Michael Winship and Ben Wizner
rinf.com
March 13, 2014

On Monday, via teleconference, whistleblower Edward Snowden addressed a crowd at SXSW, the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. Speaking from Russia, it was Snowden’s first public address to people in the United States since he fled the country last June and the revelation that he possessed thousands of secret documents obtained while a subcontractor with the National Security Agency (NSA). Reporting based on those leaked documents has made headlines around the world, revealing a depth of government mass surveillance heretofore denied by official Washington.

“When I came public it wasn’t to single-handedly change the government. I wanted to inform the public so they could make their own decision,” Snowden told the audience. “I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution and I saw that the Constitution was being violated on a massive scale.”

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