Quoted: on NSA spying and the journalist who first reported story

“I approach my journalism as a litigator. People say things, you assume they are lying, and dig for documents to prove it.”

Glenn Greenwald, who wrote this week’s Guardian piece about the National Security Agency collecting call data from Verizon business services customers. The New York Times writes that Greenwald, a lawyer and blogger — who wrote his own blog before it was picked up by Salon — describes himself as an activist and advocate. His approach contrasts with traditional journalistic efforts at objectivity — which some call the “view from nowhere.” For example, Greenwald has defended Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst charged in 2010 with leaking classified documents to whistleblower website Wikileaks. In an editorial this morning titled “Thank you for data-mining,” the Wall Street Journal, uncharacteristically siding with the Obama administration over the practice it says is necessary to fight terrorism, calls Greenwald “a committed anti-antiterror partisan.” Since Greenwald’s piece, others including the Washington Post have reported that the government’s surveillance is enabled not only by companies such as Verizon, but also by its direct access to the servers of Silicon Valley tech companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo. The companies deny knowledge of the program called PRISM.


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