Kill the Snowden interview, congressman tells SXSW

Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo wants organizers of South by Southwest Interactive to back out of their scheduled video conference interview of Edward Snowden.

2013_DefCon_Snowden_contest.jpg
The Edward Snowden lookalike contest at last year's hacker conference DefCon. The real deal is expected to make a video appearance at SXSW Interactive on Monday. Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

A member of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Pompeo, published an open letter to South by Southwest Interactive conference organizers on Friday demanding that they rescind their invitation to Edward Snowden.

Pompeo, R-Kan., said he was "deeply troubled" by the scheduled video appearance of Snowden, whom he described as lacking the credentials to authoritatively speak on issues pertaining to "privacy, surveillance, and online monitoring."

Snowden is scheduled to speak by video conferencing on Monday at 11 a.m. CT with Christopher Soghoian, a privacy advocate and principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, who will be onstage at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Moderated by Ben Wizner, the director of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, Snowden is expected to answer audience questions.

The panel, "A Virtual Conversation with Edward Snowden," will focus on the impact of the NSA spying revelations and how technology can be used to protect privacy.

Snowden's "only apparent qualification," Pompeo wrote, "is his willingness to steal from his own government and then flee to that beacon of First Amendment freedoms, the Russia of Vladimir Putin."

Representing Kansas' fourth district, Pompeo has been critical of Snowden's whistle-blowing. He described Snowden as a "traitor" in the press release announcing the SXSW letter, and said that the documents leaked by Snowden are "now in the hands of other countries."

bg-man.png
Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo (R). pompeo.house.gov

Snowden and the reporters to whom he leaked the NSA documents have denied that accusation, saying he gave all his copies of the documents to reporters.

Snowden denied giving the documents to other governments. "There's a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents," he said last October.

Snowden fled the US before leaking the documents, and eventually settled in Russia, which granted him asylum for one year.

Neither Rep. Pompeo nor SXSW returned requests for comment. CNET will update the story when we hear back from them.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments