Edward Snowden, the NSA consultant and analyst who blew the whistle on the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance of domestic phone calls and emails of American citizens is the subject of a current film, Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone.
It is a thought provoking film, an emotional one that pushes buttons and forces you to ask, is Snowden a hero and whistleblower or a traitor who put his country in danger by divulging confidential government information? A recent House intelligence report, released two days before the movie premiered, labels him “a serial exaggerator and fabricator” who does not fit the profile of whistleblower. Yet, my attorneys and his, the Government Accountability Project, say whistleblower.
In the spring of 2013, Snowden reached out to Glenn Greenwald, a fierce government critic and controversial journalist, co-founder of the Intercept Papers; filmmaker journalist Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian. The foursome spent several very intense days in a hotel room in Hong Kong filming Snowden’s testimony and story which resulted in The Guardian exposé of the NSA situation; even as James R. Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence claimed in sworn testimony before a United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on March 12, 2013, that the NSA would never do such a thing.
At that hearing, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) asked Mr. Clapper, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Director Clapper responded “No, sir.”