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  1. NDR / The First
    “Snowden exclusive”: the text of the interview of NDR author Hubert Seipel
    26.01.2014 | 23:26 clock, NDR / The First

    (Ots) – NDR author Hubert Seipel has led the world’s first television interview with Edward Snowden after his flight from Hong Kong. Here is the text of the 30-minute version of the interview that the first “exclusive Snowden – the interview” under the title on Sunday night, 26 January has been shown at 23.05 clock. Free quotes when mentioning “Source: NDR”.

    Hubert Seipel (hereinafter abbreviated to HS): Mr. Snowden, you have slept well the last few nights? I’ve read that you have asked for police protection. Are there any threats?

    Edward Snowden (hereinafter abbreviated as ES): There are significant threats, but I sleep very well. There was an article in an online portal called “buzzfeed”, were interviewed in the Pentagon officials and NSA National Security Agency. It has assured them anonymity so that they can say what they want, and who told the reporter that they want to kill me. These people – and there are government officials – have said they would chase me just like a bullet in the head or poison me when I come back from the supermarket, and watch me die then under the shower.

    HS: But luckily you are still alive.

    ES: Right, I’m still alive and I do not have sleepless nights because I did what I thought was necessary. It was the right thing, and I will not be afraid.

    HS: The biggest fear that I have, as far as my revelations, you said, is that nothing changes. But meanwhile, there is a lively discussion about the position of the NSA, not only in America but also in Germany and in Brazil, and President Obama was forced to publicly justify what the NSA has since made quite legally.

    ES: As a first reaction to the revelations, the government has set up as a kind of corral to the National Security Agency. Rather than get behind the public and to protect their rights, the politicians have brought to the security apparatus and its laws. That was an interesting way, but only the first reaction, since concessions have been made. The President has just said: “We have met the right level, there was no abuse,” then he and his officials have admitted that it has effectively given abuse. There have been countless violations of the National Security Agency and other relevant bodies and authorities each year.

    HS: Is the talk of Obama the beginning of a serious regulation?

    ES: From the President’s speech was clear that he wants to make minor changes in order to preserve authorities, we do not need. The President has formed a committee of officials belonging to his personal friends of members of the National Security and former members of the CIA – to conserve both from people who have every reason with these programs. But even they have found that these programs are worthless, that they have never prevented a terrorist attack in the U.S. and that they have at best a bit of benefit for other things. The Section 215 program, which is a huge data collection program – and that is mass surveillance program – has just found out that a wire transfer in the amount of $ 85,000 was discovered and stopped by a taxi driver in California. Specialists say that we do not need this type of review that we do not make these programs safely. Your maintenance is extremely expensive, and they are worthless. Experts say that you can change it. The National Security Agency is subject solely to the President. He can finish their action at any time or initiate a change.

    HS: President Obama has admitted that the NSA collects billions of data and stores.

    ES: Every time you call, write an email, transfer something, go with a mobile phone bus or dragging anywhere a card through a reader, you leave a trace, and the government has decided that it is a good idea, the everything to gain with these programs. Everything, even if you have never been suspected of a crime. Usually, the state goes to a judge who told him that someone is suspected of having committed a particular crime, there is an arrest warrant, and only then they use the official authority for the investigation. Today, the government is their authority and an already, before any investigation begins.

    HS: You have triggered this debate. The name of Edward Snowden now stands for the whistleblower in the Internet age. Until last summer, you have worked for the NSA and in that time you have secretly thousands of confidential documents from the NSA collected all over the world. What was the defining moment – or was it a longer period – why did you do it?

    ES: I would say, a crucial point was when I saw how the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has lied under oath before Congress. There is no salvation for a secret service, who believes he can lie to the public and lawmakers who trust him and regulate his actions. When I saw that, it meant to me that I can not go back. There was no doubt. In addition, there was the creeping realization that no one would do differently. The public had a right to know of these programs. The public had a right to know what the government is doing in their name, and what the government is doing to the public. But neither the one nor the other, we were allowed to discuss. We were forbidden even to speak with our elected representatives about it or discuss these programs, and that is dangerous. The only test that we had came from a secret court, the Court Fizer, which is a kind of vicarious agent. If this includes when you go to work every day and sits down at his desk, one is aware of his power. That you could even listen to the President of the United States or a federal judge, and if you proceed with caution, no one will know because the only way how the NSA uncovers abuse, self-displays are.

    HS: For that matter, we speak not only of the NSA. There is a multilateral agreement for cooperation between the intelligence agencies. This alliance is known as the Five Eyes. Which intelligence agencies and countries belong to this alliance, and what is the goal?

