The former American intelligence officer Edward Snowden, in his memoirs “Permanent Record,” explained the reasons that had prompted him to publish secret documents of American intelligence agencies. 

“The constitutional system functions as a whole only if all three of its branches work as expected. When all three not only stop working, but stop working consciously and under coordination, the result is a culture of impunity. I realized that I was abnormal, imagining that the Supreme Court, or Congress, or President Obama, distancing himself from the administration of George W. Bush, will ever hold the intelligence community accountable – for whatever it is”, – Snowden writes.

“It’s time to accept the fact that the intelligence community puts itself above the law, and given how much the system is destroyed, it is right in this. The intelligence community understood the rules of our system better than the people who created it and used this knowledge for their own purposes. They hacked “The constitution,” – Snowden says.

In his opinion, the only adequate response to a crime of this magnitude was the publication of secret programs.

“The full disclosure of the mass surveillance apparatus, not by me, but by the media – in fact, the fourth branch of the US government, protected by a bill of rights – was the only answer that was adequate to the scale of the crime,” – Snowden explained his decision.

In June 2013, Snowden handed over to the Washington Post and Guardian newspapers a series of classified materials about Internet and US intelligence programs. He flew to Hong Kong, and from there to Moscow, where he spent some time in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport.
Russia granted Snowden temporary shelter for a year, provided that he ceases his activities against the United States. In August 2014, Snowden received a three-year residence permit, which allows him to travel not only in Russia, but also abroad. In January 2017, the Snowdenu residence permit was extended until 2020.

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