BY EDWARD SNOWDEN
Before you judge what I’ve done, before your retreat to your cozy, clichéd belief about how Big Brother is real and that I’m a hero, or that the War on Terror requires us to compromise our freedoms and that I’m a traitor, I want to you consider this:
You don’t know the half of it.
Sure, I made off with some laptops full of shocking data about the government’s surveillance program. Yeah, I said a few things to a couple of newspapers that sent waves of shock and fear across the globe. I talked about phone records and how the NSA has been archiving them. Scary, right? But here’s the real kicker:
I haven’t even told you guys a tenth of what I know.
And why not, you ask? Yeah, right, like I’m going to spill all the beans in one fell swoop. What fun would that be? Leaking top-secret info is like foreplay, if you will. Two steps foward, one step back. Plus, telling everything all at once would be a good way to waste all my bargaining chips in one go. I’ll need some leverage later when the FBI has me tied up in a dank holding cell in some hidden compound in a suburb of Quito.
So don’t form any opinions just yet. Wait until I leak the US government’s plans to embed undetectable nanobots in everyone’s glasses. Oh, and hold your horses until you learn that your new “coworker” Adam actually works for the NSA and has a singular, dull task of writing a report everyday about changes in your body odor. And, you’ll really be freaked out when you learn that your “spouse” isn’t really updating her Facebook status every evening. No. Her posts are encoded memos to the FBI about how many bowel movements you’ve been having.
So all I ask of you is this: just keep your paranoia — or your resounding faith in the US government — at bay. Don’t jump to any conclusions. Don’t make any grand proclamations about freedom or the price of freedom. In a few weeks, you’ll see things differently and you’ll wished you had kept your mouth shut. Believe me. I know how you are.