Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Excerpt from Glenn Greenwald's "No Place to Hide"

Yesterday was the official release date of Glenn Greenwald’s new book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Security State. (Amazon).  To coincide with the release, Tom Engelhardt posed this edited excerpt of the first chapter of that book on his TomDispatch website.

It reads like a spy thriller, because that's exactly what it is ... only this isn't fantasy, it's real life.

Glenn Greenwald wrote, of his initial lack of interest and unwillingness to install encryption software that Edward Snowden required him to use before the could communicate:


Despite my intentions, I did nothing, consumed as I was at the time with other stories, and still unconvinced that [Snowden] had anything worthwhile to say.

It was at that point that [Snowden], as he later told me, became frustrated. “Here am I,” he thought, “ready to risk my liberty, perhaps even my life, to hand this guy thousands of Top Secret documents from the nation’s most secretive agency -- a leak that will produce dozens if not hundreds of huge journalistic scoops. And he can’t even be bothered to install an encryption program.”

That’s how close I came to blowing off one of the largest and most consequential national security leaks in U.S. history.

All that, "we need to make sure you weren't followed," "leave your cell phone in your hotel room" kind of stuff seemed like an unnecessary cloak-and-dagger game to Greenwald.  He learned pretty quickly just how real it all was, and how absolutely necessary.

So, why did Edward Snowden take such risks with his life and his future?  Who was he working for?  Who was paying him ?  He provided Glenn Greenwald with the answer:

I want to spark a worldwide debate about privacy, Internet freedom, and the dangers of state surveillance.  I’m not afraid of what will happen to me. I’ve accepted that my life will likely be over from my doing this. I’m at peace with that. I know it’s the right thing to do.

That's enough to satisfy me.  Because no one I know has that degree of courage. No one I know is compelled to that degree by a moral imperative.  No one I know is willing to take such risks, with no certain promise of reward, simply because they believe doing so is the right thing to do.

And I believe Edward Snowden is the greatest living American.
Can't wait for the rest of this story!