Stephen Colbert calls out Snowden at RSA event

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Satirical TV personality Stephen Colbert has made his views on National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden pretty clear in the past.

"Behold, the face of evil." (Via Comedy Central / "The Colbert Report")

But "The Colbert Report" host took a (slightly) more serious stand on government surveillance this week during his closing speech at RSA's annual security conference.

"During the speech he said he doesn't really like the idea of people reading his emails, but its not something he worries about. He called NSA leaker Edward Snowden practically a war criminal," a HLN report said.

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Colbert's speech wrapped up the computer security company's week-long conference. The flagship security event typically tries to draw big-name speakers from outside the tech sphere for its closing address.

The comedian needled both the NSA and Snowden during the address, criticizing the leaker's lack of discretion when leaking classified information while also blasting the agency's Orwellian surveillance practices. (Via Mediaite)

But CNET notes Colbert also pointed out the NSA's programs are a direct result of American citizens supporting heightened surveillance.

"We the people voted for the Patriot Act. We voted for the people who reauthorized it, and re-reauthorized it. The American people have spoken. ... You don't change horses in mid-wiretap," Colbert said.

Colbert's appearance at the RSA conference was also somewhat controversial thanks to a report last year which accused the RSA of intentionally weakening its encryption software at the behest of the NSA. (Via Boing Boing)

Several high-profile speakers canceled their appearances at the conference after the story broke, and one even founded a rival convention — TrustyCon — which was held across the street from the RSA conference. (Via YouTube / TrustyCon)

Online petitioners also sent an open letter to Colbert asking him to back out of the conference — but as he told the RSA crowd, those signatures were overruled by his own signature on the RSA contract. (Via Fight For The Future)