By Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept – On September 5, 2013, The Guardian, the New York Times and ProPublica jointly reported — based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden — that the National Security Agency had compromised some of the encryption that is most commonly used to secure internet transactions. The NYT explained that NSA “has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the emails, web searches, internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world.”
By Staff for Popular Resistance – First Look Media’s Press Freedom Litigation Fund and the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) are announcing the launch of a matching fund campaign to support the legal defense of U.S. Army intelligence analyst turned whistleblower Chelsea Manning. First Look Media’s Press Freedom Litigation Fund will match $50,000 in donations to the campaign along with Glenn Greenwald, Intercept co-founder and journalist, who will personally match $10,000 for the initiative. Said Chelsea Manning: “Being in prison while trying to figure out how I will pay for my legal appeal has been a great source of stress and anxiety. I’m so honored that a new campaign is supporting me in my effort to vindicate my legal rights, and I am truly grateful to anyone who is helping.”
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (above) said this week in Homburg that the U.S. government threatened to cease sharing intelligence with Germany if Berlin offered asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or otherwise arranged for him to travel to that country. “They told us they would stop notifying us of plots and other intelligence matters,” Gabriel said. The vice chancellor delivered a speech in which he praised the journalists who worked on the Snowden archive, and then lamented the fact that Snowden was forced to seek refuge in “Vladimir Putin’s autocratic Russia” because no other nation was willing and able to protect him from threats of imprisonment by the U.S. government (I was present at the event to receive an award). That prompted an audience member to interrupt his speech and yell out: “Why don’t you bring him to Germany, then?”
“Good people don’t hide; bad people have to hide because they are planning evil things like trying to bomb this auditorium,” said Glenn Greenwald during a presentation at Carnegie Hall in New York City earlier this week. He explained that he took that line from former CIA director Michael Hayden, who kept on repeating that warning during a debate in Toronto a couple months ago.” In that debate, Greenwald took on two grumpy old men, one who looked like Eric Forman’s father from That ‘70s Show and the other who claimed to be a liberal democrat who believes that we can have enough surveillance that is consistent with liberty. Needless to say, Greenwald destroyed them both with his secret weapon: the NSA’s own files, which he received from Edward Snowden in what has become one of the greatest government leaks in history. Truth be told, I didn’t really know or care much about Glenn Greenwald until I heard Facebook rumors that Bolivian president Evo Morales’s plane had been stopped and frisked in Austria. From there, I began to read about him, including about his reaction to the nine-hour detention and questioning of his partner in the London airport.
You may have heard that NBC News was able to snag an exclusive interview with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. They turned it into a one-hour primetime special on May 28. But before that aired, that night’s NBC Nightly News–likely seen by more people–delivered a lengthy segment making the case against Snowden–almost as if the network needed to establish that it certainly wasn’t taking his side. “Members of the Obama administration have launched a frontal attack on Edward Snowden,” anchor Brian Williams began. The report gave ample room for that attack, and it was clear from the start that this was the point of the segment. Here’s how Williams described Snowden: Many regard him as treasonous and a traitor who should pay dearly for what he’s done, and many fear he has done grave damage to the United States. Some of our viewers have let us know they are outraged that we have interviewed him at all. So he’s a treasonous traitor, or someone who damaged the country. Or perhaps just someone you shouldn’t interview. Take your pick!
The man who helped bring about the most significant leak in American intelligence history is to reveal names of US citizens targeted by their own government in what he promises will be the “biggest” revelation from nearly 2m classified files. Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who received the trove of documents from Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, told The Sunday Times that Snowden’s legacy would be “shaped in large part” by this “finishing piece” still to come. His plan to publish names will further unnerve an American intelligence establishment already reeling from 11 months of revelations about US government surveillance activities. Greenwald, who is promoting his book No Place To Hide and is trailed by a documentary crew wherever he goes, was speaking in a boutique hotel near Harvard, where he was to appear with Noam Chomsky, the octogenarian leftist academic. “One of the big questions when it comes to domestic spying is, ‘Who have been the NSA’s specific targets?’,” he said. “Are they political critics and dissidents and activists? Are they genuinely people we’d regard as terrorists?
Greenwald also said in his interview that despite all that has been published about the depth and scope of the NSA program, there is still much to be revealed. “There’s among the biggest stories that are left to be reported,” he said. That apparently includes one particular story that has yet to be published because, Greenwald said, it is a “very complicated story to report.” “I do think it will help to shape how this story is remembered for many years to come, because it answers some central questions about how surveillance is conducted that still aren’t answered,” he said, without providing further details. Greenwald has never been shy about criticizing what he deems the complacency of U.S. media and politicians after they learned of the privacy violations involved in collecting information from the phone records and emails of Americans and foreigners.
