Ultimately, it was Super Mario Bros. that taught me what remains perhaps the most important lesson of my life. ... There is no turning back, only going forward — for Mario and Luigi, for me, and for you. Life only scrolls in one direction, which is the direction of time, and no matter how far we might manage to go, that invisible wall will always be just behind us, cutting us off from the past, compelling us on into the unknown.
It's been vindicating to see the reaction from lawmakers, judges, public bodies around the world, civil liberties activists who have said it's true that we have a right to at least know the broad outlines of what our government's doing in our name and what it's doing against us.
I have been a systems engineer, systems administrator, a senior adviser for the Central Intelligence Agency, a solutions consultant and a telecommunications information systems officer.
I've been a spy for almost all of my adult life - I don't like being in the spotlight.
Being a patriot doesn't mean prioritizing service to government above all else. Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen, from the violations of and encroachments of adversaries. And those adversaries don't have to be foreign countries.
You can't come forward against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and be completely free from risk.
We have seen enough criminality on the part of government. It is hypocritical to make this allegation against me. They have narrowed the public sphere of influence.
The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
It's important that we elevate and primarily focus on the rights of American citizens, but it's also important that we don't forget, 95 percent of the world's population lives beyond our own borders.
I think the most important idea is to remember that there have been times throughout American history where what is right is not the same as what is legal.
The NSA has the greatest surveillance capabilities in American history... The real problem is that they're using these capabilities to make us vulnerable.
If an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc analyst has access to query raw SIGINT databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want. Phone number, email, user id, cell phone handset id (IMEI), and so on - it's all the same.
If I target for example an email address, for example under FAA 702, and that email address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it. All of it. IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything. And it gets saved for a very long time - and can be extended further with waivers rather than warrants.
I grew up with the understanding that the world I lived in was one where people enjoyed a sort of freedom to communicate with each other in privacy, without it being monitored, without it being measured or analyzed or sort of judged by these shadowy figures or systems, any time they mention anything that travels across public lines.
It may be that by watching everywhere we go, by watching everything we do, by analyzing every word we say, by waiting and passing judgment over every association we make and every person we love, that we could uncover a terrorist plot, or we could discover more criminals. But is that the kind of society we want to live in?
No one would argue that it's in the United States' interest to have independent knowledge of the plans and intentions of foreign countries. But we need to think about where to draw the line on these kind of operations so we're not always attacking our allies, the people we trust, the people we need to rely on, and to have them in turn rely on us.
Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.
Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.
I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest. There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn't turn over, because harming people isn't my goal. Transparency is.
I support a guaranteed basic income. I think we should take care of sick people. I believe women can make their own choices and that the government is at its best when it's building bridges instead of bombs.