The Edward Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” won Best Documentary at the Oscars on Sunday night. Director Laura Poitras accepted the award with Glenn Greenwald and Lindsay Mills, Snowden’s girlfriend, by her side. “The disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” Poitras said in her acceptance speech. “When the most important decisions being made, affecting all of us, are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control. Thank you to Edward Snowden, for his courage, and for the many other whistleblowers. I share this with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who are exposing truth.” The film tells the story of Snowden’s 2013 National Security Agency leaks.
American and British spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.
During a unique conversation hosted by the New School and the New York Times on Thursday, the three people most responsible for bringing the story of mass global surveillance programs orchestrated by the U.S. National Security Agency were brought together for the first time since they first met in a Hong Kong hotel in 2013. Filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald sat with the New York Times media columnist David Carr on stage while the whistleblower himself, Edward Snowden, appeared via videolink from Russia where he remains under asylum protection. “Yes, governments possess extraordinary powers—but at the end of the day there are more of us than there are of them.” —Edward Snowden
The regime that governs the sharing between Britain and the US of electronic communications intercepted in bulk was unlawful until last year, a secretive UK tribunal has ruled. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) declared on Friday that regulations covering access by Britain’s GCHQ to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) breached human rights law. Advocacy groups said the decision raised questions about the legality of intelligence-sharing operations between the UK and the US. The ruling appears to suggest that aspects of the operations were illegal for at least seven years – between 2007, when the Prism intercept programme was introduced, and 2014.
Horace Edwards, who identifies himself as a retired naval officer and the former secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, has filed a lawsuit in Kansas federal court that seeks a constructive trust over monies derived from the distribution of Citizenfour. Edwards, who says he has “Q” security clearance and was the chief executive of the ARCO Pipeline Company, seeks to hold Snowden, director Laura Poitras, The Weinstein Co., Participant Media and others responsible for “obligations owed to the American people” and “misuse purloined information disclosed to foreign enemies.” It’s an unusual lawsuit, one that the plaintiff likens to “a derivative action on behalf of the American Public,” and is primarily based upon Snowden’s agreement with the United States to keep confidentiality.
Besides Edward Snowden, the film features Glenn Greenwald and William Binney, along with Kevin Bankston, Jacob Appelbaum, Ewen MacAskill, Julian Assange, Ladar Levison, David Miranda, Jeremy Scahill, and Lindsay Mills. The film is an enthralling look a truly historic moment in journalism and the political earthquake that followed, but since Poitras, Greenwald, and Snowden are on our board of directors, do not just take our word for it. The film has received rave reviews from film, art, culture, and political reporters since its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 10. You can read excerpts from all of the major reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
It’s not just here in the United States. Snowden’s revelations are still causing ruptures and generating headlines all around the world, including in Brazil, which has just said that it wants to question Snowden about revelations that the U.S. agency intercepted the communications of President Dilma Rousseff and her aides; in Germany, where the N.S.A. reportedly tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone; and in Australia, where the government was embarrassed by the revelation that it had been spying on the President of neighboring Indonesia. And there are almost certainly more stories to come. Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, said that his paper has so far published only one per cent of the files that it received from Snowden.
The investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald has found a second leaker inside the US intelligence agencies, according to a new documentary about Edward Snowden that premiered in New York on Friday night. Towards the end of filmmaker Laura Poitras’s portrait of Snowden – titled Citizenfour, the label he used when he first contacted her – Greenwald is seen telling Snowden about a second source. Snowden, at a meeting with Greenwald in Moscow, expresses surprise at the level of information apparently coming from this new source. Greenwald, fearing he will be overheard, writes the details on scraps of paper. The specific information relates to the number of the people on the US government’s watchlist of people under surveillance as a potential threat or as a suspect.
On March 26, Snowden supporters delivered petitions to the U.S. Department of Justice and State Department. The petition to the Justice Department called on Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama to “make an unequivocal public commitment not to interfere with the travels or political asylum process of Edward Snowden. The U.S. government must not engage in abduction or any other form of foul play against Mr. Snowden.” The petition to the State Department called on Kerry to restore Snowden’s passport so he can seek asylum, which supporters say is his right under international law. The petition to Kerry reads, “Your revocation of Mr. Snowden’s passport contradicts the words of many U.S. leaders who have often criticized other government for violating the principle of freedom to travel.”