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Statement From Edward Snowden

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November 4, 2013

The German magazine Der Spiegel published a statement Sunday from Edward Snowden that it translated from English to German. Snowden has provided the ACLU with the original English text:

“In a very short period, the world has learned that some intelligence services operate unaccountable and occasionally criminal dragnet surveillance programs. While the NSA and GCHQ appear to be the worst offenders, we must remember that mass surveillance is a global problem and needs global solutions. Such programs are not just a threat to privacy, but to free expression and open societies. We must not allow the existence of spying technology to determine political policy; we have a moral duty to ensure our law and values constrain surveillance programs and protect basic human rights.

“Society can only understand and control these problems through robust, open, and informed debate. In the beginning, a few governments, embarrassed by the revelation of their mass surveillance systems, engaged in an unprecedented campaign of persecution to suppress that debate by intimidating journalists and criminalizing truth-telling. At that time, the public had no ability to measure the benefit of these revelations, and deferred to the judgment of government regarding the wisdom of this decision, but today it is clear that this was a mistake, and such action does not serve the public interest. The fruits of the debate they sought to avoid are now being enjoyed in countries around the world, and the beneficiary of this new public knowledge is society.

“Individuals have a civic responsibility to fight the suppression of information regarding matters of critical public importance. Telling the truth is not a crime.”

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