Edward Snowden: Congress' Failures Forced My Hand

Vincent Yu/AP file photo

Edward Snowden isn't giving the National Security Agency a break. The NSA leaker has declared victory in a new interview with The Washington Post, published just a week after a federal judge ruled that the data-collection program Snowden unveiled infringes on Fourth Amendment rights. 

"For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished," Snowden told The Post earlier this month. "I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself."

But Snowden isn't just giving grief to the NSA. In the interview, he says he was forced to take the responsibility for standing up for American society because America's elected leaders had failed.

"That whole question—who elected you?—inverts the model. They elected me. The overseers," Snowden says. And he gets more specific:

"Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions" in committee hearings, he said. "Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden.... The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility."

This obviously doesn't make life any easier for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Last week, more than 50 civil-liberties groups came out in opposition to Feinstein's attempt to reform the NSA, the FISA Improvements Act. The bill, which would lay out proper use for the collection programs, "does not offer real reform to stop the NSA's mass collection of our communications and communications records," the groups contend. The bill would offer "fig-leaf transparency and oversight provisions while embracing NSA surveillance," says the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

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