Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden has taken aim at former US President Barack Obama, calling him out for expanding secret surveillance programs at the hands of various US agencies. In a 2-hour-long interview with comedian and commentator Joe Rogan, the whistleblower said that although Obama “campaigned actively against the warrantless wiretapping of the Bush administration”, he embraced it as soon as he became president.
According to Snowden, intelligence services have “feared up” every president since John F. Kennedy.
“These guys are basically saying, ‘If you don’t do X, Y, and Z, this is going to fall on your lap,’ and the implication, which I don’t think they say but every president knows, is these guys can undermine you to death,” Snowden explained, noting that they “can put out stories which are gonna be problematic” for a president.
He also laughed off the notorious 'deep state' and poked fun at the numerous conspiracy theories of “some conspiracy of lizard people” explaining that the truth is much simpler.
“Deep state is simply the career government. It’s the people who are in the same offices, who outlive and outlast presidencies. They’ve seen Republicans, they’ve seen Democrats, they don’t really care, and they give that same briefing again and again, and they get good at it,” Snowden elaborated, noting that career bureaucrats will be after each president to “follow up with their asks, which are really demands.”
Snowden also spilled several details about his life in Russia, pointing out once again that it was not the country of his choice as he stayed there after his passport was annulled. The former US intelligence agency contractor, who has been in Russia since 2013, noted that his life here is relatively normal, as he can go for a walk, use the metro, go to restaurants and does not often get recognised. As he admitted, he prefers not to give interviews to Russian media as he does not want to see his face in the news. According to the American expat, he gets recognised a couple of times a year.
He also pointed that the attitude in the West toward Russia has changed internationally and that the US media tend to give a negative connotation to any links and associations with Moscow, noting, however, that he has criticised Russian authorities and has received negative press in Russian media.
Snowden, a former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who exposed a number of the NSA’s global surveillance programmes by leaking classified material, recently revealed that he would like to return home but only if Washington could guarantee him a fair trial. He has been in self-imposed exile in Russia since 2013, where he moved after making public a huge tranche of highly-classified information from the NSA.