Fugitive NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden believes American spies want him dead.
“These people, and they are government officials, have said they would love to put a bullet in my head or poison me when I come out of the supermarket, and then watch as I die in the shower,” Snowden said in an interview televised Sunday by German public broadcaster ARD in his first TV interview since being granted asylum in Russia, as translated by Deutche Welle.
Snowden charged in the interview that the NSA conducts industrial espionage against international corporations, an act that goes beyond the NSA’s anti-terrorism role. “If there is information at [German industrial giant] Siemens that they think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the United States, they will go after that information and they’ll take it,” Snowden said.
A post on the ARD TV site notes that the video can only be viewed online in Germany “due to legal reasons.”
Snowden made note of his objections to the Five Eyes alliance between the intelligence services of English-speaking countries, which he said subverts the prohibition against domestic spying by exchanging surveillance data, with Britain spying on Americans and America spying on the British.
Snowden is living in Russia under temporary asylum. He is wanted on charges of treason for stealing as many as 1.7 million documents from the National Security Agency while working as an IT contractor in Hawaii, a charge he denies. “I have given everything to the United States,” he said. adding during the interview that he no longer has any of the documents, which have been parceled out to “trustworthy” journalists around the world. Their possession of the Snowden files are the “life insurance” keeping him from being killed, he said.