Two years ago, three journalists and I worked nervously in a Hong Kong hotel room, waiting to see how the world would react to the revelation that the National Security Agency had been making records of nearly every phone call in the United States.
In the days that followed, those journalists and others published documents revealing that democratic governments had been monitoring the private activities of ordinary citizens who had done nothing wrong. Within days, the US government responded by bringing charges against me under World War I-era espionage laws. The journalists were advised by lawyers that they risked arrest or subpoena if they returned to the US. Privately, there were moments when I worried that we might have put our privileged lives at risk for nothing – that the public would react with indifference, or practiced cynicism, to the revelations.