Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 2, Episode 8 - Government Surveillance - full transcript

John heads to Russia to interview Edward Snowden as part of a segement on government surveillance.

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Season II, episode 8

Welcome to Last Week Tonight.
I'm John Oliver.

A longer edition tonight
for reasons that will become clear,

but just time
for a quick recap of the week.

And we begin tonight with Iran.
The greatest threat to Salman Rushdie

since Padma Lakshmi's
divorce attorney.

The world's attention was focused on
the Iranian nuclear talks,

taking place in Switzerland.

We only had tantalizing glimpses
of some of the main players.

I want to show you some BuzzFeed
video of John Kerry taking a walk.

This is the first time we've seen
the Secretary of State in a long time,

he's across the street there
from the hotel getting some air.

Tourists here chanting
"I love you, John Kerry".

Wait, "I love you John Kerry" ?

No lucid human
has ever said those words.

Even his wife has has at most,

"certain aspects of your personality
are not displeasing, John."

That's as far as anyone
can physically go.

Talks extended well past
their initial deadline,

hardly surprising, given that they took
place in the Hotel Beau Rivage palace.

And if you think it looks spectacular
from the outside,

wait till you see
their promotional video.

to the Hotel Beau Rivage Palace.

This 15 000 square foot spa is
the first of its kind in Switzerland.

The hotel's restaurants include
Anne-Sophie Pic of Beau Rivage.

The 169 elegant rooms
and sumptuous suites are spacious,

and exquisitely appointed.

I'm just going to say it: I want
to have sex with that hotel.

Not in that hotel. With it.
I want to fuck that hotel.

Why would any diplomat rush
to close a deal in that place ?

We went on their website
and found that they offer

not just Japanese bath treatments
but also, a hotel bar show

featuring funk rock band
"The Inglorious Fonkers".

I'm sorry, you hadn't heard
of the Inglorious Fonkers ?

Prepare to have
that changed forever.

Have you heard
about a crazy band ?

Listen to the Fonkers.
I'm sure you'll be amazed.

I said, "free".

That is the quintessential sound
and look of Swiss hotel funk.

Despite all the hotel's attractions,
Thursday brought a huge announcement.

Today, nearly round the clock
negotiations with Iran

and how to curb its nuclear program
produced a framework of a deal.

Now if this holds, that is
a massive achievement.

And the very next day, Iranians
proved how excited they were.

After marathon negotiations,

Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif
arrived home a hero,

especially among the young
who hope

the nuclear deal will bring
their country in from the cold.

At Friday prayers, there was
the usual chant of "death to America"

but more habit than conviction.

That's good I guess.
More habit than conviction.

Like an atheist saying
"God bless you" when you sneeze,

or Billy Joel
singing "Piano Man".

You know that song is just
mouth-noises to him at this point.

I should point out that this deal
is not technically a deal yet.

Our work is not yet done.
The deal has not been signed.

Between now and the end of June,
the negotiators will work

through the details of how this
framework will be implemented

and details matter.

That won't be easy. Think of how
incredible it'll be if they do it.

They're at
the Hotel Beau Rivage palace.

They've signed a historic deal.
It's May the seventh.

And drifting up from
the hotel bar is this sound.

We have peace.
Peace in our fonking time.

Moving on to Nigeria. The country
whose prince is going to be sending you

some ofthat money
he owes any day now.

After weeks of delay
due to Boko Haram,

Nigeria finally held their election.

Nigeria has a new president.

Retired general Muhammadu Buhari
defeating incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.

Jonathan issued a statement
thanking Nigerians

for "great opportunity
to lead the country."

Thanking people for the great
opportunity is a weird tone.

Sounds more like a temp

leaving after covering
someone's maternity leave.

Keep my resume on file in case
Linda gets pregnant again.

Now: who here
can tell me my name ?

Goodluck Jonathan leaves
behind a mixed legacy.

But the very fact he conceded is
actually a major step forward

for Nigerian democracy.

This election was something
of a milestone.

This was the first real
contest in Nigeria's history,

which is riddled with coups
and rigged elections.

But with a truly independent
electoral commission

and the introduction
of electronic voter registration,

a lid was kept on fraud and the
power of the people won through.

That's absolutely fantastic.

Whilst they've had supposedly
democratic elections before,

and they did look a lot like
the real thing, they weren't quite it.

Much like imitation crab
or Dave Franco.

Not quite
what you were promised.

Nigeria's new leader
will be Muhammadu Buhari.

We have some inkling
of how he may be as a leader,

because he's done it before.

After Buhari last took power
in a coup in 1983,

he brutally attacked corruption,
setting up military tribunals,

executing drug dealers publicly
and punishing bureaucrats

who arrived late for work,
forcing them to do squats.

That's true.

His government forced civil servants
to do squat jumps as punishment.

Something that looks like this.
In the past,

he's basically been the military
dictator version of Jillian Michaels.

Bend your fucking knees or
I'll break them with this pole.

You're not acting strong,
you're acting pathetic.

Get the fuck up. Unless you faint,
puke or die, keep walking.

Ok, I take it back.

The military dictator version of
Jillian Michaels is Jillian Michaels.

But finally this week:
President Obama.

America's forty-fourth
"not my president".

He's selling jobs initiatives
on the road

and this week
he landed in unfriendly territory.

President Obama is heading
to deep red Utah.

A state in which he only managed
to get 25% of the vote back in 2012.

Only 25 percent ? It cannot be
easy to go back somewhere

when three quarters of the people
don't care for you,

which is why I spend
most of my time in this country.

That's a hard fact.

This was actually his first
trip to Utah as president.

Which drew people's attention
to an insulting fact.

He's hit 49 of the 50 states
as president.

The only one missing,
South Dakota.

Yes, much like Uber and sweatshirts
without glitter on them,

the president has not
yet made it to South Dakota.

It's not like the people
who live there have not noticed.

It's official.
South Dakota will become

the only state without
a visit from President Obama.

South Dakota is the only state Obama
has not visited since taking office.

- He's saving the best for last.
- Exactly, right ?

Obama came close when he was
on the standing rock reservation.

Part of the reservation extends into
South Dakota but Obama stayed north.

He was in the neighborhood
and he didn't drop by ?

That feels like he's doing this
on purpose.

The only thing more insulting
would be if he does go,

but does it inside
a giant plastic bubble.

I'm not technically here !
I'm not touching anything !

This doesn't count as a visit.
But maybe my favorite detail

is how one anchor tried to segue
into some more positive news.

It's unclear how soon Obama
will visit South Dakota

but with 21 months left on his
term, he does have plenty of time.

The Denny Sanford Premier officials
announced Rod Stewart

will perform Saturday,
July 25th in Sioux Falls.

That doesn't make it better,
South Dakota.

A night with Rod Stewart is only
a proper consolation prize

if your original goal was
to have sex with Peter Gabriel.

It's not like South Dakota
hasn't tried to lure the president.

Their secretary of tourism
wrote to him in 2013, inviting him,

pointing out his wife and daughters
visited Mount Rushmore

and saying:
"now it is your turn".

This is all getting so desperate.

You haven't even seen
their latest tourism ad.

Mr. President: South Dakota's
a beautiful, historic state.

Why won't you visit us ?

You can see all South Dakota's
amazing attractions:

the Corn Palace, Wall Drug,

that crazy horse monument
we're gonna try to finish soon,

the corn palace again, we got
some reptile gardens

and of course
the corn palace.

That's like six different things !

Plus, if you come,
you can meet some real nice people.

There's Gus, who closes
the buffalo gate at dusk.

Stay put, ya crazy buffalos !

There's Tony, who rides his bike
and points at squirrels.

And we got hobo
George R. R. Martin.

C'mon, Mr. President ! Sure, we
didn't vote for you. Either time.

But we love presidents so much,
we carved them into a mountain

and even have a whole wax
museum devoted to you guys.

You can see a Jimmy Carter
that will haunt your dreams,

George W. Bush at Ground Zero
which we thought was appropriate

and we think this is Bill Clinton,
but no one's entirely sure.

Don't forget, you can see Rod Stewart.
So we got that going for us.

C'mon, Mr. President ! For cryin'
out loud, you've been to Montana.

That state's nothing but barbed-wire
fences and goat-fuckers.

I'm sorry.
We shouldn't have said that.

It's true,
but we shouldn't have said it.

Please come to South Dakota,
Mr. President.

South Dakota: if you close your eyes,
you can pretend it's North Dakota.

Moving on.

Our main story
is government surveillance.

Most people would rather
discuss literally any other topic,

including "is my smartphone
giving me cancer ?"

to which the answer
is probably,

or "do goldfish
suffer from depression ?",

to which the answer is,
yes, but very briefly.

It is vital that we have
a discussion about this now,

because an important date
is around the corner.

One big date to circle
on the calendar,

the reauthorization
of the Patriot Act

and all of the provisions therein.

June first, they've got
to reauthorize or curtail this program.

Some controversial provisions
within the Patriot Act

are set to expire
on June the first,

so circle that date on your calendars,
and while you're at it,

circle June second as well,
because that's Justin Long's birthday.

You all forgot last year
and he fucking noticed.

Over the last years, you've
heard a lot about strange programs,

such as X-Keyscore, Muscular,
PRISM, and Mystic,

which are, also the names of some
of Florida's least popular strip clubs.

Welcome to X-Keyscore !
Our dancers are fully un-redacted !

And Tuesday is wing night !

I would like to refresh
your memory over some of this.

Let's start by focusing on the most
controversial portion up for renewal:

section 215, which sounds like the
name of an eastern European boy band:

"We are section 215. Prepare
to have your hearts throbbed."

There's the cute one, the bad boy,
the one who strangled a potato farmer

and the one
without an iron deficiency.

The contents of the real section 215
is even more sinister.

It's called section 215, nicknamed
the library records provision,

which allows the government
to require businesses

to hand over records of
"any tangible things including"

"books, records, papers,
documents and other items."

If that sounds broad, it's because
it was written that way.

Section 215 says the government
can ask for "any tangible things",

so long as it's "for an investigation
to protect against terrorism."

It's like letting a teenager borrow
the car on the strict condition

that they use it only
for car-related activities.

Mom and dad, I'm gonna use
this for a hand-job

in the Wendy's parking lot,
but that is car-related.

Section 215 is overseen
by a secret intelligence court, FISA.

They've interpreted it to mean
the government could collect and store

phone records for every American,
the vast majority of whom

have no connection to terrorism.

Unless Aunt Cheryl has been
mischaracterizing the activities

of her needlepoint club.

It's a sleeper cell, isn't it,
Aunt Cheryl ?

You'll hang for this !
You're a traitor and a terrible aunt !

Not in that order.

The government will point
out that under 215,

they hold phone records
and not the calls themselves.

What the intelligence community
is doing

is looking at phone numbers
and durations of calls.

They are not looking at people's
names nor at content.

but that's not entirely reassuring.

You can extrapolate
from that information.

If they knew you called
your ex 12 times last night

between one and four a.m.,
for 15 minutes each time,

they can be fairly sure you left
some pathetic voicemails:

I don't care
who's monitoring this call, Vicki,

we should be together !

Pick up the phone, damn it !
I'm a human being not an animal !

Now the Patriot Act was
written just after 9/11.

It was extended and reauthorized
with barely a passing thought.

It became so routine that
when it was extended in 2011,

one newscast tacked it onto the end
of a report about a presidential trip.

Chip Reid, CBS News, traveling with
the president in Deauville, France.

Also in France by the way,
President Obama signed into law

a 4-year extension
of the Patriot Act.

"Also in France, by the way".
He threw that in

like a mother telling her daughter
that her childhood pet just died.

Nice talking to you. Also, by the way,
Mister Peppers is dead,

see you at Christmas !

All of that was before the public
was made aware

of what the government's
capabilities were.

That all ended in June of 2013.

Edward Snowden has taken

for one of the biggest government
leaks in US history.

The government has the capacity
to track every American phone call

and to scoop up vast quantities
of data across the internet.

Revelations that the NSA
eavesdropped on world leaders.

If you've ever been to the Bahamas,
the NSA could have recorded

your phone calls
and stored them.

All that information was exposed
by Edward Snowden.

And it is still kind of incredible that
a 29-year-old contractor

was able to steal top-secret documents
from an organization

that literally has the word security
in its name.

That was not great for them.
The only place where it should be

that easy for employees in their
twenties to steal is a Lids store.

Dude, you sure
I should take this ?

Relax, it's a Miami Marlins cap.
We're not selling Faberge eggs here.

It is still unclear how many documents
Edward Snowden stole.

He has tried to reassure people
he put them in good hands.

I don't want to be the person
making the decisions

on what should be public
and what shouldn't,

which is why rather than publishing
these or putting them out openly,

I'm running them
through journalists.

Sounds great, but
it's not a fail-safe plan.

Proven when New York Times
published this slide,

some people were able to read
the information behind that black bar,

which concerned how the US was
monitoring Al Qaeda in Mosul,

a group now known as ISIS.

A national security secret was leaked
because no one at the Times knows

how to use Microsoft Paint.

You can think that Snowden
did the wrong thing

or did it in the wrong way.

We have this information now

and we no longer get the luxury
of pleading ignorance.

It's like you can't go to Sea World and
pretend Shamu's happy anymore,

when we now know at least half
the water in her tank is whale tears.

You can't un-know that information.
You have to bear that in mind.

It's now two years later,
and we've kind of forgotten

to have a debate over the content
of what Snowden leaked.

A recent Pew report found
that nearly half of Americans say

they're "not very concerned"
or "not at all concerned"

about government surveillance.

Which is fine,
if that's an informed opinion.

I'm not sure that it is.
We sent a camera crew to Times Square

to ask some random passers by
who Edward Snowden was.

These are the responses
that we got.

No idea
who Edward Snowden is.

I've heard the name,
I just can't picture...

... think right now
what it is.

Edward Snowdený no.
I do not.

Just for the record:
that wasn't cherry-picking.

That was reflective of everyone
we spoke to.

Some did remember his name.
They couldn't remember why.

He sold some information.

He revealed some information
that shouldn't have been revealed.

The information that he shared
was detrimental to our military secrets

and keeping our soldiers
in our country safe.

He can leak documents about
the US army's operations in Iraq.

Snowden revealed a bunch of secrets
or information into WikiLeaks.

Snowden leaked,
he's in charge of WikiLeaks.

Edward Snowden revealed a lot
of documents through WikiLeaks.

Edward Snowden
is not the WikiLeaks guy.

The WikiLeaks guy is Julian Assange.
You don't want to be confused with him.

He was far less careful than Snowden
in what he released and how.

He resembles a bag full of biscuit
dough wearing a Stevie Nicks wig.

That is critical.
Julian Assange is not a likeable man.

Even Benedict Cumberbatch
could not make him likeable.

He's uncumberbatchable.

That was supposed
to be physically impossible.

I don't blame people
for being confused.

We've been looking at this story
for the last two weeks

and it is hard
to get your head around.

Not just because there are
so many complicated programs,

but also because there
are no easy answers here.

We all want perfect privacy
and perfect safety,

but those two cannot coexist.

It's like how you can't have
a badass pet falcon

and an adorable pet vole
named Herbert.

You have to lose one of them,
which you don't want to do,

or you accept reasonable
restrictions on both of them.

The NSA will argue that just
because they can do something,

doesn't mean they do do it,
and that there are restrictions

such as the FISA court, which must
approve requests for surveillance.

But in 34 years, that court
approved over 35 000 applications

and only rejected twelve.

Like Robert Durst's second wife,
the FISA court is alarmingly accepting.

Robert, I'm not going
to ask too many questions,

I'm gonna give you the benefit of
a doubt you clearly don't deserve.

At least tell him
to blink and burp less.

The burping might be the most
troubling thing about that show.

Maybe it's time for us to talk about
where the limits should be.

The best place to start
would be section 215.

Not because
it's the easiest to understand,

but because there is widespread
agreement it needs to be reformed.

From the president to Ted Cruz to both
the ACLU and the NRA

to even the guy who wrote
the thing in the first place.

I was the principle
author of the Patriot Act.

I can say that without qualification.
Congress never did intend to allow

bulk collections
when it passed section 215

and no fair reading of the text
would allow for this program.

He was the author !
That's the legislative equivalent

of Lewis Carroll seeing the teacups
ride at Disneyland and saying:

"This has to be reined in."

"No fair reading
of my text would allow for this ride."

You've turned my perfectly nice tale
of psychedelic pedophilia

into a garish vomitorium,
this is not what I wanted.

Even the NSA has said that
the number of terror plots in the US

that the section 215 telephone records
programs has disrupted is one.

That one particular plot involved
a cab driver in San Diego

who gave 8 500 dollars
to a terror group.

That is the shittiest terrorist plot
I've ever seen

other than the plot of
"A Good Day to Die Hard."

But here's the big problem:
if we let section 215 get renewed

in its current form, without serious
public debate, we're in trouble.

Section 215
is the canary in the coalmine.

If we cannot fix that, we're
not going to fix any of them.

The public debate so far
has been pathetic.

A year ago,
a former congresswoman

was discussing the 215 program
on the news.

Watch what happened.

This vast collection of data
is not that useful

and infringes substantially
on personal privacy.

We should seriously consider
not continuing Section 215...

Congresswoman Harman,
let me interrupt you.

We've got some breaking news
out of Miami. Stand by.

In Miami, Justin Bieber has been
arrested on a number of charges.

The judge is reading the charges,

including resisting arrest
and driving under the influence.

He's appearing now before
the judge for his bond hearing.

Actually, bad news: we're going
to have to interrupt your interruption

for a new interruption,
featuring a YouTube video

of a tortoise having sex
with a plastic clog.

That is the current tone
of this vitally important debate.

And, again, I'm not saying
this is an easy conversation.

But we have to have it.
I know this is confusing.

The most obvious person to talk
to about this is Edward Snowden.

But he lives in Russia. If you
wanted to ask him about these issues,

you'd have to fly all the way there,
and it is not a pleasant flight.

And the reason
I know that is that last week,

I went to Russia to speak to Snowden
and this is what happened.

Yes, last week I spent
48 paranoid hours in Moscow,

the last place where you can find an
overweight Joseph Stalin impersonator

arguing with an unconvincing
fake Lenin.

After experiencing Russia's
famously warm hospitality,

I went to meet Snowden, who was
supposed to show up at noon.

At 5 minutes after the interview
was scheduled to begin,

I had a troubling thought.

I don't know.
You think he's coming ?

'Cause my argument is, why would
he, when you think about it ?

I got 2 000 rubles that says
he doesn't make it,

without understanding
how much that is.

All I'm saying is,
a 10-hour flight for an empty chair.

I'm gonna lose my shit.

It turns out there may be a problem
because our Russian producer

booked us in a room
overlooking the old KGB building

and the home of the current
Federal Security Bureau.

We've just been told
they know we're here.

So that happened.

Just if the Russian KGB
is listening,

ring the fire alarm,
if he's not coming.



- So sorry for the delay.
- That's fine.

Holy shit. He actually came.
Edward fucking Snowden...

... the most famous hero and/or
traitor in recent American history.

I started with a question
designed to test his loyalties.

How much
do you miss America ?

My country is something
that travels with me.

That's a way
too complicated answer.

The answer is, I miss it a lot,
it's the greatest country.

I do miss my country,
my home, my family.

- Do you miss hot pockets ?
- Yes. Very much.

The entire state of Florida ?

Let's just let that silence
hang in the air.

- Do you miss truck nuts ?
- I don't know what they are.

Lucky for you, Edward.

Not just truck nuts,
stars and stripes truck nuts.

That is 2 balls of liberty
in a freedom sack.

- You've really thought ahead.
- At least one of us did.

No, 'cause of the quandary,
the Kafkaesque nightmare you're in.

Okay, let's dive in.
Why did you do this ?

The NSA has the greatest surveillance
capabilities we have ever seen.

They will argue they don't use this

for nefarious purposes
against American citizens.

In some ways, that's true.

But the real problem is that
they're using these capabilities

to make us vulnerable
to them and then saying:

"I have a gun pointed at your head,
not gonna pull the trigger. Trust me."

What's the NSA
you want look like ?

Because you applied for a job
at the NSA,

so you clearly see an inherent
value in that shadowy organization.

I worked with mass surveillance
systems against Chinese hackers.

These things do have
some purpose.

And you want your spies
to be good at spying, to be fair.

Right. You don't want them
spying inside their own country.

Spies are great
when they're on our side,

but we can never forget they're
powerful and dangerous

and if they're off the leash,
they can end up coming after us.

We're talking about 2 different things,
domestic and foreign surveillance.

Domestic surveillance,
Americans give some of a shit about.

Foreign surveillance, they don't
give any remote shit about.

When we talk
about foreign surveillance,

are we applying it in ways
that are beneficial ?

No one cares.
They don't give a shit.

We spied on UNICEF,
the children's fund.

- Sure.
- We spied on lawyers negotiating...

What was UNICEF doing ?
That's the question there.

Are these programs valuable ?
Are we going to be safer

when we're spying on UNICEF
and lawyers who are talking about

the price of shrimp
and clove cigarettes ?

People will say:
"I definitely don't care."

Americans do not give a shit
about foreign surveillance.

What some people do care about
is whether Snowden considered

the consequences of leaking
so much information at once.

How many of those documents
have you actually read ?

I've evaluated all the documents
that are in the archive.

- You've read every single one ?
- I understand what I turned over.

A difference between understanding
and reading what's in the documents.

I recognize the concern.

When you're handing over
thousands of NSA documents,

the last thing you want to do
is read them.

It's fair to be concerned about,
did this person do enough ?

Especially when you're handling
material like we know you're handling.

I'm not handling anything anymore.
That's been passed to the journalists

and they're using extraordinary
security measures to make sure

this is reported
in the most responsible way.

But those are journalists with
a lower technical skill set than you.

That's true but they do understand,
how important it is to get this right.

New York Times took a slide,
didn't redact it properly

and in the end it was possible
for people to see that something

was being used
in Mosul on Al Qaeda.

- That is a problem.
- Well that's a fuck up.

It is and these things
do happen in reporting.

In journalism, we have to accept
some mistakes will be made.

This is a fundamental
concept of liberty.

Right, but you have to own that then.
You're giving documents

with information you know could be
harmful, which could get out there.

Yes. If people act in bad faith...

You're not talking about bad faith,
but incompetence.

We are, but you will never be
free from risk if you're free.

The only time you can be free
from risk is when you're in prison.

While the risks were significant,

Snowden has made it clear
he feels rewards have been worth it.

