Edward Snowden

Snowden Makes Distinction Between Himself and Assange in Vanity Fair Interview


Credit: Wikileaks' Youtube channel/wikimedia

The May edition of Vanity Fair, available online to subscribers on Friday, includes "a 20,000-word narrative" on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Vanity Fair's website has a preview of some of the responses Snowden gave to the magazine for the article.

Among the more interesting responses Snowden gave to Vanity Fair's questions are those that relate to his politics and how he sees himself as different from Wikileak's Julian Assange.

From Vanity Fair:

On the crucial ways he differs from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: "We don't share identical politics. I am not anti-secrecy. I'm pro-accountability. I've made many statements indicating both the importance of secrecy and spying, and my support for the working-level people at the N.S.A. and other agencies. It's the senior officials you have to watch out for."

While both Snowden and Assange have been hailed as heroes by those who favor more transparency and more accountability, both have demonstrated different attitudes about the possible impact their leaked information could have. Snowden has said he is working with journalists who are using their discretion in deciding what parts of the leaked information should be published. Glenn Greenwald, who has reported on the Snowden leaks, pointed out last month that Snowden could have uploaded all of the documents online himself:

When Snowden furnished documents to the journalists with whom he chose to work (which, just by the way, expressly did not include the NYT), he made clear that he did not believe all of those materials should be published. Obviously, if he wanted all of those documents published, he could have and would have just uploaded them to the internet himself; he wouldn't have needed to work with journalists.

Assange does not have the same attitude towards discretion. When a reporter expressed concern about Wikileaks publishing documents from the State Department that included the names of Afghans who had cooperated with Americans Assange simply reportedly replied, "So, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it."

Although Snowden did make a distinction between himself and Assange when it comes to politics, he also told Vanity Fair he admires Wikileaks:

They run toward the risks everyone else runs away from. No other publisher in the world is prepared to commit to protecting sources—even other journalists' sources—the way WikiLeaks is.

Snowden, who donated hundreds of dollars to Ron Paul's presidential campaign in 2012, also told Vanity Fair that he would describe his political thought as "moderate."

The preview of Vanity Fair's article ends with a description of how Snowden, who is currently in Russia, told a German politician that he would like to be granted asylum in Germany or "another democratic state." Snowden's temporary one-year asylum in Russia ends in June, although Russian lawmaker Alexy Pushkov, who is the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Duma, has said that Russia will extend asylum protections.

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  1. Snowden is awesome. Assange and Manning suck. That is all.

    1. One of them is some kind of creepy albino.

    2. I’m glad Assange and Manning did what they did. Simplistic statements like “Assange and Manning suck” are stupid. I suppose you could say they were assholes or something, but I don’t give a fuck about their personalities, only whether they helped put a dent in the security state. And they did. Don’t let the fucks who can’t stand that Assange and Manning defied US authority browbeat you into feeling you have to badmouth them.

      1. 3rd attempt at reply here. iPhone + Bloody Mary = me getting very angry.

      2. I think that by 2020, we will look back at Snowden as one of the most influential people of the decade. He knew exactly what he was doing, and did it to maximum effect . And, he sacrificed a lot to do it.

      3. But you’re right, it would have fairer of me to call Assange an asshole instead. Wikileaks was a great idea, and it was all but destroyed by Assange’s narcissism.

      4. Manning was a failure because he (a) did what he did out of immaturity and a desire to be famous and (b) dumped a bunch of mundane shit that nevertheless hampered diplomacy, which we’re supposed to be in favor of.

      5. But Assange and Manning do suck. The dent they put in the security state was probably insignificant. Assange put a much bigger dent in Wikileaks and Manning dumped a bunch of mundane stuff that actually made the USG seem less threatening.

    3. I’m a taxpayer. I want to know what my money’s used for.

  2. Guy seems to think far above his pay grade. And age.

    1. He thinks he’s above his pay grade. And age.

      *roots for Assange*

  3. While both Snowden and Assange have been hailed as heroes by those who favor less transparency…

    Less is more? Or am I reading that wrong?

    Snowden, it appears, has a more nuanced idea of state secrecy and national security and whatnot. Then again, Snowden is American and Assange is not. On the other hand, Assange isn’t a Russian spy which we know FOR A FACT that Snowden is because why wouldn’t you come back to America if you’re not a spy, am I right? So, in conclusion, stop making Obama look bad.

    1. …”we know FOR A FACT that Snowden is”…

      Well *I* do! Anybody who won’t rot in jail for spilling the beans on Obo’s A4 law-breaking must be a spy!

      1. Why go to jail if you can do the job without the inconvenience of being a prisoner?

    2. on fire today.

  4. Snowden, who donated hundreds of dollars to Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in 2012, also told Vanity Fair that he would describe his political thought as “moderate.”

    What does that even mean? No, no! You have to decide whether you, Snowden, are a “thin” libertarian or a “thick”-headed idiot?

    1. I’m a political moderate and i’m anti-secrecy. Snowden does not represent me.

  5. I’m a political moderate. Snowden does not represent me. Just because I don’t believe that civilians should own nukes or that anyone should have the right to shoot a retarded person for stepping one inch onto their unmarked property does not mean I believe in government secrecy.

    1. *should be allowed to have nukes

  6. Where’s my fucking ALT-TEXT, Zenon? I swear to god…

    1. “My cojones are this big…and yes, I’m aware my other hand is out of frame.”

  7. This thread attracted some crazy. That is all.

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