    ES: The Five Eyes alliance is a kind of artifact from the period after the Second World War in which the English-speaking countries were the major powers, which came together to cooperate and share the cost of the infrastructure of the intelligence services. So we have the GCHQ in England, we have the NSA in the United States, and we have Canada C-Sec, we have the Australian Signals Intelligence Directorate and we have the New Zealand DSD Defence Signals Directorate The result has been for decades a kind of supra-national intelligence organization, the does not comply with the laws of their own countries.

    HS: In many countries, as well as in America, it is organizations like the NSA legally not allowed to spy on the citizens in their own country, the British officially allowed to spy on everyone, just not the British, but the NSA could spy on the British and vice versa so that they can exchange data. And so they follow the law officially.

    ES: If you ask the governments immediately thereafter, they will deny it and refer to the Agreement between the members of the Five Eyes, in which is that it does not spy on the citizens of the other country, but there are some sticking points. One is that the collection of data in them does not count as espionage. The GCHQ gathers an incredible amount of data a British citizen, just like the National Security Agency collects a tremendous amount of data on U.S. citizens. They claim that they monitor any targeted person within this data. You are not looking for U.S. or British citizens. In addition, the agreement, which says that the British are not U.S. citizens and the United States monitor any British citizen, is not legally binding. The actual contract document has separately then that the agreement is not legally binding. This Agreement may at any time be circumvented or broken. So if the NSA wants to spy on a British citizen, she can spy on him, and the data even left the British government, which shall not spy on its own citizens. Thus there is a kind of trade dynamics, but this is not open, it is more of a nudge and a wink. In addition, the monitoring and the abuse does not happen only when people look at the data, it is done by people collect the data at all.

    HS: How close is the cooperation of the German secret service BND with the NSA and the Five Eyes?

    ES: I would describe as closely. In a written interview I did it first so expressed that the German and American intelligence go to bed together. I say this because they not only share information, but also share tools and infrastructure. They work against common targets, and therein lies a great danger. One of the major programs, serving in the National Security Agency to abuse, is the “X Key Score”. It is a technique with which you can search through all the data that is stored around the world every day of the NSA.

    HS: What would you do in their place with this instrument?

    ES: You could read every e-mail around the world. From each, of which one has the e-mail address, you can watch the traffic on any website, on any computer, any laptop that does one locate, you can follow from place to place all over the world. It is a one stop shop, over which one gets to all the information the NSA. Moreover, one can use X key score to track individuals. Let’s say I’ve ever seen and you found interesting, what you do, or you have access to something that interests me, let’s say you work in a large German companies, and I want to get access to this network. I can your user name to find out on a website on a form somewhere, I can find out your real name, I can pursue relationships with your friends, and I can make something that is called a fingerprint, that is a network activity that is unique to you . That is, no matter where you go in the world, no matter where you try to get your online presence, to hide your identity, the NSA to find you. And everyone who is entitled to use this instrument or by the NSA shares its software can do the same. Germany is a country that has access to X Key score.

    HS: That sounds pretty scary. The question is: Returns the data BND German citizens to the NSA?

    ES: Whether the BND does it directly or consciously – at least the NSA receives German data. Whether they are delivered, about that I may speak only when it was reported in the Shun about it because it was classified as secret, and it is dear to me if journalists decide what is in the public interest and what should be published. However, it is no secret that every country in the world has the data of its citizens in the NSA. Millions and millions and millions of data connections from the daily life of the Germans, if they use their phone, send SMS messages, visit web pages, buy things online – all this ends up at NSA. And since it seems likely that the BND is aware in some way. Whether he really actively provides information to, I can not tell.

    HS: The BND argues that something be done only by chance and that our filter does not work.

    ES: Right. They discuss two things. They say that they collect and filter data. That is, if the NSA a secret server installed in a German telecommunications provider or a German router hacking and traffic redirects in such a way that they can browse it, it is said: “When I realize that a German speaks with another German, I listen to “, but how will you know? You could say “well, these people speak the German language, this IP address appears to lead by a German company to another German company”, but that is not correct. And who would not drop all the traffic, because they are so get at people who are interested, the active use in Germany German lines of communication. If they say they do not spy on Germans intentionally, then so do not think that they do not collect German data, they do not mean that no records are made or stolen. A promise, in which one crosses fingers behind his back, it can not rely on.

    HS: What about other European countries such as Norway and Sweden? We have a lot of underwater cables that run through the Baltic Sea.

    ES: This is a kind of extension of the same idea. If the NSA does not collect information on German citizens in Germany, it does it then, as soon as she leaves the German borders? The answer is “yes”. The NSA can intercept any communication that runs over the Internet, at various points. Maybe they see that in Germany, perhaps in Sweden, perhaps in Norway or Finland, perhaps in England, and perhaps in the United States. At every single place that runs through a German communication, it is intercepted and stored.

    HS: Let’s talk about our southern neighbors, Italy, France and Spain?

    ES: It’s the same deal worldwide.

    HS: NSA Spying at Siemens, Mercedes and other successful companies to use their advantage in technology and business for their own benefit?

    ES: I again do not want to prejudge the journalists, but what I can say is: There is no doubt that the United States operate industrial espionage. If there is information at Siemens, from which they think that they are for the national interests of advantage, but not for the national security of the United States, they will chase and the information they get.

    HS: There is an old proverb that says “If anything is possible, it is done.” Does the NSA, which is technically possible?

    ES: The theme of the president has addressed last year. Then he said, just because we can do something – and there was a question that had been tapped the phone of Angela Merkel – just because we can do something does not mean we should do it too, and that is exactly what happened. The technical possibilities that lie in low safety standards of Internet protocols and mobile communication networks, were of intelligence used to create systems that see everything.

    HS: Nothing has the German government more angry than the fact that the NSA has apparently tapped over the last ten years, the home phone to German Chancellor Merkel. Suddenly the invisible monitoring combined with a known face and not with this opaque, shady terrorist background. Now Obama has promised to snoop no longer with Mrs. Merkel, which raises the question “Does the NSA intercepted already previous governments, including former Chancellor and when: when and how long they did it”?

    ES: This is a particularly difficult question for me because there is information that necessarily have to be in the public interest in my opinion. However, as I already said, I would rather that journalists look at the material and decide whether the value of this information to the public is more important than the damage that the publication for the reputation of the members of the government means having issued this surveillance. What I can say is that we know that was monitored Angela Merkel of the National Security Agency. The question is, how logical it is to assume that it is the only member of the government, which was monitored. How likely is it that it is the only known German face, to which the National Security Agency has taken care of? I would say it is not very likely that someone who cares about intentions of the German government only monitors Merkel and not their advisers, no other known members of the government, no minister or even members of municipal governments.

    HS: How do you get a young man from Elizabeth City, North Carolina at the age of 30 years, such a position in such a sensitive area?

    ES: That’s a very difficult question. Basically, I would say that the dangers of privatization of public tasks be identified. I used to work as a government employee for the Central Intelligence Agency, but I worked a lot more frequently than contractor in a private setting. This means that private, for-profit companies take over sovereign functions such as espionage, reconnaissance, infiltration of foreign systems. And anyone who can convince the private sector firms that he has the necessary qualifications, is set. Supervision is minimal and there is hardly tested.

    HS: Were you one of those classic computer kids, which has been sitting with bloodshot eyes the whole night in front of a computer, 12 or 15 years old and her father knocked on the door and said: “Do finally out of the light!” If you purchased your knowledge this way?

    ES: I definitely had – let’s say – a deeply informal education, as far as my computer and electronics training. This has always been fascinating to me. Well, the description that the parents sent me to bed, it is already true.

    HS: If you look at the few public data of their lives, you discover that you are obviously in May 2004 wanted to join the special forces, to fight in Iraq. What has driven then? Special forces, that is violently struggling and probably also kill. Have you ever been in Iraq?

    ES: Yes. What is interesting in terms of the special forces, but the fact that they really are not responsible for the direct contact for direct fights. Rather, they are intended to act forces reinforcing. They are used behind enemy lines. This is a special unit. It aims to help the local population to resist, and support the U.S. Armed Forces. I then thought for a fundamentally decent affair. In retrospect, the arguments for the use in Iraq were insufficiently justified with the result that all parties emerged from the damaged thing.

    HS: What happened after your adventure continues? Did you stay there?

    ES: No, I broke the legs in training and was discharged.

    HS: In other words, so it was a short adventure …

    ES: … Yes, a short one.

    HS: 2007 They were stationed for the CIA in Geneva, Switzerland. Why did you go to the CIA?

    ES: I do not think I can say that.

    HS: Then we forget the question. But why the CIA?

    ES: I think that I thus wanted to continue as effectively as possible to serve the public good. It is also in my other activities for the state in which I wanted to use my technical skills in the most difficult places I could find. And that’s what gave me the CIA.

