In an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald said that Edward Snowden has very sensitive “blueprints” that detail how the National Security Agency operates and reveal how one could evade the NSA’s surveillance program. Greenwald, who broke the NSA surveillance story last month, says the whistle-blower has a trove of documents that are “basically the instruction manual for how the NSA is built.”
“In order to take documents with him that proved that what he was saying was true, he had to take ones that included very sensitive, detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do,” the journalist told the AP. He said the documents, which number in the thousands, “would allow somebody who read them to know exactly how the NSA does what it does, which would in turn allow them to evade that surveillance or replicate it.”
Greenwald also said that Snowden, whom he had spoken with four hours before the interview, remains “calm and tranquil” despite being stuck in Moscow while he figures out which country’s offer of asylum to accept to avoid prosecution in the U.S.
“I haven’t sensed an iota of remorse or regret or anxiety over the situation that he’s in,” the Guardian writer said. “He’s of course tense and focused on his security and his short-term well-being to the best extent that he can, but he’s very resigned to the fact that things might go terribly wrong and he’s at peace with that.”
Greenwald was also asked in the interview about the “dead man’s pact,” which would reportedly allow several people access to Snowden’s documents should something happen to him. “Media descriptions of it have been overly simplistic,” he responded. “It’s not just a matter of, if he dies, things get released, it’s more nuanced than that. It’s really just a way to protect himself against extremely rogue behavior on the part of the United States, by which I mean violent actions toward him, designed to end his life, and it’s just a way to ensure that nobody feels incentivized to do that.”
As for Greenwald, he said he’s had to increase his own security after the blockbuster NSA reports, especially once a computer was discovered to have gone missing from his home in Brazil.
“I don’t really feel comfortable discussing the specific measures, but one would be really irrational and foolish to have thousands of top-secret documents from the most secretive agency of the world’s most powerful government and not be thoughtful about added security,” he said.
And speaking of those documents, we can expect more reports about U.S. intelligence-gathering programs from Greenwald over the course of the next few months.
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post:
Greenwald, who has also co-authored a series of articles in Rio de Janeiro’s O Globo newspaper focusing on NSA actions in Latin America, said he expected to continue publishing further stories based on other Snowden documents over the next four months.
Upcoming stories would likely include details on “other domestic spying programs that have yet to be revealed,” but which are similar in scope to those he has been reporting on. He did not provide further details on the nature of those programs.
Greenwald said he deliberately avoids talking to Snowden about issues related to where the former analyst might seek asylum in order to avoid possible legal problems for himself.
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.