Edward Snowden says he wishes he had leaked NSA documents sooner

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |  Feb. 23, 2015 at 4:13 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden says he wishes he had come forward sooner with documents exposing the agency's surveillance program.

In a Reddit ask-me-anything interview Monday, Snowden said that's the one thing he would do differently in 2013 when he revealed NSA practices.

"I would have come forward sooner," he said.

"Had I come forward a little sooner, these programs would have been a little less entrenched, and those abusing them would have felt a little less familiar with and accustomed to the exercise of those powers. This is something we see in almost every sector of government, not just in the national security space, but it's very important: Once you grant the government some new power or authority, it becomes exponentially more difficult to roll it back," he said.

"Don't let it happen in your country."

Snowden participated in the question-and-answer session with Laura Poitras, a journalist and director of CITIZENFOUR -- Sunday's Oscar winner for best documentary -- and Glenn Greenwald, a journalist who co-founded The Intercept with Poitras and journalist Jeremy Scahill.

At Sunday night's Academy Awards ceremony host Neil Patrick Harris made a dig at Snowden, using the pun "for some treason."

Snowden said he wasn't bothered by Harris' comment.

"To be honest, I laughed at NPH," he said. "I don't think it was meant as a political statement, but even if it was, that's not so bad. My perspective is if you're not willing to be called a few names to help out your country, you don't care enough."

Snowden then quoted 18th century politician Patrick Henry: "If this be treason, then let us make the most of it."

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