Snowden: NSA Story Needed the 'Courage' Major Media Outlets Have Abandoned

November 11, 2020 0 By HearthstoneYarns

In an interview given for the upcoming New York Times Magazine cover story, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden describes why he chose independent journalist Laura Poitras and the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald over “major American news outlets” to handle the explosive content he was ready to share with the world.

In an encrypted email exchange with the NYT’s Peter Maass, Snowden explained:

The interview with Snowden was given as part of Maass’ profile of Poitras and Greenwald, who together have formed the nucleus of the journalistic team responsible for handling and reporting the numerous classifieds National Security documents leaked by Snowden over the last several months.

Though less well known in public circles than Greenwald, Poitras is given particular focus by Maass for her role in the still-developing NSA leak story. Though essential and integral to the entire process, Poitras has “preferred to stay in the background,” even as the intrigue surrounding the way the leaks surfaced and how they’ve been reported has at times become a more elevated story than the contents of the leaks themselves.

As Greenwald says of Poitras, “I keep calling her the Keyser Soze of the story, because she’s at once completely invisible and yet ubiquitous,” he said. “She’s been at the center of all of this, and yet no one knows anything about her.”

As his exchange with Maass indicates, the main reason that Snowden initially reached out to Poitras—known more for her award-winning documentary film war in the post 9/11 era than newspaper-style investigative journalism—was because of the way she has herself been targeted by government agencies. In the email interview, Snowden writes: