Edward Snowden Celebrates NSA Reform as the “Power of an Informed Public”

WikiLeaks screenshot/AP


Now that both Congress and President Obama have approved the USA Freedom Act, Edward Snowden finally has something to celebrate.

In a Times op-ed published on Friday, Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who exposed the government’s massive phone collection tactics exactly two years ago, applauded the new limits on government surveillance as an example of the “power of an informed public.” He writes:

In a single month, the N.S.A.’s invasive call-tracking program was declared unlawful by the courts and disowned by Congress. After a White House-appointed oversight board investigation found that this program had not stopped a single terrorist attack, even the president who once defended its propriety and criticized its disclosure has now ordered it terminated.

Though he notes more work needs to be done in order to ensure the freedom and privacy of American lives, Snowden believes this week’s passage of the USA Freedom Act provides a glimpse of what life is like in a “post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy.”

Ending the mass surveillance of private phone calls under the Patriot Act is a historic victory for the rights of every citizen, but it is only the latest product of a change in global awareness.

Snowden also criticizes Russia, where he has been on the run for the past two years, for expanding their own surveillance capabilities. He noted that in countries such as Australia, France, and Canada, similarly invasive laws are being implemented.

Read Snowden’s op-ed in its entirety here.