Edward Snowden Comments On CIA Torture, Declaring "We Cannot Move Forward As A Society"
One former CIA agent has spoken out about the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report, and you might have heard of him. During an Amnesty International event in Paris, whistle-blower Edward Snowden commented on the CIA torture report during a live video interview. The former NSA contractor and CIA agent says he was "deeply saddened" and "angered" by the 500-page account of the CIA's detention program that ran after 9/11, but what's even more disturbing for him is that no body has been held accountable.
He believes that allowing government operatives to get away with what he calls "serious crimes" undermines the moral authority of the United States and stunts us as a society, Snowden added.
The interview between the French Amnesty International members and Snowden, who answered questions from Moscow, opened with a glimpse into his life in the Russian city. He describes his life as "ordinary," saying that he rides the Moscow Underground "like everybody else." Snowden also mentions his work with "research communities, particularly the technical side of Internet standards" to discuss how to " improve the security for everyone around the world."
But the interview gets more heated when Snowden is asked about the recent CIA torture report, which has been the center of frenzied debate since it was released on Tuesday. The whistle-blower has strong feelings about the report, which he calls "extraordinary," particularly about the larger effects it may have on the international community.
The Secrecy Issue
It's not surprising that Snowden would take issue with the secret nature of the program, since he's basically a one-man campaign for government transparency. When discussing the NSA's mass surveillance program, Snowden remarked that when the government starts implementing large-scale policies without informing its people, they stop becoming partners of the government and start becoming subjects.
Individuals Need to Be Held Accountable
Snowden's main issue with the torture report, besides the unspeakable deeds that were performed, is that neither the interrogating officers nor the higher commanding officials are being held accountable, that the CIA is operating above the law.
Setting a Bad Example
As a country that has always touted itself as a moral leader in the world, America is quickly losing the moral high ground. By defying international standards set for torture and prosecuting torture, we are setting a precedent for countries much more prone to it. Basically, accountability is what separates us from North Korea.
What Does This Mean For Our Society?
The fact that the U.S. ran a torture program, kept it secret, and is holding no one accountable is an alarming and sobering reality check for the country. And the details that the torture report revealed speak even worse for our society.
Where does the government go from here? If they can justify torture, then they can pretty much justify anything, and it won't be long before this mentality seeps into society and hits us closer to home. It not only loses us the moral high ground, it completely rips the it from underneath everyone in this country.
Images: Getty Images (4)