Snowden Speaks: A Vanity Fair Exclusive

NSA whistleblower and GAP client Edward Snowden sat down with reporters from Vanity Fairfor an upcoming 20,000 word piece about his decision to expose massive agency wrongdoing. This online piece features a short preview of his responses; the full story will be available in a few days.

In this preview, Snowden challenges government officials’ notions that he never raised concerns with NSA superiors, reinforces that he has no documents in his possession (rather, respected journalists do), and explains the shared values he has with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks (as well as their differences). Stated Snowden, “I am not anti-secrecy. I’m pro-accountability.”

In related news, speaking via video link to the Council of Europe yesterday, Snowden asserted that the NSA has spied on “a number of civil and non-governmental organizations” to look into their “highly sensitive and confidential communications.” More coverage at The Guardian.

Neon Tommy: Snowden’s Lawyer, Whistleblowers Converge at USC

Yesterday at the University of Southern California (USC), GAP’s American Whistleblower Tour held two events that showcased the importance of whistleblowing and the power of truth. The events focused on the problems facing national security whistleblowers, and featured Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, former NSA official Tom Drake, and GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack (legal counsel for Edward Snowden).

Another article from the same outlet relayed Drake’s emphasis that the erosion of civil liberties strikes at the heart of Americans’ constitutional rights.

In a related piece, additional coverage from Radack’s appearance at Yale Law School last week has been posted by Free Speech Radio News. That panel, featuring Ralph Nader, covered the state of civil liberties and federal whistleblowing.

Key QuoteRadack believes that national security is the reason why journalists and whistleblowers have limited protections. She said that only a few journalists are willing to give up their freedom to protect their sources. She points out that the U.S. government should not interfere with the press, but what they have repeatedly done so by subpoenaing journalists for their sources. Radack used the case of New York Times Reporter James Risen, who fought against Obama Administration and refused to testify against his source, to demonstrate to USC students.

On the other hand, Radack says that major media outlets will not publish whistleblowers’ stories for fear of jeopardizing their relationship with government sources.

Kyodo News: Ex-U.N. Official Pushes for Greater Whistleblower Protection

This piece details the saga of U.N. whistleblower/GAP client James Wasserstrom and his efforts to strengthen whistleblower protections at the international body. Last January, President Obama signed legislation requiring the Secretary of State to certify that each agency at the United Nations which receives U.S. contributions is adhering to best practices for the protection of whistleblowers. Agencies that lack such certification will lose 15 percent of their U.S. funding.

CNN: UNC Fake Class Scandal and NCAA’s Response Wind Their Way to Washington

Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-Ca) is demanding answers from the NCAA over its failure to hold the University of North Carolina (UNC) accountable for the “paper-class” scandal involving student-athletes. The scandal, and subsequent serious allegations involving revenue-sport student-athlete literacy levels, was exposed by whistleblower Mary Willingham. Rep. Cardenas said that if he doesn’t receive answers that satisfy him, he’s prepared to subpoena NCAA President Mark Emmert.

Key Quote: The NCAA declined to sanction the university, saying the scandal was academic in nature, not athletic. However, whistle-blower Mary Willingham has said that paper classes were openly discussed as a way to keep athletes eligible to play, and former football player Michael McAdoo said he was forced into majoring in African-American studies, the department at the heart of the paper-classes scandal. “I think it’s important to know if they are looking the other way,” Cardenas said. “I think it’s very suspicious.”


Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.