Thomas Drake, who was prosecuted for allegedly disclosing National Security Agency secrets years before Edward Snowden surfaced, says the U.S. government has an “industrial-scale” surveillance system that “the Stasi in East Germany would have drooled over.” Drake speaks with Reuters defense correspondent Andrea Shalal-Esa.
Mr. Drake where. You there's been so much attention. Over the last few days to new allegations new documents have come out what do you what do you make of what you've seen over the last few days. Not a surprise me. It's simply validation of this vast. Now systemic. Industrial scale leviathan surveillance system. And it's. It's the twelve years of growth almost twelve years. Since nine elevenths. So none of what. I've seen published. In the guardian -- the post. A surprise as. What do you think -- that Edwards Newton the NSA analyst here has now disclosed this information by the guardian. Are considered -- -- But there's a question based based on the. The interview that's -- also been published. And the nature. And the information that he does expose the public interest it's quite quite clear. It fits you fits the textbook definition. The government of course that it did to me you will attempt to paint him as a trader. That is committing treason against the US is violate all under us. And that he's. Creating exceptionally grave damage. -- what he did -- -- it is committee -- a great damage against the United States. Why do you think these things need to be had an -- and there's no room and a democracy. For us this kind of secrecy which is ostensibly done in the name. The country this has done and and our security. When it's violating the fundamental tenants. Of the country which in this case of the constitution. And that the bill of rights which is that. But apparently it doesn't matter anymore. That in the post or in the particular post 9/11 world's. Constitutions. Is in the way. So we're so we've essentially seen. A revocation. The revoking of of the fundamental underpinnings of this country since. Everything else and says really is a Kabuki dance. Where. You know partnership with -- congress. They pass enabling legislation that allows them to conduct these activities under the veneer. Of law or the color of law that the problem is that in a democracy. Having this much extraordinary and extreme secrecy is anathema. Two who we are a at the excuses we we have to do this is -- we have to do is behind closed -- for your own sake. But how much more do from how many more of our rights our liberties -- forsake four for the sake of security. That to me that trade off is not worth. People keep talking about the balance the line. Of Franklin's famous quote that I read I read passive. You know you'll lose both right. You end up losing both their liberty and your security. Was in the military. And I food Cold War now on on reconnaissance aircraft. -- everywhere -- reported back we call it that I would call a big daddy never thought that he and it's they've become Big Brother. But to have an industrial scale surveillance system. That's tracking my have my every activity every transaction every movement and increasing combining all this information together. That's the -- Germany would have drool over this capability. And it just feeds on itself because that it becomes this pathological. Desire to just acquire everything you can possibly know when that was the stop the motto literally know everything. The government that bad check and did a very detailed investigation and you Richard Anderson balance. You. You know -- to. Ultimately. You know. Was it worth it for you. It's worth it well I mean it's freedom worth -- liberty -- Is not Libya surveil cited -- -- I've lived it -- I know what it's like to live. The surveillance state because -- failed state was on me writing me for so many years I got the you know I obviously wanted to do the end. Mean it was relentless. So that's. I would want any American to go through right. I keep taught telling the story about what it's like to live there several state and it without exception people say no that's satellite I wanna live well if you don't wanna Leavitt then you've got it if the stand up and defend the rights and the freedoms that prevent that from actually happen.