Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden is an American and naturalized Russian former computer intelligence consultant who leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013, when he was an employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy. A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a traitor, a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a coward, and a patriot. U.S. officials condemned his actions as having done "grave damage" to the U.S. intelligence capabilities. Snowden has defended his leaks as an effort "to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them." His disclosures have fueled debates over mass surveillance, government secrecy, and the balance between national security and information privacy, something that he has said he intended to do in retrospective interviews.

Books Mentioned on The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) #1368 - Edward Snowden

Book Title: Permanent Record

Author: Edward Snowden

Book Title:  A Pretext for War

Author: Hames Bamford

Book Title: State of War

Author: James Risen

Joe Rogan Experience #1368 with Edward Snowden

In Joe Rogan Experience #1368, Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who revealed the mass surveillance activities of the NSA, discusses a range of topics with host Joe Rogan. The podcast delves into Snowden’s background, his motivations, and the profound implications of government surveillance. This article covers the first third of their conversation.

Early Discussion: Snowden's Life and Book

Snowden begins by introducing his book “Permanent Record,” which narrates his life story and more importantly, the evolution of government surveillance post-9/11. He emphasizes the impact of technology on government operations and individual privacy. Snowden’s rationale for writing the book becomes clear – it’s not just his story, but a story about the shift in governmental powers and privacy invasion.

The Transformation Post-9/11

A significant part of the discussion focuses on the changes post-9/11. Snowden, with his experience at the CIA and NSA, elaborates on how these agencies evolved. He describes the government’s shift towards mass surveillance, marked by the implementation of programs like Stellar Wind. Snowden criticizes this approach, highlighting the constitutional and ethical issues it raises.

Surveillance and the Constitution

Snowden passionately discusses the balance between government power and individual rights. He points out that the U.S. Constitution was designed to restrict unwarranted government intrusions. However, post-9/11, the government, according to him, crossed these boundaries under the guise of national security. Snowden argues that this has led to a disproportionate invasion of privacy.

The Role of Congress and Legal Adjustments

An interesting point Snowden raises is how Congress and the Bush administration responded to the revelations of mass surveillance. He mentions how laws like the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments were passed, legalizing many of the controversial surveillance activities. This, Snowden argues, was more about legalizing existing practices rather than reforming them to protect civil liberties.

Personal Journey to Whistleblowing

Snowden reflects on his journey from being a part of the intelligence community to becoming a whistleblower. He shares insights into his thought process and the moral dilemmas he faced. His narrative provides a unique perspective on the internal workings of intelligence agencies and the ethical challenges individuals like him encounter.

JRE 1368 with Edward Snowden

In the middle segment of the Joe Rogan Experience #1368, Edward Snowden continues to delve into the complex world of government surveillance, its implications on individual freedom, and his personal journey towards whistleblowing. This analysis focuses on the second third of their engaging conversation.

Government Surveillance and the Erosion of Public Trust

Snowden touches on the growing mistrust between the public and the government, exacerbated by the latter’s intrusive surveillance practices. He emphasizes the shift from public safety to state security post-9/11, critiquing how national security has been used to justify extensive surveillance programs. This shift, according to Snowden, erodes the foundational values of democracy.

Constitutional Conflicts and Ethical Dilemmas

A profound theme in this segment is the conflict between mass surveillance and constitutional rights. Snowden articulates the tension between the government’s pursuit of security and the constitutional mandate to protect individual privacy. He passionately argues that the government’s actions post-9/11 have often crossed ethical and legal boundaries.

The Role of Technology in Surveillance

Snowden delves deep into the role of technology in modern surveillance, particularly focusing on the ubiquity of smartphones. He explains how these devices are constantly communicating with networks, making private lives increasingly transparent to government agencies. This part of the discussion highlights the growing concerns about the intersection of technology, privacy, and government oversight.

The Impact of Snowden's Revelations

An intriguing aspect of this section is Snowden’s reflection on the aftermath of his revelations. He discusses how his actions have sparked global debates about privacy and surveillance. Snowden’s narrative underscores the importance of public awareness and the need for stringent checks on government powers.

Personal Sacrifices and the Path to Whistleblowing

Snowden shares his personal journey from being a member of the intelligence community to taking the monumental step of becoming a whistleblower. He describes the internal conflict and the moral considerations that led him to expose the truth. This personal account adds a human dimension to the broader discussion of government surveillance.

The Global Implications of Surveillance Practices

Snowden’s insights extend beyond the U.S., touching upon the global implications of surveillance practices. He draws parallels between the U.S. and other countries, stressing the universal need for privacy protections and transparent governance.

The Future of Privacy and Surveillance

Looking forward, Snowden expresses concerns about the evolving nature of surveillance, particularly with advancements in technology. He calls for a balanced approach that respects individual privacy while addressing legitimate security concerns.

The Nature of Democracy and Public Officials

In the final segment of Joe Rogan Experience #1368, Edward Snowden, the renowned whistleblower, continues his in-depth discussion with Joe Rogan, focusing on the broader implications of government surveillance, his personal experiences, and the future of privacy. This article delves into the concluding part of their conversation.

Snowden stresses the importance of transparency in a democratic system, especially concerning public officials. He emphasizes that in a democracy, the actions and policies of public officials should be known to the public to maintain accountability. However, he critiques the rise of state secrets and classified systems, arguing that they have led to a cycle of abuse of power by government agencies.

The Journey to Whistleblowing

Reflecting on his decision to become a whistleblower, Snowden discusses the ethical dilemma he faced while working within the intelligence community. He underlines the conflict between his loyalty to his job and the moral obligation he felt to expose the truth about government surveillance practices.

The Impact of Snowden’s Revelations

Snowden highlights how his disclosures have led to global debates on privacy and surveillance. He discusses the aftermath of his actions, including the legal and political ramifications. His personal narrative provides insights into the challenges faced by whistleblowers.

The Role of Technology in Surveillance

The conversation turns to the role of technology in enabling mass surveillance. Snowden details how smartphones and other devices have become tools for constant surveillance, explaining the technical aspects of how these devices can be used to track individuals’ activities and locations.

Government Secrecy and Legal Challenges

Snowden delves into the concept of government secrecy and the challenges it poses to legal recourse. He discusses the difficulties in challenging government surveillance programs in court, given the secrecy surrounding these programs.

The Ethics of Loyalty and Patriotism

Snowden offers a nuanced take on the concepts of loyalty and patriotism. He argues that loyalty should be in the service of something good and that patriotism involves working for the betterment of one’s country, not blind allegiance to the government.

Personal Sacrifices and Exile

Snowden talks about his life in exile, the sacrifices he has made since revealing the NSA’s surveillance activities, and his desire for a fair trial should he return to the United States. He also discusses the challenges of living in Russia, a country he did not choose but was forced to stay in due to circumstances.

The Future of Privacy and Surveillance

Looking forward, Snowden expresses his concerns about the future of privacy, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach that respects individual privacy while addressing legitimate security concerns. He calls for more control and transparency in how personal data is collected and used.


In this final segment of the podcast, Edward Snowden and Joe Rogan engage in a thought-provoking discussion that touches on crucial issues of privacy, government surveillance, technology, and personal freedom. Snowden’s insights offer a compelling perspective on the challenges and dilemmas posed by the modern surveillance state and the ongoing struggle for privacy and freedom in the digital age.