Greenwald: Guardian NSA articles get too much blame, not enough credit

Geoff Dyer talks with Glenn Greenwald, who he writes is a lot more genial in person than one might expect: “People are sometimes not sure what to expect,” Greenwald tells Dyer. “They think they are going to meet this total asshole and get screamed at.”

Greenwald has his own Snowden book, due for publication in April, which will be his attempt to explain what to make of the NSA scandal. The scope of the data that the NSA is collecting is astonishing, as is the brazen way that it is accused of interfering with technology companies. I suggest, however, that one of the problems with the disclosures is that stories that raise major questions about privacy abuses have been mixed up with other articles that appear to do little more than reveal spy tradecraft – including the sorts of things that many Americans might expect their intelligence services to be doing.

Greenwald’s response is as combative as it is surprising. “The vast majority of the stories that people cite as having gone too far come from the New York Times or Washington Post, not from myself or the Guardian,” he says, referring to articles that looked at the way the NSA monitored Taliban fighters in Pakistan or its efforts to track communications in Iran. “Which is ironic given that we are the ones portrayed as the villains.”

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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