Greenwald posits a fundamental American core value: Innocent until proven guilty. “The alternative to mass surveillance is not the complete elimination of surveillance. It is, instead, targeted surveillance, aimed only at those for whom there is substantial evidence to believe they are engaged in real wrongdoing,” he writes. “I think it [Snowden affair] will be seen as the moment that the United States showed its true face to the world in terms of attacks on journalism and their desire to punish anyone who brings transparency.” Judging from Greenwald’s first-person account, Snowden radiated a calm and orderly logic that were essential parts of his psychological makeup. It was a combination that made him both the NSA’s up-and-coming star and its ongoing nightmare.
The US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned that entire populations, rather than just individuals, now live under constant surveillance. “It’s no longer based on the traditional practice of targeted taps based on some individual suspicion of wrongdoing,” he said. “It covers phone calls, emails, texts, search history, what you buy, who your friends are, where you go, who you love.” Snowden made his comments in a short video that was played before a debate on the proposition that surveillance today is a euphemism for mass surveillance, in Toronto, Canada. The former US National Security Agency contractor is living in Russia, having been granted temporary asylum there in June 2013. Before the debates began, 33% of the audience voted in favour of the debate statement and 46% voted against. It closed with 59% of the audience siding with Greenwald and Ohanian.
Snowden: Today’s decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government. We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognises was work of vital public importance. This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can. My efforts would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society. Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy.
The journalists had been threatened, cajoled and condemned by the British and American governments. Their work together had set off a hunt for their source and a debate on both sides of the Atlantic about government surveillance. Glenn Greenwald, the journalist, lawyer and civil liberties crusader, and Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian newspaper, finally shook hands after months of working remotely on articles based on material from the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. The two were in New York for the prestigious Polk Award presented to Mr. Greenwald and his colleagues, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill, and the Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, for national security reporting. Mr. Greenwald and Ms. Poitras returned to the United States for the first time since their articles broke in June. They arrived at Kennedy Airport in New York from Berlin, where Mr. Greenwald had given a speech on Thursday and where Ms. Poitras lives and is making a documentary on surveillance.
Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, two American journalists whohave been at the forefront of reporting on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, will return to the United States on Friday for the first time since revelations of worldwide surveillance broke. Greenwald and Poitras, currently in Berlin, will attend Friday’s Polk Awards ceremony in New York City. The two journalists are sharing the prestigious journalism award with The Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill and with Barton Gellman, who has led The Washington Post’s reporting on the NSA documents. Greenwald and Poitras interviewed Snowden last June in Hong Kong as he first revealed himself. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Greenwald said he’s motivated to return because “certain factions in the U.S. government have deliberately intensified the threatening climate for journalists.” “It’s just the principle that I shouldn’t allow those tactics to stop me from returning to my own country,” Greenwald said.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald made a joint appearance on Saturday in which they discussed how the “products of surveillance” include accumulation of metadata as well as drone strikes. The two were speaking via separate video streams at a session of Amnesty International USA’s annual human rights conference taking place at a hotel in downtown Chicago. According to Reuters’ reporting on the event, Snowden and Greenwald cautioned that government monitoring of “metadata” is more intrusive than directly listening to phone calls or reading emails and stressed the importance of a free press willing to scrutinize government activity. [..] “Metadata is what allows an actual enumerated understanding, a precise record of all the private activities in all of our lives. It shows our associations, our political affiliations and our actual activities,” said Snowden [...]
Over the last 40 years, the U.S. government has relied on extreme fear-mongering to demonize transparency. In sum, every time an unwanted whistleblower steps forward, we are treated to the same messaging: You’re all going to die because of these leakers and the journalists who publish their disclosures! Lest you think that’s hyperbole, consider this headline from last week based on an interview with outgoing NSA chief Keith Alexander: “NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander says future Snowden leaks could lead to deaths.” The NSA engages in this fear-mongering not only publicly but also privately. As part of its efforts to persuade news organizations not to publish newsworthy stories from Snowden materials, its representatives constantly say the same thing: If you publish what we’re doing, it will endanger lives, including NSA personnel, by making people angry about what we’re doing in their countries and want to attack us.
Now that President Obama is proposing that the NSA end its bulk collection of data, it is time that Obama take this narrative to the next logical conclusion and offer a full and unconditional pardon to Edward Snowden. President Obama’s War on whistle blowers (he has charged eight individuals with Espionage, compared to only three under all previous presidents) needs to end. His recent proposal, even though it was forced by the courts, and to a large degree Mark Zuckerberg and the other titans of the tech world who warned that the U.S. government spying programs would hurt business, is still an admission that Edward Snowden’s actions were justified.