Challenge accepted: NSA responds to Edward Snowden’s TED appearance

Katie Callahan Contributor
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During his Tuesday interview with former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, TED Curator Chris Anderson joked that National Security Agency officials were watching.

But really, they were.

In a rebuttal to Snowden, NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett said the contractor’s leaks hurt the work of legitimate whistle-blowers, AFP reports.

“He absolutely did have alternatives,” Ledgett said. “I think that characterizing him as a whistle-blower hurts legitimate whistle-blowing activities.”

Snowden, a former NSA contractor who is still in Russia after being charged with espionage in the U.S., appeared on a screen for his TED Talk Tuesday and revealed that “there are still more revelations to come,” AFP reports.

He said he plans to give his information to reporters and that American communications are intercepted more than Russians are.

“Our basic freedoms are not a partisan issue,” Snowden said, according to AFP. “It is up to us to protect them; it is up to us to preserve the open Internet.”

Ledgett’s interview was delayed nearly two hours because of technical issues.

Twitter users have posted Ledgett’s quotes and responded fairly unfavorably toward him. Twitter user TEDxFultonStreet quoted Ledgett saying, “It is categorically untrue that Snowden’s actions didn’t put people at risk.”

“Snowden was incredibly arrogant to think he knew better than the entire NSA, what was safe to release,” said Ledgett according to TEDxFultonStreet.

Ledgett reportedly said that the NSA has not been transparent enough, but that it needs to have the ability to peruse information, since “terrorism is still the number one threat we face.”

Ledgett’s video response has not been posted online yet because the conference is on-going.