NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to hold live chat on Thursday


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If you’ve ever wanted to ask NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden a question, you might get your chance on Thursday, January 23 at 3 PM ET/12 PM Pacific. The man who revealed the startling revelations about the NSA’s Prism program and cell phone metadata collection—and inspired a slew of security-focused apps and services—is lining up for his second official question and answer session tomorrow.

Thursday’s virtual town hall meeting is Snowden’s second public Q&A, following one hosted by The Guardian and moderated by Glenn Greenwald last June. This time around Snowden will answer questions on freesnowden.is, a leading advocacy site for the whistleblower.

Anyone who wants to submit questions must ask them on Twitter starting Thursday using the hashtag #AskSnowden. Snowden’s responses will be logged on the Free Snowden site.

Snowden is also expected to respond to President Barack Obama’s speech on NSA reforms last Friday, though not necessarily during the live chat session.

Better the second time?

The Guardian ’s original Snowden Q&A was criticized by some as being a PR exercise where the public learned little of real value about the former NSA contractor, so it’s something of an open question whether the NSA leaker will satisfy questioning minds this time around.

ProPublica Senior Editor Scott Klein said on Twitter after the last Q&A that the “Snowden chat was handled like [a] Soviet gymnast’s press conference.” Tom Watson, a Forbes Contributor and New York University instructor, also took to Twitter with a Russian-themed crack, saying he’d "seen scripted Presidential "town halls" that were less Potemkin Village-like than this so-called #askSnowden 'chat.'"

Snowden is currently living in Russia, where he was granted a one-year asylum in August after the U.S. revoked his passport while he was en route to Cuba.

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