor fled the country immediately before handing the information over to journalists, and he now lives in Russia to avoid federal charges in the U.S.

Putting secret evidence of wrongdoing into the public domain is the only way to promote change, he said.

“Unrestrained power may be many things, but it’s not American,” he wrote. “It is in this sense that the act of whistleblowing increasingly has become an act of political resistance. The whistleblower raises the alarm and lifts the lamp, inheriting the legacy of a line of Americans that begins with Paul Revere.”