Citizen Four is a new documentary from Laura Poitras, one of the journalists central to reporting the story of Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor turned whistleblower who exposed widespread government surveillance.
The film catalogues Snowden’s first contact with Poitras, their first meeting and the days spent in a Hong Kong hotel room with the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill pouring over documents he had unearthed, as well as the fallout from their publication.
Here are six things we learnt from watching it:
1. Edward Snowden doesn’t want this story to be about him
He explains that the media focuses on personalities - but this story is about the government spying on citizens without their consent.
2. It’s good if your password is more than four letters long
As he sits in a Hong Kong hotel room working through the classified documents Snowden took from the NSA, the whistleblower chastises Glenn Greenwald about having a four letter long laptop password. Greenwald counters that it’s actually about 10 letters, "I just type really fast".
3. Snowden is a little paranoid
Probably rightly so. At one stage he puts a T-shirt over his head (called the "magic mantle of power") while unlocking a laptop to cover the keyboard so his password is not detected. He also gets paranoid about a routine fire drill.
4. The law Edward Snowden is being prosecuted under has no public interest defence.
It's called the Espionage Act and you can read about it here.
5. Snowden cites "hydra theory".
He says if he goes public and his voice is silenced, more whistleblowers will follow.
6. His long term partner Lindsay moved to Moscow to be with him.
Citizen Four is out now. For more see here.