That Snowden Interview

Just when I was considering not renewing, came the November 17 issue with Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen F. Cohen’s “Snowden in Exile” interview. It was the best I have read. Snowden is amazing: it is a travesty what the US government, media and public have done and continue to do to him. Thank you for the in-depth reporting that was concise in spite of the length; I read every word.
Renee Svendsen
key colony beach, fla.

My lifelong admiration for The Nation—its advocacy, its fine work and Ms. vanden Heuvel—ended with your description of Snowden as a “courageous whistleblower.” Farewell. Thank you for all the good you have done, but I shall have nothing to do with you again.
Jeff Mansfield
borrego springs, ca.

We should not forget that Edward Snowden had predecessors. In addition to Daniel Ellsberg, there was, most notably, Philip Agee, a dissident CIA officer. Agee’s major work, Inside the Company (1975), disclosed in great detail the CIA’s destructive activities throughout Latin America. Agee stayed away from the United States for fear of prosecution, and his passport was revoked in 1979, though he traveled throughout the world on documents issued by friendly governments. He eventually returned from time to time to lecture and teach, after his lawyers were assured by the Justice Department that he would not be prosecuted.

It turned out that this decision was made because of Justice’s criminal investigation of the CIA for a plot it hatched to do serious harm to Agee. Though the CIA plotters were not prosecuted, their illegal activities against Agee would have had to be disclosed if he had been prosecuted for any federal offense. So Agee escaped prosecution, ironically, only because of that illegal CIA action against him. Snowden’s lawyers ought to poke around to see what the government might be illegally plotting against him.

Mel Wulf
Agee’s lawyer for thirty years
new york city

Well done, Katrina and Stephen! And to citizen hero Snowden, thanks! We await the demand to grow for his return from exile with full immunity from prosecution as the full import of his historic action continues to become known to all.

Excellent interview. Another shining example of why The Nation should be read by people of all political persuasions.
Dookie Boot

I admire this young gentleman’s humility and courage. Keep up the good work, man. The world needs it.

Great interview. A lot of pressure for a young man; he seems to be handling it as well as anyone.

A breath of fresh air. Thanks for that. It is uplifting to get a glimpse of Mr. Snowden’s thinking. It’s a pity the technical discussions were passed up and the human interest stuff given prominence though.

An amazing read. Am I the only one who sees the Zeitgeist movement emerging from what Edward Snowden alludes to in his final thoughts? I wonder if he and Peter Joseph have ever had a discussion. Snowden changed my life. Before his revelations about the NSA, the most political thing I had ever done was to stop using a bridge in my area because they put a toll on it. I needed perspective to better channel my ability to interpret policies, and Snowden was the one who provided the scope and scale for that.

Already considered myself indebted for everything Snowden has done, but to hear him come out in support of a basic income… amazing. This is indeed a major issue those who don’t understand technology don’t yet comprehend. Unless we enact a basic income guarantee, technology will continue to accelerate inequality, and social unrest will become an increasing danger to economic and political stability.

More convinced than ever that the kind of political reform Snowden thinks might be possible starts with congressional candidates pledging to impeach federal judges who violate their oaths. I’d start with FISA judges. Impeachment was intended to be a legislative check on the judiciary, but we’ve reached the point where the legal cartel operates with impunity.
Jeff A. Taylor

How to guarantee Snowden gets a fair trial, when we can’t be sure that he can even get a trial? Snowden needs habeas corpus, but who’s to guarantee it? The Justice Department has suspended it in similar cases. Open trial? The DoJ will say that the secret stuff means that the trial will be behind closed doors. Who could guarantee that Snowden would be safe? Somebody trustworthy has to visit him where he is and also get a guarantee from the United Nations that Snowden will be allowed to await trial in a secluded space, with the best lawyers in America, and in front of a perfect court.


I strongly disagree with your editorial asking New Yorkers to vote for Andrew Cuomo on the Working Families Party line [“A Vote for Working Families,” Nov. 17]. The WFP is a lobby within the Democratic Party, not an independent political entity. As long as it continues to simply endorse candidates chosen by the Democratic Party, its influence will be negligible. When WFP members courageously tried to nominate Zephyr Teachout for governor, Cuomo came to the nominating convention and promised everything under the sun to make sure he was the WFP nominee.

Shortly afterward, he created the Women’s Equality Party. Considering the antiabortion stance of Rob Astorino, there was no need for such a party. So why was it created? To siphon votes away from the WFP so it would fall short of the 50,000 minimum for retaining an automatic ballot line in New York.

So long as Cuomo is governor of New York, he will do everything in his power to shove the WFP into history’s dustbin. Because the WFP is a lobby and not an independent party, it will remain what it is, a confessional party through which those wedded to the two-party system can cast a guilt-free protest vote.

I believe that New Yorkers who oppose fracking, who support a single-payer healthcare system, who believe in a $15/hour minimum wage, who believe that the time has come to move to 100 percent renewable energy, and who believe that New York must stop rebating the stock-transfer tax (about $16 million) should vote for the Green Party.

David Doonan, mayor
greenwich, n.y.