Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Brazil and has spoken of the “risk” he would face if he entered the United States, is scheduled to speak here later this month to a controversial Muslim group.
The Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says that Greenwald will be the keynote speaker at its November 16 “Faith in Freedom” dinner in Anaheim, California.
The banquet is the first scheduled appearance in the United States for Greenwald, who lives in Brazil, since he used information provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to disclose NSA electronic surveillance programs in a series of articles for the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper.
One Republican congressman has already called for the prosecution of Greenwald.
Rep. Pete King (R-NY) told Fox News host Megyn Kelly this June that, “In this case, when you have someone who discloses secrets like this and threatens to release more, yes, there has to be legal action taken against him.”
Perhaps with King’s words in mind, Greenwald told a left-wing website this August that he recognized the legal perils of entering the United States but “I won’t be kept out of my country for doing journalism.”
Greenwald did say he would consult lawyers before entering the United States. “I am working with lawyers,” he told truth-out.org. “I absolutely intend that I will go back to my country when I choose.”
Greenwald’s domestic partner was detained in the United Kingdom in August under the UK’s strict anti-terrorism statute, but was released without charges after nine hours.
Columbia University Law School lecturer Scott Horton told The Daily Caller he doubts that the government would prosecute Greenwald if he enters the United States, but he said it is possible.
“If they were going to make a case against Glenn Greenwald they would have to show he induced Snowden to turn over documents to him and therefore there was a conspiracy between him and Snowden to breach statutes that protect confidential information.”
Horton, a vociferous critic of the war on terror, says it is more likely that authorities would stop and search Greenwald upon his arrival in the United States.
“I think that is something he would have to be concerned about. He could be pulled aside [at the airport] and have his laptop taken and communications devices examined. Civil liberties on United States soil don’t exist at border check points.”
Greenwald’s choice of venue for his first scheduled public appearance is sure to raise further charges from critics that he is more interested in providing comfort to American enemies than he is of doing legitimate journalism.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has repeatedly barred Daily Caller reporters from its press conference, was an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal government’s successful prosecution of a charitable organization in the United States for funneling money to Muslim terrorists overseas. (Related: House report urges Justice Dept. to cut ties with CAIR)
Another scheduled speaker at the CAIR dinner is Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who was on the government’s list of unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial.