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The man who broke the leaks story

June 10th, 2013
05:29 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Is Glenn Greenwald endangering America?

To listen to U.S. security officials, the columnist who revealed secret surveillance by the U.S. National Security Administration has exposed to terrorists the methods that the American government uses to prevent attacks.

Greenwald rejected and took issue with that argument in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

“I think that suggestion is so ludicrous that it’s actually an insult to the intelligence of the people at whom it’s directed,” he told Amanpour from Hong Kong, where the man who leaked intelligence on the NSA program is in self-imposed exile.

“Any terrorist that’s unaware that the government wants to [spy on them],” Greenwald said, “is a terrorist incapable of writing his own name, let alone detonating a bomb successfully on American soil.” 

The identity of the leaker was revealed on Sunday as 29-year-old Edward Snowden, a contractor for the NSA with high-level security clearance.

Before Greenwald began publishing his articles in The Guardian, Snowden fled to Hong Kong, though his whereabouts are unknown since he checked out of his hotel Monday.

“I spent a long time trying to understand his motives,” Greenwald told Amanpour.

He said that Snowden had a choice of leaking information about the NSA program to a foreign intelligence agency or an adversary of the U.S., but chose instead to give it to the media.

“He felt like it was his duty as a human being to disclose it,” Greenwald said.

The American Government has begun a criminal investigation into Snowden’s leak.

“There are extremely invasive spying programs that the public still does not know about,” Greenwald said. “To the extent that we can shine light on them and bring transparency to them, consistent with national security, we fully intend to do so, and to do so as quickly as we can.”

In the video above you can watch Christiane Amanpour's full interview with Greenwald.

More from Amanpour: 11-year-old girl married to 40-year-old man

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Surveillance
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Dennis gonzales

    With all techno movies it is stupid for terrorist to use social media unless they use encoded messages

    June 10, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Reply
    • Lucke

      Or as a prank or a trap...

      June 11, 2013 at 9:03 am | Reply
  2. Chuzee

    oh dear, there aren't much comments here, for obvious reasons. Apparently, the people are now paranoid about their innocent privacy. Well, still a better story line than Twilight!

    June 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  3. franknkissy

    Wish we had something to leak, so we could get a trip to Hong Kong instead of having 6 member State Police Mental Health Medication Squads continually having us under close observation to see if we properly take our Astra Zeneca 8 dollar a day pill. To us it seems our Governor just sends the Police for Med Checks to ensure kick – backs from the Drug Manufactiurer for his Democrat Party. Besides them POLICE got guns and may be in a bad mood some day or another.

    June 10, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Reply
  4. Me

    Christiane is probably the BEST interviewer in the world. I havn't heard interviews as thorough, relevant and interesting as hers. It's a pleasure listening to you Christiane.

    June 11, 2013 at 5:20 am | Reply
    • KP

      Did you watch the interview? At the very end, Amanpour thought it was relevant that her audience know that the reporter is a gay man. She spoke to him about living with his husband in Brazil. What on earth had that got to do with the story he was reporting? What has the personal life of any reporter got to do with the story they're reporting? Do reporters normally "report" about their personal lives in America? To me this seemed just too weird. Was it an attempt to discredit him?

      June 11, 2013 at 9:33 am | Reply
  5. romgard2

    some posters seem to do apologetic propaganda to this state of regime we have.. YES I CALL IT REGIME because if government officials want to abuse power, they have more power now then they had in east germany. do you think they will abuse the power... NOOOOOOOOOOOOWAY

    June 11, 2013 at 6:06 am | Reply
  6. dot

    "Former Phone Chief Says Spy Agency Sought Surveillance Help BEFORE 9/11"

    June 11, 2013 at 6:24 am | Reply
  7. rie matsumoto

    では また)/~rie matsumoto

    June 11, 2013 at 7:23 am | Reply
  8. FlaviaDomitila

    Nah, I don't believe there was a moral imperative here. I believe it was about fame, money and revenge.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:32 am | Reply
  9. JunkingKing

    Is Glenn Greenwald endangering America?

    this is not a good line by fellow journalist to another one , he .. Glenn is just doing his job and a good one
    No one can endanger anyone else by unearthing the truth about peoples lives that and people deserve to know

    June 11, 2013 at 10:59 am | Reply
  10. Carol Johnson

    Sounds like to me a disgruntled employee that had to do some work or got chewed out a lot for not doing his job and he is trying to stir up some trouble!

    June 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  11. Shhhh.....

    I am not worried about NSA seeing my personal information since I've already posted all of it on facebook (y)

    June 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • AK

      LOL Glad to know I'm not alone!

      June 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Reply
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    KALIN IS A BIG LIAR,Poeple ar dying ın the middle of the city

    June 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  13. sarah

    Why, hasn't one journalist yet, pointed out that the ignoramous has not actually produced any news whatsoever. If he didn't know the extent of surveillance in this country after 911, he just hasn't been keeping up with the news. That is what happens when one is an uneducated as he.

    June 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  14. sarah

    These so called journalists, ought to understand the meaning of security. Some things must be kept secret for National Security reasons, they must have learned that in Journalism 101 noh? If they have no real news, they manufacture it just to make noise. Sorry Amanpour, you are just like the rest.

    June 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  15. John

    I'm trying to work out what the problem is – we've known for years that the FBI and CIA intercept emails with certain words on them i.e Bomb, war, jihad, kill etc – I've had my own emails take 2-3 days to be recieved because of what was written – so this news that the US government does all this is old hack by out ten years – Sorry US government you're to paranoid and all you're doing is instilling a sense of fear into the people of the US so you can microchip every one Why don\'t you revisit 9/11 and tell us what really happened – it's the same with the cameras on your sattelites they can produce much better images than we ever see – What this guy has put out is old news.

    June 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  16. kerryacampbell

    The Guardian journo does not seem to appreciate what we all know. You don't need people to scrutinize these masses of data, just a computer program that trawls through the data looking for word associations or code that fits programmable parameters. The sheer amount of data is no more counter productive for surveillance purposes than it is for the search engine GOOGLE, it just munches through it. Now the fact that the Boston bombers for example slipped through does raise questions. Is their trawling system ineffective? Is the "wall" ineffective for preventing harmful access to private information?

    June 11, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  17. concerned

    You dumb f@& phone carrier should at least advise me that the governmet has full access to their network...I should have knowledge of such actions. The government has all knowledge of my actions but I have no readable access to their information. Seems a little unequal. I.e. I still want to see the Bin Laden photos.

    June 12, 2013 at 2:18 am | Reply
  18. Khadija Ismayilova

    I have personal reasons to hate surveillance. I am a journalist in Azerbaijan. My private life was secretly filmed and used for blackmailing me and I have all the reasons to blame state agencies for doing this. I have proofs that they used already established system of surveillance, which is in place in all telephone stations in Azerbaijan. Once the state introduces mechanisms and tools to make surveillance and tapping possible for some "security reasons", these tools become a threat for every individual. There is no guarantee that these tools will not be abused against political rivals and critics. My thoughts are with Snowden today. He is my hero!

    June 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  19. AK

    "He said that Snowden had a choice of leaking information about the NSA program to a foreign intelligence agency or an adversary of the U.S., but chose instead to give it to the media."

    I am not saying I agree or disagree with Snowden leaking info; however, Greenwald intended to make it sound more noble in this sentence but fails. I am pretty damn sure adversaries of the US follow American media just as much as Americans do—if not more.

    June 12, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Reply
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