Glenn Greenwald, the US lawyer-turned-blogger-turned-journalist, has been writing about state-sponsored repression, surveillance, torture and leaks for years. He has four best-selling books but nothing compared to the watershed event in June when Greenwald and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras received a cache of top secret documents from NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. On August 21, from his home in Rio de Janeiro, Greenwald described the latest twists and revelations in the NSA spy scandal.
Jonathan Franklin: Your partner, David Miranda, was detained and held at Heathrow airport for 9 hours; all his electronics were taken away, and he was interrogated about your reporting on the NSA. What was the message the US/UK governments were trying to send you by detaining David Miranda?
Glenn Greenwald: That if we continue to report on what the NSA and [the UK surveillance agency] GCHQ are doing, they will continue to target us for all sorts of retribution.
JF: Puts a different meaning to the term "Miranda" warning, eh? 10.0pt;line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>
GG: I am extremely encouraged. It has actually gone much much better than I ever dreamed in my wildest dreams that it would. There are countless countries around the world in which Edward Snowden is considered a hero and in which there is a raging debate over the dangers of secret American surveillance and the value of internet privacy. Huge numbers of governments have openly defied the orders of the United States . . . beginning with Hong Kong, China . . . now Russia, multiple countries in Latin America. There are opinion polls in the United States that are incredible that show for the first time since 9/11 more Americans are worried about abuses of their civil liberties than they are of the threat of terrorism. You see new coalitions in congress forming against the surveillance state and could place serious limits on it. I think you are going to see more and more people inspired by the acts of Edward Snowden and the people who have tried to help report his documents, knowing that you can stand up to the United States government and to do so in a way that exercises your rights, without fear. I think it is going to have long-lasting implications on all those levels.