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'If we can't understand the policies and programs of our government, we can't grant our consent in regulating them,' Snowden said.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden stepped back into the limelight this week when he accepted an award from former US intelligence officers for leaking classified data on the US government's spy programs.
Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks posted on its website six short videos, all from the award event in Mowcow, that offer a rare glimpse of the elusive former National Security Agency contractor.
They are thought to be the first public videos of Snowden since he was granted a temporary asylum in Russia.
Snowden received the Integrity Award, given by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, a group of former national security officials that takes its name from a CIA whistleblower in the Vietnam War.
"It's led us to a point in our relationship with the government, where we have an executive of the Department of Justice that's unwilling to prosecute high officials who lied to Congress and the country on camera. But they'll stop at nothing to persecute someone who told them the truth," Snowden said in one of the videos.
"If we can't understand the policies and programs of our government, we can't grant our consent in regulating them," he added.
Previous US government whistleblowers and recipients, Thomas Drake (NSA), Jesselyn Raddack (DoJ) and Coleen Rowley (FBI), attended the Oct. 9 ceremony, according to WikiLeaks.
"Edward Snowden (3rd R) receives the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence Award " pic.twitter.com/x2PY1dLzAU
— Joseph Jett (@josephjett) October 11, 2013
The US has charged Snowden with violations that fall under the Espionage Act for leaking state secrets that he accessed while working as an NSA contractor.
The disclosures include information that the US government has been eavesdropping on email and phone communications of citizens and officials around the world, causing major controversy at home and abroad for President Barack Obama. US officials claim the programs are needed to help track down terrorists.
Watch Snowden talk about government transparency: