DENVER – Much more remains to be revealed about America’s global spy network, the journalist who broke stories about the country’s eavesdropping activities told a gathering of Western Hemisphere journalists in Denver on Monday.
Glenn Greenwald has been breaking stories from a trove of documents leaked to him by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. His latest revelation came Monday in the French newspaper Le Monde. French government officials were infuriated to learn the NSA swept up 70.3 million French telephone records in a single month.
Greenwald has previously exposed the mass collection of American phone records and spying by the United States on the Mexican president and Brazil’s government and state-owned oil company. He said the U.S. spy program has sweeping ambitions.
“Their intent is to collect and store and analyze all forms of human communication that takes place electronically,” Greenwald said. “There is no targeting at all of surveillance toward people who pose a national security threat.”
He promised “a lot more” stories, including more revelations of spying on American citizens, would be published.
“I would say that the majority of stories that are significant remain to be reported,” Greenwald said.
Greenwald and his fellow journalists have multiple encrypted copies of the Snowden documents stashed around the world.
“There is nothing government can do to prevent the reporting and disclosure of this material,” he said.
Still, he warned that governments are trying to crack down on press freedom.
“There have been more prosecutions of reporters and sources under the espionage act in the last five years since President Obama took office than there have been in every year in the history of the United States,” Greenwald said.
Greenwald thinks he is the subject of a criminal probe by the government of the United Kingdom, which he called “thuggish.” UK authorities detained his partner at the London airport for nine hours earlier this year under a terrorism law.
His source, Snowden, is wanted by U.S. authorities and living in exile in Russia.
Greenwald, an American, spoke via phone and video connection from Brazil to the Inter American Press Association, a group for editors and publishers from Latin America and the United States. He said he would have preferred to appear in person, but he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to appear in this country.
The Durango Herald is a local sponsor of the IAPA conference at Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel. Elizabeth Ballantine, a director of the Herald’s parent company, will be inaugurated as group’s president today.