JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, because it is our specialty to understand surveillance systems of various kind, and it was my profession beforehand, the broad—many of the broad parameters, we already knew about. But the confirmation of each one of those parameters was extremely important for others to realize it. I think what is most surprising is not any one thing. It’s the scale, the incredible scale, and that at any point where you could guess, “Are they doing this, or are they not doing it?” they are doing it. So, for example, intercepting packages that are sent out in the post and backdooring them, backdooring chips. So we see the corporation list between National Security Agency and U.S. hardware manufacturers, so Intel, Qualcomm, that makes the chips for telephones and so on. That’s quite surprising. That had been rumored and speculated on, but that the actual physical hardware is backdoored before you even get it, that, I think, is—that is a bit surprising. And then the absolute numbers, the billions of interceptions that are occurring per day. Actually, people who were studying this knew that, but to see a map of the world and the different countries with how many millions or billions of intercepts per day were coming in, I think that is probably the most consequential. (emphasis added)
The rest of the interview is pretty interesting. Somehow Assange was able to communicate with Snowden without the NSA any the wiser. That has got to sting.
My unsolicited advice to the NSA: focus on actual threats to US citizens, and leave everyone else alone.