According to Snowden, total surveillance programs are merely justified by preventing terrorist attacks. In fact, they are used for diplomatic manipulations, economic espionage, and social control.
"No one doubts that we should keep an eye on terrorists, track their activity," Snowden said. "But documents, revealed in 2013, suggest the government actually acted against people who had no ties to terrorism: we spied on lawyers… We spied on UNICEF, attorneys, professors… Those were not people suspected of terrorism.
Snowden also recounted that he attempted to contact American government multiple times, to "come to an agreement," to ensure a just trial, but so far he only managed to receive guarantees that he "won't be tortured".
"I have proof that my actions were for the sake of society, of my country's people."
Snowden also said that he never worked for Russian government. As he explained, he "planned it all so that no government could press on him." In fact, Snowden accused the US for "locking him up" in Russia.
In 2013, Edward Snowden handed a number of classified documents to The Washington Post and The Guardian, revealing Internet surveillance programs implemented by the US and the UK intelligence. He fled to Hong Kong and ended up in Russia, when the United States voided his ID, effectively preventing him from leaving Russian territory. The Russian government provided him an asylum in exchange for terminating any activity against the US. Edward Snowden is now officially a Russian resident, what legally enables him to travel abroad.