When Bill Moyers asked surveillance expert and author Heidi Boghosian if she considered Edward Snowden a “troublemaker” along the lines of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Boghosian went beyond that term in endorsing his revelations concerning the National Security Agency’s global data mining.
The former NSA contractor, she said on Moyers & Company, is “a troublemaker, and a true hero and patriot,” arguing that “working as he did for a private corporation, handling sensitive information, and being told basically that there was no problem, there was nothing he could do, he then took matters into his own hands, knowing that he would probably face imprisonment for the rest of his life.”
Though Snowden’s request for clemency from the U.S. has been rejected, Boghosian credited him with waking the American public up to the widespread nature of the NSA’s monitoring activities through his series of leaks to the British newspaper The Guardian.
“So it’s not a matter of your saying, as so many people are, ‘What if I’m not doing anything wrong, why should I care if anybody’s watching?'” Moyers asked her. “You’ve heard that, haven’t you?”
“I think that’s a very simplistic answer,” Boghosian replied. “Because when one is under constant surveillance, be it from a surveillance camera on the city block and we have so many here in New York, to the possibility that internet communications are being monitored, it necessarily alters how you communicate. It makes us tamp down things that we might say.”
Moyers also mentioned a New York Times report about the Central Intelligence Agency paying more than $10 million a year to AT&T to open their phone records up, a type of alliance Boghosian linked to the rise of consumerism in American society, as people are lulled into trusting corporations with more of their personal data.
“They are hand-in-hand working to gather information about Americans as well as people across the globe, to really be in a race to collect more information than any other country can,” she explained to Moyers. “I think in their eyes, having this information, storing it, and being able to access it for years on end is a symbol of power and control. So that you can’t really make that distinction anymore between big business and government.”
Watch Moyers’ interview with Boghosian, as released on Friday, below.