In his first ever interview with a Danish journalist, Edward Snowden has criticised the government’s handling of the NSA revelations. He claims that the public should not trust the government’s statement that “there is no reason to assume that illegal, American intelligence activities against Denmark or Danish interests have taken place”. Snowden also believes that the Danes should not accept parliament's recent decision to not further investigate the NSA surveillance.
“The Danes should start asking some serious questions when their government starts acting in the same way as the German one,” he told activist Peter Kofod who conducted the rare interview with Snowden for the blog denfri.dk.
He referred to the case of the German minister of the interior, Hans-Peter Friedrich, who recently claimed that the NSA had fully assured him that it was neither contravening German legislation nor spying against the interests of the country. Documents later revealed that the NSA had done the exact opposite.
Not up to journalists to investigate
Snowden thinks that the German incident clearly shows that politicians should not take the answers from the intelligence agencies at face value, but instead start their own investigation.
“Should the Danes really rely on journalists to carry out the investigation, which the government is supposed to handle? And do the media ask the government the right questions?” he said.
He also believes that it is crucial not to be satisfied with official answers that strictly relate to national legislation.
“The question, which the public should consider, is not whether mass surveillance is technically legal according to the laws of a certain country, but how we can protect our rights from all the other countries in the world,” he said.
Radikale rejects Snowden criticism
Radikale’s spokesperson on defence, Zenia Stampe, told Berlingske newspaper that the government has not been investigating the NSA surveillance properly.
“Our statement is based on a qualified foundation since it is the task of our intelligence agency to uncover and investigate these kinds of suspicions,” she told Berlingske.
Stampe also dismisses Snowdon’s claim that the agencies should follow all the laws of other countries.
“Intelligence activities are almost per definition illegal, wherever they take place. When the Danish intelligence service is operating internationally, it operates according to Danish rules and not according to the rules of the country where they collect information,” she said.