From a comment at schneier.com
Long but very revealing.
Recently the EU Committee asked some questions to Edward Snowden and this are his answers.
Here is an interesting quote:
The NSA granted me the authority to monitor communications world-wide using its mass surveillance systems, including within the United States. I have personally targeted individuals using these systems under both the President of the United States' Executive Order 12333 and the US Congress' FAA 702. I know the good and the bad of these systems, and what they can and cannot do, and I am telling you that without getting out of my chair, I could have read the private communications of any member of this committee, as well as any ordinary citizen. I swear under penalty of perjury that this is true.
And here about the whistleblowing:
Do you feel you had exhausted all avenues before taking the decision to go public?
Yes. I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.
It is important to remember that this is legal dilemma did not occur by mistake. US whistleblower reform laws were passed as recently as 2012, with the US Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, but they specifically chose to exclude Intelligence Agencies from being covered by the statute. President Obama also reformed a key executive Whistleblower regulation with his 2012 Presidential Policy Directive 19, but it exempted Intelligence Community contractors such as myself. The result was that individuals like me were left with no proper channels.
Do you think procedures for whistleblowing have been improved now?
No. There has not yet been any substantive whistleblower reform in the US, and unfortunately my government has taken a number of disproportionate and persecutory actions against me. US government officials have declared me guilty of crimes in advance of any trial, they've called for me to be executed or assassinated in private and openly in the press, they revoked my passport and left me stranded in a foreign transit zone for six weeks, and even used NATO to ground the presidential plane of Evo Morales - the leader of Bolivia - on hearing that I might attempt to seek and enjoy a sylum in Latin America.
So, who is lying? Obama said that Snowden should have talked to his superiors about this. Snowden says here that he did exactly that.
I would put my money on Obama.
In defence Obama could say: "Ich habe es nicht gewusst". But I don't buy that. Obama is to clever and tacky for that. He knows what's going on. We are not talking about G.W.Bush.
Which brings me to my question: Why?
Why lie about this? Do they believe that Snowden would keep quite about this?
Why not, for once, admit that they made a mistake and move on. Why didn't we heard from Obama that Snowden DID ring the bell the ordinary way?
That's what's bothering me. The lying in public. The arrogance. And that they are getting away with it.