Strangely enough, the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight conducted arguably the toughest interview with Edward Snowden, taking him to task on the leaked NSA documents.
Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked classified NSA documents to the media, thus exposing that American citizens were having their privacy infringed upon by a complex web of global government surveillance programs, has given loads of interviews. He’s even been profiled in Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour.
And it took a comedian to get him to crack.
On Sunday night’s episode of the HBO series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the droll British satirist renewed his unwavering commitment to practicing real journalism by traveling to Moscow to interview Snowden. The interview was bookended with the series premiere, which featured Oliver interviewing former NSA director Keith Alexander.
Oliver didn’t pull any punches. “How many of those documents have you actually read?” he asked Snowden with a palpable air of skepticism. “I do understand what I turned over,” the ex-CIA systems admin mumbled.
Not good enough. “There’s a difference between understanding what’s in the documents and reading what’s in the documents… because when you’re handing over thousands of NSA documents the last thing you’d want to do is read them,” Oliver said.
He continued, “So The New York Times took a slide, didn’t redact it properly, and in the end it was possible for people to see that something was being used in Mosul on al Qaeda.”
“That is a problem,” Snowden replied.
“Well, that’s a f***up,” said Oliver.
“It is a f***up, and those things do happen in reporting. In journalism, we have to accept that some mistakes will be made. This is a fundamental concept of liberty,” Snowden said.
“Right. But you have to own that then,” grilled Oliver. “You’re giving documents with information you know could be harmful, which could get out there.”
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SOURCE: Marlow Stern
The Daily Beast