Snowden on Cyber Warfare: “We Really Started This Trend”

Share:

January 8, 2015

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden said that the U.S. is setting a dangerous precedent by creating the capability to launch damaging cyber attacks against other countries. Such attacks wouldn’t just embarrass major movie studio executives and scuttle movie release plans, they could cut power to hospitals or damage power plants or other key infrastructure.

“The public still isn’t aware of the frequency of these cyber attacks are being used by governments around the world,” he said, adding that the U.S. “really started this trend in many ways.”

Snowden spoke to journalist James Bamford in June for an upcoming NOVA film on cyber warfare. The whistleblower compared U.S. investment in online espionage to Jurassic Park — something we’ve built that could ultimately come back to bite us.

Classified documents obtained by Snowden showed that U.S. agencies have found and even created technical vulnerabilities that allow American agents to gather intelligence from phone calls, emails and other communications both in the U.S. and around the world.

But in making it easier for its agents to spy, Snowden says, the U.S. also makes American companies, and its citizens, more vulnerable to hacks. It sets a dangerous precedent for other governments to launch such attacks, he said. And the U.S. has much more to lose — in research, intelligence, and infrastructure — than other nations.

You can watch an excerpt of NOVA’s interview below — and read the full transcript at NOVA Next.

Related Film: Find out more about the Snowden revelations and the evolution of our massive surveillance network in FRONTLINE’s two-part documentary, United States of Secrets.


Sarah Childress

Sarah Childress, Series Senior Editor, FRONTLINE

Twitter:

@sarah_childress

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

THE PEGASUS PROJECT Live Blog: Major Stories from Partners
A curated and regularly updated list of news articles from our partners in “The Pegasus Project,” a collaborative investigation among 17 journalism outlets around the world.
January 12, 2022
We Will 'Hold the Line': A Year-End Message from FRONTLINE's Executive Producer
A year-end message from FRONTLINE's executive producer, Raney Aronson-Rath.
December 30, 2021
Utah Police Shootings Often Involve a Person in a Mental Health Crisis. Here is How Law Enforcement and Advocates Respond.
A new Salt Lake Tribune data analysis shows that at least 42% of police shootings in the past decade involve a person in crisis or who is suicidal.
December 29, 2021
The Opioid Crisis in 2021: Benchmark Legal Decisions & Deaths
It has been a landmark year for the opioid crisis, both in court decisions impacting former executives of Insys Therapeutics — investigated in the 2020 documentary 'Opioids, Inc.' with the Financial Times — and in the toll on human lives.
December 27, 2021