People need to differentiate between legality and morality, and recognize that sometimes doing the right thing means breaking the law, Edward Snowden told Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa in a wide-ranging interview.
The NSA whistleblower, vilified by Washington after he leaked a trove of documents outlining mass surveillance techniques used by American intelligence agencies, argued that everyone has a duty to expose wrongdoing – regardless of legality.
“Sometimes the only moral decision that an individual has is to break the law,” he told Correa.
Snowden firmly rejected the argument that legitimate whistleblowers pose a security threat, stressing that the real danger facing all nations is unwarranted government secrecy.
One of the core threats to the rule of law in a society… is the government using secrecy as a shield against democratic accountability. Using secrecy… to excuse themselves from public awareness of what it is exactly that they’ve been doing.
The former intelligence contractor revealed the NSA’s mass surveillance program in 2013. Snowden, who was granted asylum by Russia, has offered to stand trial in the US on espionage charges, on the condition that he be allowed to tell the court why he blew the whistle – a request that he claims has been refused.
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