The Snowden leak that journalist Glenn Greenwald has described as the biggest story yet was delayed prior to publication this week, after the U.S. government made last-minute claims about the forthcoming disclosure.
While at The Guardian last year, Greenwald, along with Washington Post and New York Times reporters, broke the first stories detailing unprecedented secret bulk surveillance programs conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency and British Government Communications Headquarters.
Those stories and the year of subsequent sensitive disclosures that followed were all based on a cache of classified intelligence documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who has since taken up asylum in Russia to avoid U.S. espionage charges.
Greenwald, now heading up First Look Media’s The Intercept as a founding editor, has been telling the world for months “the biggest stories [have yet] to be reported,” including a list of individuals actively targeted by the U.S. intelligence community for surveillance.
“One of the big questions when it comes to domestic spying is, ‘Who have been the NSA’s specific targets?’” Greenwald told the Sunday Times. “Are they political critics and dissidents and activists? Are they genuinely people we’d regard as terrorists? What are the metrics and calculations that go into choosing those targets and what is done with the surveillance that is conducted? Those are the kinds of questions that I want to still answer.”
Greenwald finally issued a long-awaited publication date of midnight Tuesday, but followed up a short time later with a tweet announcing a new delay.
“After three months working on our story, [the United States government] today suddenly began making new last-minute claims which we intend to investigate before publishing,” Greenwald said.
No further updates have been issued by Greenwald or the Intercept, and a live Reddit AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) session with Greenwald and fellow Intercept writer Murtaza “Maz” Hussain scheduled to take place after publication has also been put on hold.
Greenwald published his book “No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State” documenting his first-hand experience with the now-infamous NSA leaker in May.