You said "I was motivated
by a belief that the citizens"

"deserve to understand
the system in which they live."

"My fear was that no one
would listen to my warning."

"Never have I been so glad
to have been so wrong."

How did that feel ?

I was terrified this was gonna be
a 3 day story,

everybody was gonna
forget about it.

When I saw that everybody
around the world said:

"this is a problem. We have
to do something about this."

- Felt like vindication.
- Even in America ?

Even in America. And I think
we're seeing something amazing,

which is if you ask the American people
to make tough decisions,

to confront tough issues,
to think about hard problems,

they'll surprise you.

Here's the problem. I did ask some
Americans and did it surprise me.

I have no idea
who Edward Snowden is.

- You've never heard of Snowden ?
- No.

I have no idea
who Edward Snowden is.

I've heard the name, I can't
think now exactly what it is.

Sold some information to people.

He revealed some information
that shouldn't have been revealed.

Snowden revealed
documents through WikiLeaks.

Snowden revealed a bunch of secrets
or information into WikiLeaks.

Edward Snowden leaked,
he's in charge of WikiLeaks.

- I'm in charge of WikiLeaks.
- Not ideal.

You might be able to go home

'cause no one knows who the fuck
you are or what the fuck you did.

We can't expect everybody
to be uniformly informed.

Did you do this to solve a problem ?

I did this to give the American
people a chance to decide

the kind of government
they want to have.

That is a conversation the
American people deserve to decide.

It is a critical conversation,

but is it a conversation
we have the capacity to have ?

It's so complicated,
we don't fundamentally understand it.

It is a challenging conversation.

It's difficult for most people
to even conceptualize.

The internet is massively complex
and so much of it is invisible.

Service providers, technicians,
engineers, the phone numbers...

Let me stop you, Edward,
'cause this is the whole problem.

I just glaze over, 'cause it's like
the IT guy comes into your office

and you go "shit".

Don't teach me anything,
I don't want to learn.

You smell like canned soup.

It's a real challenge to figure out
how do we communicate

things that require sort of years
of technical understanding

and compress that
into seconds of speech.

I'm sympathetic to the problem.

Everything you did only matters if we
have this conversation properly.

So let me help you out there.
You mentioned in an interview

that the NSA was passing around
naked photos of people.

This is something where it's not
actually seen as a big deal

in the culture of NSA because you
see naked pictures all of the time.

That terrifies people because
when we asked people about that,

this is the response you get.

The government should not be able
to look at dick pictures.

If the government was looking
at a picture of Gordon's penis,

I feel it would be
an invasion of my privacy.

If they were looking at pictures
of my penis that would upset me.

The US government should
never have a picture of my dick.

If my husband sent me a picture
of his penis and the government

could access it I would want
that program to be shut down.

I would want the dick pic
program changed.

I would also want
the dick pic program changed.

It would be terrific
if the program could change.

I would want it to be tweaked,
I would want it to have clear laws

that we knew about and that were
communicated to us to understand

what they were being used for
or why they were being kept.

You think
that program exists ?

I don't think
that program exists.


If I had knowledge that the US
government had a picture of my dick,

I would be very pissed off.

The good news is there's no program
named the dick pic program.

The bad news is they are still
collecting everybody's information,

including your dick pics.

What's the over under on that last
guy having sent a dick pic recently ?

You don't need to guess.
I'll show you.

I did take a picture of my dick
and I sent it to a girl recently.

This is the most visible line
in the sand for people.

Can they see my dick ?

So with that in mind,
look inside that folder.

That is a picture of my dick.

So let's go through each NSA program
and explain to me its capabilities

in regards to that photograph
of my penis.

So, 702 surveillance,
can they see my dick ?

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008

which section 702 falls under
allows the bulk collection

of communications
that are one end foreign.

Bulk collection, now we're
talking about my dick. You get it.

- It's not what I expected.
- You get it though, right ?

Right, because of...
Yeah, anyway.

