Greenwald invited to appear before Brazilian Senate committee

Josh Peterson Contributor
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Glenn Greenwald was invited to testify before a Brazilian Senate committee on Tuesday over details about the National Security Agency’s clandestine surveillance in South America.

Greenwald, a columnist for the Guardian and a lawyer who lives in Brazil, was invited to testify before the Committee on Foreign Relations and National Defense, a committee of the Senado Federal — a chamber of the National Congress of Brazil — over the activities of the agency in Brazil.

Jornal do Senado, the official publication of the Brazilian Senado Federal, announced Monday that he was scheduled to appear, but Greenwald said that he was not attending.

Greenwald responded via Twitter on Monday to a previous version of The Daily Caller’s report, stating that he was invited to testify, but will not appear at the hearing.

“It was totally optional, an invitation – only about the reporting I did – and I’m not appearing,” said Greenwald.

In a recently published article with Brazilian news outlet O Globo, Greenwald revealed details about the NSA’s clandestine electronic surveillance throughout Latin America.

Using the NSA’s Internet surveillance program PRISM, Greenwald and co-authors Roberto Kaz and Roberto José Casado wrote that “the NSA collected data on oil and military purchases from Venezuela, energy and narcotics from Mexico, and have mapped the movement of Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC).”

Greenwald is the journalist who broke the first story regarding the U.S. and U.K. governments’ global surveillance apparatus, based on leaks from Edward Snowden.

Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, recently requested that the Russian government grant him temporary asylum as he seeks long-term asylum in Latin America.

Greenwald also recently told The Associated Press that Snowden possesses thousands of documents that, if made public, “would allow somebody who read them to know exactly how the NSA does what it does, which would in turn allow them to evade that surveillance or replicate it.”

Snowden arranged for the documents, which are encrypted, to be released publicly if any physical harm befalls him, he explained. The documents have been called a “dead man’s switch” — acting as insurance for Snowden’s physical safety from the U.S. government.

Greenwald, in a recent column in the Guardian, denied having access to those documents.

He says that Snowden took the highly sensitive documents with him in order to prove the truth of his claims about the agency and the U.S. government.

Greenwald told the AP that while Snowden has been insistent that the information from those documents not be made public, the 46-year-old said that he did not think that “disclosure of the documents would prove harmful to Americans or their national security,” reports the AP.

“I think it would be harmful to the U.S. government, as they perceive their own interests, if the details of those programs were revealed,” Greenwald told the AP.

Update: A previous version of this article reported that Greenwald was to testify before the Brazilian Senado Federal‘s Committee on Foreign Relations and National Defense. The article was corrected to include Greenwald’s response that he was invited but will not appear before the committee.

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