Snowden Remarks for DIE ZEIT

February, 13th, 2014 - As most of you know, I work for DIE ZEIT, a German weekly newspaper that is issued every Thursday. In this week's edition we have a very interesting 2-page spread with testimonials of some very interesting international Whistleblowers, some famous, some less famous, but all of them important in their own way.

We have approached and received contributions or comments from seven whistleblowers who have passed on information about wrongdoings in organizations as diverse as the NSA, the Mi5, Enron, the Danish military or a particularly interesting case from Germany, in which a veterinarian blew the whistle about indications of mad cow disease that nobody wanted to persue and that she then felt the moral obligation to pass on the media.

Among those who have responded to our outreach was Edward Snowden. In case you are interested, following is his original English contribution. 

(NB: Please do bear in mind that this is a contribution exclusive to DIE ZEIT with (c), so if you want to quote from it, please make that clear - and/or contact us, especially if you work for a professional media organization.)


"Whistleblowers are elected by circumstance: they are a product of wrongdoing, rather than the source of it. After all, Ellsberg didn't engineer the invasion of Vietnam, and I didn't authorize the wiretapping of so many innocent Germans and then conceal it from the public. We were witnesses to injustice. The furious response of embarrassed governments to whistleblowers often conceals this simple truth: it is not the revelation of wrongdoing that is responsible for the backlash, but the wrongdoing itself.

"I believe that exceptionally serious matters -- such as the massive, indiscriminate national surveillance programs sweeping the world today -- must be debated and decided in the light of day. People cannot consent to programs and policies about which they were never consulted.  Real democracy requires that citizens be partner to government, rather than merely subject to it."

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