Edward Snowden Resurfaces (Again) on HBO

HT_SNOWDEN_150406_DG_16x9_992 copy

HT_SNOWDEN_150406_DG_16x9_992 copy

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reignited the terror-supporting-traitor vs. freedom-loving-patriot debate last night when he made a surprise appearance on HBO’s comedy/news program Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. Oliver devoted the episode to U.S. government surveillance programs and the upcoming June 1st deadline for the renewal of the Patriot Act.

Oliver’s crew visited Times Square to find out if random tourists knew who Snowden is. Most didn’t and the few who had a clue mostly had him confused with the WikiLeaks guy, Julian Assange.

As seems to be the case a lot these days, the comedian (Oliver) presents the story with less of a political agenda than the “real” newscasters at MSNBC or Fox, conceding up front that perfect privacy and perfect safety are mutually exclusive. He also gives Snowden a hard time, forcing him to admit that he didn’t read all of the documents he chose to leak and that he has some culpability for mistakenly revealing the names of U.S. intelligence agents. Oliver also showed him an image he said was his own crotch and Snowden insisted the government has the capability to capture and catalog images of everyone’s junk if they’re sharing their privates online. Maybe Snowden thought agreeing to an “Oliver interview” meant Oliver Stone, director of the upcoming movie about his life.

Even though Oliver’s got some sympathies with Snowden’s intent and stated principles (and traveled to Russia to conduct the interview in person), it’s a far different take on the subject than what we got from the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour (which is also screening on the network). HBO is pretty generous with their John Oliver content. We’ve embedded the entire episode below.

  • KenLand

    He can rot in Russia.

    • jffourquet

      I rather he rot in a US maximum security prison, spending 23 hours a day in a cell w/ not human contact.

  • Jon

    If you think Snowden is a trader you may want to read the constitution.

    • wtpworrier

      Perhaps HE should have read the Constitution…and you too if you think he is not a traitor….

    • Jason

      Was he trading in precious metals? Soy bean futures? Sorry…couldn’t resist.

    • John

      Hey Job, you may want to learn to spell traitor correctly.

      • Spelling Bee

        His name is Jon, not Job.

    • sw614

      If Snowden had limited his collection of documents and data to just the PRISM program addressing domestic intelligence, then maybe he has a case. But he did not. It is reported he took info concerning state department programs and intelligence gathering overseas by our other agencies and none of this has a thing to do with domestic programs. And anyone who believes foreign intelligence agencies have never seen this info are just kidding themselves.

      Snowden also fled because he feared for his life and thought the NSA or CIA would kill him (Alright, another Clancy novel). He fled to countries less than friendly to the US. All of this substantially tarnishes his credibility.

      • IronV

        No. He has no case. Snowden doesn’t have the right to appoint himself arbiter of right and wrong. If he saw wrongdoing, he should have acted within the law–imperfect as that process may be. He’s a self absorbed narcissist with delusions of his own importance. The hell with him.

      • sw614

        That is why I said maybe. With just PRISM info, some soft-heart judge may award him whistle blower status and protection. Divulging the program without taking documents and the chances go up. I do not agree with the potential of him ever getting protected status, but our courts have made some very strange rulings before. Given the number of documents and the multitude of subjects and/or programs I think his argument falls apart. I have zero support or sympathy for the idiot.

      • IronV

        Roger that. I especially resent Snowdon’s pretense of whistleblowing, acting out of good conscience etc. He is an extraordinarily immature and narcissistic little man. NOBODY has the right to decide what’s “right” for the rest of us. Follow the law. Do it the right but hard way.

        It is so deliciously ironic he’s stuck in totalitarian Russia forever.

  • wtpworrier

    Enough of this traitor already!! AS long as he stay in Russia with his buddy Pootin, I don’t care what he does…just don’t expect to come home without being arrested.

  • Patriot1

    NSA needs to grow a backbone and snatch this guy back.
    They look like a joke when you let a guy like this squeal to Russia.
    Don’t think he is over there with out Quid Pro Quo going on.

    Putin is laughing all the way to the bank.
    If this had been a Russian coming to the USA, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service would have found and eliminated that threat in less than a week.
    This guy needs a jail cell for partnering with the Russians.

    • IronV

      First, the NSA doesn’t do that kind of thing. They do electronic eavesdropping. And second, it would be a very, very, high risk operation for Russian intelligence agents to come to the U.S. and kill someone–especially if that someone was in custody.

  • Ziggy

    Why or how?