On Monday, The Guardian conducted a reader question and answer session with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Below are just a few of the exchanges that proceeded.
So far are things going the way you thought they would regarding a public debate? – tikkamasala
Snowden: Initially I was very encouraged. Unfortunately, the mainstream media now seems far more interested in what I said when I was 17 or what my girlfriend looks like rather than, say, the largest program of covert surveillance in human history.
What would you say to Obama if you had the chance to speak to him one on one? – @Robobot
Snowden: “Nice face, dickface.”
US officials say terrorists [are] already altering TTPs because of your leaks and calling you traitor. Respond? – @KimberlyDozier
Snowden: It’s important to bear in mind I’m being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, [Dianne] Feinstein, and [Peter] King, the better off we all are.
Can’t help but wonder abt the interpersonal repercussions of your decision. What msg would you send your girlfriend? – @Cosmopolitan
Snowden: … Wow. I hate to answer a question with a question, but did that actually just come from your magazine’s official Twitter page? Aren’t you aware of how stupid and demeaning people already think your publication is? But to give you a more straightforward response, I’d tell her I hope she’s safe and isn’t worrying about me, and that I hope she understands and respects my decision to ask her to never read Cosmo or else I will abandon her without explanation.
Edward, there is rampant speculation, outpacing facts, that you have or will provide classified U.S. information to the Chinese or other governments in exchange for asylum. Have/will you? – Spencer Ackerman
Snowden: This is a predictable smear that I anticipated before going public … Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn’t I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.
What’d you say about me having a “dickface”? – @BarackObama
Snowden: Sorry, I should’ve been more specific. Your face is 90% dick material. The other 10% is normal.
Follow-up to my previous question, “petting a phoenix”? – Spencer Ackerman
Snowden: I stand by my initial statement, but admit I may have gone a bit overboard by referencing a mythological bird.