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Edward Snowden: NSA Spying on Porn Habits, not Terrorists

LOS ANGELES — The first annual Politicon event on Saturday featured a live webcast discussion between NSA rogue informant Edward Snowden and far-left political satirist group the Yes Men.

Snowden, who was speaking from Russia, where he has been seeking asylum since 2013, continued his tirade against the United States government’s surveillance program in front of a standing-room-only crowd of his loyal devotees.

Among the topics he addressed, Snowden suggested that the war on radical Islamic terrorism is bloated and being used as a cover to crack down on people who, for example, watch pornography, that Black Lives Matter riots are a result of out-of-control human rights abuses, and indirectly defended Hillary Clinton for her Benghazi email scandal.

On the topic of terrorism, Snowden suggested the “dangerous thing” about that NSA’s surveillance programs “is that they’re not actually being used to stop terrorism in many cases. They’re being used to discredit individuals who have disapproved of the [fact that the] NSA has programs to spy on people’s pornography viewing habits because they consider them to be radicalizers.”

He suggested that “everyone in society knows that we’ve had an imperfect justice system” and that America holds “the people who wield the highest power of authority to a higher standard than others.”

Snowden stated that the NSA’s surveillance program shows that America is “monitoring more communications about Americans than we are about our adversaries in countries like Russia, for instance.” It is largely believed that both Russia and China have been able to crack classified U.S. government documents that Snowden stole and that they may contain details that allow for British and American spies to be identified, placing their lives at risk.

On the topic of social movements, Snowden gave a nod to the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements, suggesting they are the result of “rising levels of economic inequality [which] act as a de facto stabilizer, as long as it’s within a certain boundary….As that balance starts to tip, you see the Occupy Wall Street movement and so on. Or the abuses become so egregious that they simply cannot be ignored anymore, as with Black Lives Matter.”

Snowden said that “ultimately,” the the reason he decided to commit what many see as a betrayal of the nation is because “the only way that we would have any sort of input in our government is if we have a seat at the table of it. And the only way that happens is by knowing what’s going on. The only way that happens in a free and liberal society is by providing the press with information they need to make tough calls about what is and is not in the public interest. That’s not the role of government. That’s the role of the press.”

He suggested that while “we do need surveillance agencies, police agencies, military intelligence groups, to be able to solve crimes [and] to be able to thwart foreign threats,” that “we also need to have some limitations, some safe guards, some way to ensure that ultimately it’s the public holding the leash; as opposed to a few individuals hiding behind closed doors. And this should have been the courts.”

At the end of the webcast interview, the Yes Men provided the phone number for the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the United States Department of Justice. They asked everyone present to call requesting President Barack Obama pardon Snowden and allow him back into the country.

Should he return to America, Snowden will almost certainly face trial for his actions, which British intelligence sources have said caused “incalculable damage,” and for which the punishment will likely be severe.

A poll conducted by the Morning Consult in August of this year shows that just 33 percent of Americans would support a presidential pardon for the rogue NSA contractor. “56 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans said they would support government charges against Snowden. Forty-two percent of independents agreed.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.

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