Nov 11, 2019

Edward Snowden tells "Axios on HBO" what he gave up to become a whistleblower

Former National Security Agency subcontractor Edward Snowden told "Axios on HBO" that "it was a difficult thing to come forward" and release top-secret documents about U.S. intelligence agencies' surveillance of American citizens to journalists in 2013.

Why it matters: The U.S. government does not considered Snowden a whistleblower because he did not raise his concerns through the legal process that had been established. As a result, he has lived in exile in Russia for more than six years.

  • Snowden's leaks prompted changes to laws and standards for American intelligence agencies and the practices of U.S.-based technology companies.

What he's saying: Snowden said he gave up a well-paying government job "spying on you" to never return home to see his family.

  • "Today I still live in exile, where I've been for over six years, which is actually getting close to the eight years that I spent working for the government in the intelligence community."

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The price of whistleblowing

Whistleblowers from some of the nation's highest profile cases have faced personal threats and consequences for their actions — but they're still urging others to expose wrongdoing despite the risks.

Why it matters: In interviews with "Axios on HBO," five of the best-known whistleblowers opened up about the threats they faced and the life-changing personal sacrifices they made: the isolation, the threats of physical harm, even the end of a marriage.

Go deeperArrowNov 11, 2019

Former intelligence official: Trump often didn't believe our findings

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Former Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon said in a speech to the Women's Foreign Policy Group Tuesday that President Trump often didn't believe intelligence officials' findings during briefings, citing his most common responses, CNN reports.

"One, 'I don't think that's true.' ... one is 'I'm not sure I believe that,' and the other is the second order and third order effects. 'Why is that true? Why are we there? Why is this what you believe? Why do we do that?' Those sorts of things."
— Gordon quoting Trump to Women's Foreign Policy Group, per CNN
Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

Vindman refuses to answer questions amid fear of outing whistleblower

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman faced a round of questioning from House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) over people with whom he discussed the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Why it matters: After Vindman said he discussed the call — as a part of his position on the National Security Council — with State Department official George Kent and an unnamed intelligence official, the questioning devolved into a squabble over the impeachment inquiry's rules protecting the identity of the whistleblower.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019