Edward Snowden got personal about how the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks affected him in a wide-ranging interview with NBC News’ Brian Williams that aired Wednesday night.
“I take the threat of terrorism seriously, and I think we all do,” the former National Security Agency contractor said. “And I think it’s really disingenuous for the government to invoke and sort of scandalize our memories to sort of exploit the national trauma that we all suffered together and worked so hard to come through, and justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe but cost us liberties and freedoms that we don’t need to give up, and our Constitution says we should not give up.”
Snowden said he was in Fort Meade, Md., where NSA headquarters is located, the day of the terror attacks. He also recalled that his grandfather was working for the FBI at the time and was in the Pentagon when it was hit by a hijacked plane.
In another part of the interview with Williams, Snowden said that he sees himself as a “patriot.”
“Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen from the — the violations of an — and encroachments of adversaries,” he said, as quoted by NBC News. “And those adversaries don’t have to be foreign countries.”
Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that if Snowden was a patriot, he would stay in the U.S. and make his case in court.
Watch below, courtesy of NBC News:
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.