Mr Snowden did you sleep well the last couple of nights because I was reading that you asked for a kind of police protection. Are there any threats?
There are significant threats but I sleep very well. There was an article that came out in an online outlet called Buzz Feed where they interviewed officials from the Pentagon, from the National Security Agency and they gave them anonymity to be able to say what they want and what they told the reporter was that they wanted to murder me. These individuals - and these are acting government officials. They said they would be happy, they would love to put a bullet in my head, to poison me as I was returning from the grocery store and have me die in the shower
But fortunately you are still alive with us.
Right but I'm still alive and I don't lose sleep because I’ve done what I feel I needed to do. It was the right thing to do and I’m not going to be afraid.
"The greatest fear I have", and I quote you, "regarding the disclosures is nothing will change." That was one of your greatest concerns at the time but in the meantime there is a vivid discussion about the situation with the NSA; not only in America but also in Germany and in Brazil and President Obama was forced to go public and to justify what the NSA was doing on legal grounds.
What we saw initially in response to the revelations was sort of a circling of the wagons of government around the National Security Agency. Instead of circling around the public and protecting their rights the political class circled around the security state and protected their rights. What’s interesting is though that was the initially response, since then we’ve seen a softening. We’ve seen the President acknowledge that when he first said "we’ve drawn the right balance, there are no abuses", we’ve seen him and his officials admit that there have been abuses. There have been thousands of violations of the National Security Agency and other agencies and authorities every single year.
Is the speech of Obama the beginning of a serious regulation?
It was clear from the President’s speech that he wanted to make minor changes to preserve authorities that we don’t need. The President created a review board from officials that were personal friends, from national security insiders, former Deputy of the CIA, people who had every incentive to be soft on these programs and to see them in the best possible light. But what they found was that these programs have no value, they’ve never stopped a terrorist attack in the United States and they have marginal utility at best for other things. The only thing that the Section 215 phone metadata program, actually it’s a broader metadata programme of bulk collection – bulk collection means mass surveillance – program was in stopping or detecting $ 8.500 wire transfer from a cab driver in California and it’s this kind of review where insiders go we don’t need these programs, these programs don’t make us safe. They take a tremendous amount of resources to run and they offer us no value. They go "we can modify these". The National Security agency operates under the President’s executive authority alone. He can end of modify or direct a change of their policies at any time.