NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is making new claims about the National Security Agency and its espionage practices. In an interview with German television broadcaster ARD, Snowden says the NSA engages in industrial espionage in addition to spying on the public and foreign governments.
ARD released a statement ahead of the interview airing in German on Sunday night. Snowden does not elaborate on his claims in the footage released by ARD but does say the NSA would obtain information from corporations if it benefited the "national interest" of the United States. In the clip, the interviewer asks if the NSA would spy on Siemens AG, the German electronics and engineering giant, and Snowden said the agency would take information even though it was not related to national security concerns.
In addition to discussing industrial espionage, Snowden said U.S. officials "want to kill him" following the NSA leaks. The whistleblower cites a Buzzfeed article that features quotes from a Pentagon official saying "“I would love to put a bullet in his head" and calling Snowden "the greatest traitor in American history." Snowden says he is no longer in possession of the NSA documents, having given them to various journalists and publications, and does not control what gets published.
The documents obtained by Snowden have led to the uncovering of NSA's massive espionage on civilians and foreign governments. The leaks include reports on NSA spying on Germany, France, Brazil and Mexico. With regard to Brazil, the NSA spied on Petrobas and President Dilma Rousseff. NSA's spy operations include creating back doors to secure encryption services used on the Internet, with the secret programs Bullrun and Edgehill, and other programs like Follow the Money that spied on banks and credit-card companies. The Snowden leaks also detail NSA efforts to collect smartphone data, email access and the ability to access offline computers in a program known as Quantum.
Snowden currently has temporary asylum in Russia.