Century Foundation fellow Michael Cohen sat down with CBS on Sunday to discuss NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s claim of responsibility for the PRISM intelligence leak. That story was broken by Century senior fellow Barton Gellman in the Washington Post last week.
You can view the full clip of Cohen’s interview below.
In a video published by The Guardian, Snowden indicates that his primary concern is that certain analysts—even low-level ones—can “at any time can target anyone.” And because citizens are “watched and recorded,” incrimination could be retroactive, with records used by the government to “derive suspicion from an innocent life.”
Cohen notes that Snowden has set off an “avalanche of leaks.” He goes on to point out that Snowden’s access to secure information shows “real vulnerabilities in our national security infrastructure,” and his choice to come forth with classified information may worsen those vulnerabilities.
Cohen anticipates that Snowden will be vulnerable to prosecution, much like WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. Whistleblower protection, Cohen reminds us, is reserved for those who reveal information through legal channels such as Congress or the Department of Justice.
To keep up with the NSA story as it develops, be sure to follow Gellman (@bartongellman) and Cohen (@speechboy71) on Twitter, and subscribe to Century’s full list of foreign policy and national security fellows and staff.