So if you have your email
somewhere like Gmail,

hosted on a server overseas or
transferred overseas

or at anytime crosses outside
the borders of the US,

your junk ends up
in the database.

So it doesn't have to be sending
your dick to a German ?

No. Even if you send it to
somebody within the US,

your wholly domestic communication
between you and your wife

can go from New York to London and
back and get caught in the database.

Executive order 12333,
dick or no dick ?

Yes. E.O. 12333 is what the NSA
uses when the other authorities

they're not catching
as much as they'd like.

How are they going to see my dick ?
I'm only concerned about my penis.

When you send your junk
through Gmail for example,

that's stored
on Google's servers.

Google moves data from data
center to data center,

invisibly to you
without your knowledge.

Your data could be moved outside
the borders of the US.

Temporarily. When your junk
was passed by Gmail,

the NSA caught a copy
of that.


PRISM is how they pull your junk out
of Google with Google's involvement.

All of the different PRISM partners,
Yahoo, Facebook, Google,

the government deputizes them
to be their surveillance sheriff.

- They're a dick sheriff ?
- Correct.

Upstream ?

Upstream is how they snatch your junk
as it transits the internet.


If you're describing your junk
on the phone ? Yes.

Do they have the content of that
junk call or just the duration ?

They have the content as well,
but only for a few countries.

If you are on vacation
in the Bahamas ? Yes.

Finally, and do you need
to remind yourself ?

No, I'm just not sure what
to do with this. It's a lot of...

- Just hold on to it.
- It's a lot of responsibility.

It is a lot of responsibility
that's the point.

- Should I ?
- No you should absolutely not.

It's unbelievable that you would
do that. Actually it's believable.

- 215 metadata ?
- No.

- Good.
- But...

Come on, Ed.

They can probably tell who you're
sharing your junk pictures with

because they're seeing
who you're texting with.

If you call a penis enlargement center
and that call lasted 90 minutes ?

They would have a record
of your phone number calling

that phone number,
which is a penis enlargement center,

they would say they don't know
it's a center

but of course
they can look it up.

If the American
people understood this,

they would be absolutely horrified.

I guess I never thought about
putting it in the context of your junk.

Would a good takeaway
from this be,

until such time as we've
sorted all of this out...

Don't take pictures of your dick ?
Just don't do it anymore.

- No, if we do that...
- Wait. You're saying, no ?

You should keep taking pictures ?

Yes, you shouldn't change
your behavior

because an agency
is doing the wrong thing.

If we sacrifice our values
because we're afraid,

we don't care
much about those values.

That is a pretty inspiring answer
to the question:

"Why did you just send me
a picture of you dick ?"

Because I love America,
that's why.

There you have it, America.

All of us should now be equipped
to have this vital debate.

Because by June first,
it is imperative we have a rational,

adult conversation about whether
our safety is worth living

in a country of barely regulated
government sanctioned dick sheriffs.

And with my work here done

there was just time to take care
of one more thing.

Congratulations on Citizenfour
winning the Oscar.

I know you couldn't be at
the ceremony for obvious reasons...

I thought we'd celebrate ourselves.
Cheers !

That's really something.
Thank you.

You're welcome. What's the over
under on me getting back home safely ?

If you weren't on the list before,
you are now.

Is that like a joke
or is that actually possible ?

No, it's a real thing.
You're associated now.

Okay, just to be clear NSA,
I never met this guy.

So take me off your fucking list,
I do not want to get stuck in Russia.

I want to go home.

Now just for the record,
we got in touch with the NSA,

the National Security Council
and the White House

and we asked them to comment
on the dick-pic capabilities

of each of the programs
Snowden just discussed.

Which were some very fun emails
to write to government agencies.

They did not wish to comment.
I see why, for every possible reason.

But that's it, that's our show.
Thank you for watching.

Thank you to Edward Snowden.
See you next week. Good night.