Originally published 16/12/13 in Folha de S. Paulo. Snowden later provided some context to this letter in an interview with Fantástico.
Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera.
I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a world-wide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say.
I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live.
Originally posted 6 August 2013 on the Article 19 website
Dear President Obama,
We are writing to you as free speech and media freedom organisations from around the world to express our strong concern over the response of the US government to the actions of whistleblower Edward Snowden. We urge you to take immediate action to protect whistleblowers and journalists.
Edward Snowden’s recent disclosures have triggered a necessary and long-delayed public debate about the acceptable boundaries of surveillance in a democratic country, a debate that on 5 June you welcomed having. The revelations brought into question the legitimacy of the secretive process of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and closed Congressional intelligence committees as appropriate forums to determine the fundamental human rights of Americans and persons worldwide. The disclosures have clearly served the public interest, including by prompting similar debates in countries around the world.