Glenn Greenwald, the reporter for The Guardian who broke stories last week on the National Security Agency’s phone and internet surveillance programs, blasted calls for the prosecution of his sources for leaking classified information, saying they “deserve our praise and gratitude and not imprisonment and prosecution.”
“What they did was they risked their careers and their lives and their liberty because what they were seeing being done in secret inside the United States government is so alarming and so pernicious that they simply want one thing, and that is for the American people at least to learn about what this massive spying apparatus is, and what the capabilities are, so that we can have an open, honest debate about whether that’s the kind of country that we want to live in,” Greenwald said on “This Week” Sunday.
“Unfortunately, since the government hides virtually everything that they do at the threat of criminal prosecution, the only way for us to learn about them is through these courageous whistle-blowers who deserve our praise and gratitude and not imprisonment and prosecution,” Greenwald added.
Sunday on “This Week,’ House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., called for the prosecution of the individuals who leaked classified information on the NSA’s phone and internet surveillance programs revealed in reports in The Guardian and The Washington Post last week.
“I absolutely believe that someone did not have authorization to release this information,” House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., told “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos.
“Taking a very sensitive classified program that targets foreign person on foreign lands, and putting just enough out there to be dangerous, is dangerous to us, it’s dangerous to our national security and it violates the oath of which that person took,” Rogers added. “I absolutely think they should be prosecuted.”
Rogers also criticized Greenwald’s knowledge of the NSA programs, saying, “he doesn’t have a clue how this thing works.”
“Greenwald, says that he’s got it all and now is an expert on the program,” Rogers said. “He doesn’t have a clue how this thing works. Neither did the person who released just enough information to literally be dangerous.”
Greenwald responded on Twitter to Rogers’ comments, saying, “That’s why transparency’s needed.”
Greenwald – who said he plans to report more revelations – said he has not been contacted by the FBI or other law enforcement officials regarding his sources, but said the “attempt to intimidate journalists and sources with these constant threats of investigation aren’t going to work.”
“Any time they would like to speak to me, I would be more than happy to speak to them, and I will tell them that there is this thing called the Constitution, and the very first amendment of which guarantees a free press,” Greenwald said on “This Week.” “As an American citizen, I have every right and even the obligation as a journalist to tell my fellow citizens and our readers what it is that the government is doing, that they don’t want people in the United States to know about.”
He also rejected criticism from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who called his reporting “reckless” and filled with inaccuracies.
“They attack the media as the messenger and they are trying to discredit the story,” Greenwald responded. “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.”
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