Snowden thought NBC would give him a ‘fair shake’

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Edward Snowden says he chose to give his first big U.S. TV interview to NBC News because it did “actual individual reporting” on what he felt were the issues his leaks raised.

You broke some of the stories. And they were about controversial issues. So while I don’t know how this is going to show up on TV, I thought it was reasonable that, you know, you guys might give this a fair shake.



NBC has a “collaboration agreement” with First Look Media, for whom Glenn Greenwald works. Erik Wemple reported last week on whether that helped NBC News snag the interview:

For starters, Snowden is a strong-willed sort unlikely to take interview orders from anyone, though his relationship with Greenwald is airtight (he’s in a just-published selfie with Greenwald & Co. in Russia). According to the network source, NBC News approached Snowden via several avenues, one of them being through Greenwald. Though Greenwald didn’t negotiate the terms of the agreement, the NBC News source concedes that Greenwald is among a small number of people who can assist in making contact with Snowden, who is living in Moscow.

Bill Carter wrote about the process by which Brian Williams and NBC News prepared for the interview:

As Mr. Williams described it, the back story of the interview contained its own quotient of cloak-and-dagger activity, including unannounced plane travel, lost luggage, hotel bookings under assumed names and two days sequestered in a room with a view of Red Square.

During his interview, Snowden said he’s been spending part of his time in exile catching up on “The Wire.”

It may seem trivial that Snowden is watching an HBO series that first aired more than a decade ago,” Zach Seward writes. “But that it now comes so naturally and easily, even while in exile in Russia, is kind of profound.”

Snowden found “The Wire”‘s second season “not so great.” He is wrong on this point: The second season is the best one. (Also, if he was hoping journalists might spend Wednesday evening discussing the substance of his interview on Twitter, he shouldn’t have mentioned a show many of them are obsessed with.)

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  • http://www.robbmontgomery.com/ Robb Montgomery

    “This was the first good long look at him the world has had.”

    NBC’s Brian Williams says at 00:16-00:19 in his one-on-one interview with Edward Snowden in Moscow.

    Not true: Snowden was interviewed recently in English, and in Moscow by German Public TV. http://j.mp/snow_DE_n

    That first interview made huge waves and calls from EU politicians for Snowden to testify in Europe.