POLITICS
12/25/2013 11:52 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Edward Snowden's Christmas Message: 'Asking Is Always Cheaper Than Spying'

One day after word broke that Edward Snowden was planning a Christmas message, the NSA whistleblower delivered his reminder for the government.

In a video for Great Britain's Channel 4, Snowden said that today's conversation "will determine the amount of trust" between emerging technology around us, and government policies regulating that technology.

"Together we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance, and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying," Snowden told Channel 4, in recorded remarks from Russia.

(Watch Snowden's full remarks here.)

Snowden's words come days after the Washington Post reported he was already satisfied with the outcome of the NSA surveillance leaks. Snowden pointed to journalists' enhanced ability to tell stories about the practice that has significantly spiked since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

"For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished," he said. "I already won."

At his year-end press conference on Friday, President Barack Obama was asked how he would react to Americans agreeing that Snowden "set in motion something that is proper and just." With Snowden under indictment, Obama acknowledged that he had "to be careful" with his comments. But the president did say that he believed "this is an important conversation that we needed to have."

"I have also said before that the way in which these disclosures happened have been -- have been damaging to the United States and damaging to our intelligence capabilities," Obama added. "And I think that there was a way for us to have this conversation without that damage."

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