A large bust of whistle blower Edward Snowden was installed on a monument to the Fort Greene Park's Prison Ship Martyrs in a Brooklyn Park.
The anonymous artists said they intended “to highlight those who sacrifice their safety in the fight against modern-day tyrannies.” In a statement they claimed:The bust was on a single Doric column and was about four feet tall. City workers wrapped the bust in a blue tarpaulin while they awaited the decision of city authorities as to what should be done with it. Snowden gained fame by his release to various media outlets documents exposing the massive surveillance by governments in particular the US National Security Agencys(NSA):In a recent interview with comedian John Oliver, Snowden refused to answer when asked if he had read all the documents. While he said the documents had been vetted before their release, he also admitted that some of them could have been improperly vetted and pose some danger saying:Some locals at the park were irritated that city workers had covered the column. A Fort Greene resident, D. Campbell, considered the covering of the bust ironic: "I think he's actually upholding our values, what we believe in." An artist, Justine Williams, said the the bust fit in well with the park and thought the creation was thoughtful and respectful about the park's status saying: “I’m outraged that they covered it up, though not surprised.” Others also expressed support for the sculpture.
“It would be a dishonor to those memorialized here not to laud those who protect the ideals they fought for, as Edward Snowden has by bringing the NSA’s fourth amendment-violating surveillance programs to light. All too often, figures who strive to uphold those ideals have been cast as criminals rather than in bronze.”The monument was erected in memory of 11,000 prisoners who had died while in British captivity during the Revolutionary War. The artists noted that Snowden himself might not approve of their work since he wanted emphasis to be placed on what he had revealed by the thousands of classified National Security Documents he had released rather than on himself.
In June 2013, he came to international attention after disclosing to several media outlets thousands of classified documents that he acquired while working as an NSA contractor for Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden's leaked documents revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many of them run by the NSA and the Five Eyes with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.In many parts of the world, Snowden has been regarded as a hero but in the U.S. opinion is very much split with a majority considering his actions not ethical. In August of last year a random sample of Americans by Vanity Fair found that 54 percent said that Snowden did not act ethically, with only 27 percent saying he did. Nineteen percent did not know. Snowden was charged under the US Espionage Act. He has received temporary asylum in Russia. There are vastly different estimates of how many documents Snowden took:
The exact size of Snowden's disclosure is unknown, but Australian officials have estimated 15,000 or more Australian intelligence files and British officials estimate at least 58,000 British intelligence files. NSA Director Keith Alexander initially estimated that Snowden had copied anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 NSA documents. Later estimates provided by U.S. officials were on the order of 1.7 million. In July 2014, The Washington Post reported on a cache previously provided by Snowden from domestic NSA operations consisting of "roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts."
"Those things do happen in reporting. In journalism we have to accept that some mistakes will be made. This is a fundamental concept of liberty.”