SURVEILLANCE WHISTLEBLOWER Edward Snowden has said that overzealous snooping by the US National Security Agency (NSA) isn't protecting US citizens or making them feel safe.
Snowden is the ex NSA contract employee who gave thousands of NSA files to the Guardian and other newpapers. For his troubles he has endured a prolonged stay at a Moscow airport and a lot of criticism as well as US government persecution.
In a series of videos posted to the web by the whistleblowing Wikileaks organisation, Snowden is recorded talking for the first time since he released the NSA material.
The videos were filmed when Snowden was awarded the Integrity Award from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence in Moscow last week. He said that the government's continued surveillance of the internet and other data does not help the US, but hurts it.
"They hurt our economy. They hurt our country. They limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and to associate freely," he said.
What the NSA has, said Snowden, who is facing espionage charges, is "dragnet mass surveillance that puts entire populations under sort of an eye that sees everything even when it's not needed".
Snowden suggested that while he was being persecuted at least one executive at the US Department of Justice has gone on record to say that it is unwilling to prosecute high level US officials who "lied to the country... on camera".
"But," he added, "they'll stop at nothing to persecute someone who told them the truth". µ