GREENWALD: Every single time any major media outlet reports on something that the government is hiding, that political officials don't want people to know, such as the fact that they are collecting the phone records of all Americans, regardless of any suspicion of wrongdoing? The people in power do exactly the same thing. They attack the media as the messenger and they try and discredit the story. This has been going back decades, ever since the Pentagon Papers were released by the New York Times, and political officials said, you are endangering national security.
The only thing we've endangered is the reputation of the people in power who are building this massive spying apparatus without any accountability who are trying to hide from the American people what it is that they are doing. There is no national security harm from letting people know that they are collecting all phone records, that they are tapping into the Internet, that they are planning massive cyber attacks both foreign and -- and even domestic. These are things that the American people have a right to know. The only thing being damaged is the credibility of political officials and they way they exercise power in the dark.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the things you reported is that the government has, quote, "direct access" to the servers of massive internet firms, like Google and Microsoft and Facebook, and all the companies have come out and denied it. You see Google saying, "The U.S. government does not have direct access or a backdoor to the information stored in our data centers." Similar statements from Facebook and Apple. And Mr. Clapper also said, "The U.S. government does not unilaterally obtain information." Now, I take it there could be some semantic word games being played here. What's your understanding about what is actually happening? Because it does appear that they don't have direct access to the servers.
GREENWALD: Well, our story was very clear. What we said was that, and -- and we presented it as the story from the start, was that we have top secret NSA documents that claim that there is a new program called The PRISM Program, in place since 2007 that provides, in the words of the NSA's own documents, direct collection, directly from the servers of these companies. We then went to all of those companies named, and they said no, we don't provide direct access to our servers, so there was a conflict, which is what we reported, that the NSA claims that they have direct access, the companies deny it.