Here’s What’s Going on With Snowden, the NSA, and the DoJ

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On January 16, Buzzfeed published an article called “America’s Spies Want Edward Snowden Dead.” In support of its thesis — that the former National Security Agency contractor, who revealed a number of secret mass surveillance programs, was “enemy number one” — the site spoke to several anonymous sources: a defense contractor, a Pentagon official, a current NSA analyst, and an Army intelligence officer. Their commentary summarized the hostility that is running beneath the national debate over the American intelligence system.

“In a world where I would not be restricted from killing an American, I personally would go and kill him myself,” the NSA analyst told BuzzFeed. “A lot of people share this sentiment.”

“I would love to put a bullet in his head,” the Pentagon official, a former special forces officer, said. “I do not take pleasure in taking another human being’s life, having to do it in uniform, but he is single-handedly the greatest traitor in American history.” The defense contractor, who works at a overseas intelligence collections base, said: “His name is cursed every day over here. Most everyone I talk to says he needs to be tried and hung, forget the trial and just hang him.”

Snowden recently gave a lengthy interview conducted in Moscow, where he has been living, in exile, since leaving Sheremetyevo airport in early August; the segment was broadcast Sunday on the German public station ARD TV. Interview topics ranged from the NSA’s involvement in industrial espionage and the possibility that his life was in danger.

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