    HS: If you look at the so look what you’ve done: Special Forces CIA, NSA. This is not necessarily the way for a human or whistleblowers. What happened?

    ES: I think it shows, no matter how hard we strive to secure the state and is loyal to him, no matter how strongly you believe in the government’s arguments, as it has been with me during the Iraq war of the case – you can learn and detect a difference between a reasonable for a state action and an actual wrongdoing. And I think I realized that a red line had been crossed.

    HS: Are you working at a private company called Booze Alan Hamilton for the NSA. The company is one of the big players in the business. What is the advantage to hire private companies to carry out a central task for the sovereign state?

    ES: The practice of allocating security authorities of the United States is a complicated matter. It is determined by various interests. Firstly, the number of direct employees of the State should be limited, on the other hand require the lobbyists of wealthy companies such as financial Booze Alan Hamilton took its toll. This creates a situation influence the policies of government in the private companies. And whose interests are very different from the interests of the general public. The consequences could be observed in Booze Alan Hamilton, where individuals can access millions of official acts. You can always leave the company. No reliability, no control. The government did not even know that the were gone.

    HS: In the end they ended up here in Russia. And the intelligence community suspects you that you have made a deal here. Asylum against secret information.

    ES: The head of the working group that examined my case, said in December that there is no evidence that I could get from outside help or even been instructed from the outside. I also made a deal to carry out my mission. I worked alone. This is indeed the case. I worked alone, I needed help from anyone, I have no foreign governments any connections and I’m not a spy for Russia, China or any other country. If it is true that I am a traitor, who am I supposed to have betrayed? I have everything that I know the American public, the American journalist given. If this is to be considered as treason, men should really ask who they work for. The public is, after all, their boss, not their enemy.

    HS: After your revelations, no European country was willing to take you. Where you have applied for asylum?

    ES: The exact list I have not in mind because there were so many, but in any case France, Germany and the UK. Several European countries, all of which, unfortunately, felt it important to support the United States the political interests and do the right thing.

    HS: A response to the NSA spying is that countries such as Germany to do about thoughts to establish their own national networks to Internet companies are forced to keep data in their own country.

    ES: It will not stop them to continue their work, the NSA. Let’s put it this way: The NSA goes where the data is. If she manages to gather news from the telecommunications networks of China, it probably will succeed her, get at Facebook messages in Germany. Ultimately, the solution is to put everything not in a walled garden. It is much better to back up data on an international level, as if everyone is trying the data back and one that tries to. The transfer of data is not the solution. The solution is to save the data.

    HS: President Obama are the messages this revelation at the moment seems relatively unimportant. He seems – along with the NSA – to be much more interested to take the bearer of this news. Obama has repeatedly asked the Russian president to make your delivery. Putin has rejected it looks like, as you will spend the rest of your life here in Russia. Is there a solution for this problem?

    ES: I think that it is becoming increasingly clear that these revelations have done no harm, but rather serve the public good. It will be difficult to continue a campaign against someone whom the public the opinion prevails that he is working for the public good.

    HS: In the New York Times had an editorial called for in the grace for you recently. The headline: “Edward Snowden whistleblower” and I quote: “The public was informed about how the agency exceeds the limits of its powers and abused.” And then it says: “President Obama should instruct his employees to set the slander Mr. Snowden’s an end and to give him an incentive to come home.” Did you get a call?

    ES: I have yet to get a call from the White House and I do not sit on the phone and wait. Nevertheless, I would welcome the opportunity to talk about how we can bring this matter to a mutually satisfactory way to the end. I believe that there are cases in which what is legal is not necessarily right. There are enough examples in history in America and Germany, where the country’s government acted within the law and still did wrong.

    HS: President Obama is obviously not quite convinced, he said, that you have committed three offenses. He said: “If you, Edward Snowden, stand by what you have done, you should come back to America and to answer with the help of a lawyer before the court.” Is this the solution?

    ES: What he did not say is that these are offenses for which I can not be heard before a court. I can not defend myself before a public court or convince the jury the fact that I had acted in their interests. The Espionage Act dates from 1918. Its goal was never to pursue journalistic sources, ie people that make the newspapers get information of general public interest. Rather, it was directed against people who sell the documents to foreign governments, blow up bridges, sabotage communication, and not against people who act in the public interest. It is significant that the President says that I am to answer before a court, even if he knows that such a process would only be a show trial.

    The conversation has arisen in the context of NDR documentation that will show the first in the spring.

    Information also available at http://www.NDR.de / snowden

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