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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 6/25/14

Glenn Greenwald on Government Snooping: Why It's Dangerous and What We Can Do About It

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Message Yes Magazine

I tried to prepare myself for the risks, and then put them out of my mind because if you allow yourself to sort of wallow in fear, it can be paralyzing.

Paton: Has any of the mainstream press or the mainstream media been supportive of you?

Greenwald: There've been a lot of journalists who've been supportive. I mean, we won virtually every major journalism award for the work we've done over the last year, which are given out by journalists. It's hard, when you win the Polk and the Pulitzer and everything else, to say there are no journalists supporting you.

But it's been very divided. I mean, the people who've led the way calling for my prosecution or for saying the journalism is improper have also been journalists. Which is really odd, if you think about it, that in a democracy, it's the journalists who are standing up, leading the way calling for journalism to be criminalized. It's a bizarre state of affairs.

But you know, when we were back in Hong Kong talking about the challenges we were going to face, we knew that one of the major forces we were going to have to battle was the media itself -- not just the NSA and the U.S. government and the Obama administration. We also knew that a big part of what we wanted to achieve was to trigger a debate, not just about surveillance and privacy, but also about journalism and the role that journalists should play vis-a-vis the state. I have been writing for many years about how subservient journalists are to government and corporate power, and how they see the world through that prism and attack anybody who challenges it.

Paton: How long do you see the series of articles going on, based on all the stuff you have from Edward Snowden?

Greenwald: It's hard to say. There's still a lot more to report. We're all still working on ways to expand the scope of the journalists who have access to the archives so that we can make the reporting happen faster and in more places around the world. There's just so much reporting left to do that increasing the scale of the journalists who have access to the material is necessary. But I think there's probably a few more months of really big stories that will come from us, and then hopefully after that it will come from a lot more people.

Paton: Where are you on the spectrum of feeling threatened or fearful, and feeling like, you know, "Bring 'em on"?

Greenwald: What I tried hard to do in the beginning was to take inventory of all the risks that likely were going to arise as a result of the reporting I was about to do. And I knew I was going to be doing it aggressively, and that the attacks and threats would be sustained. And there were security threats involved in having this number of highly sensitive materials that huge numbers of governments around the world would like to get their hands on.

And then I tried to just prepare myself for those risks, and then put them out of my mind because if you allow yourself to sort of wallow in fear, it can be paralyzing. It can engender paranoia. It can make you refrain from doing things that you ought to do. But ultimately, the more the government seems threatening or bullying or intimidating, the more emboldened I actually become because it just convinces me all the more of why this transparency is necessary, and why these kinds of factions can't be trusted to wield this sort of power in the dark.

*Dean Paton
wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Dean is executive editor of YES!

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