Since his leaks began appearing in the press in June, Snowden has sparked public debate on both the international and national levels about government snooping. His leaks even prompted a potential legal defeat for the NSA: a federal judge ruled last week that the agency's collection of phone metadata, a program Snowden's documents revealed, was likely unconsitutional.
The fugitive contractor's future is still up in the air: his asylum in Russia runs out next year, and the U.S. government charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property in June. Several lawmakers and members of the intelligence community's top brass have branded him a traitor. But those who believe he intended to inflict harm, the fugitive contractor said, don't understand his motivations.
“I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA,” he told Gellman. “I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”