Glenn Greenwald on 'This Week'

Glenn Greenwald talks to George Stephanopoulos about new NSA revelations.
4:22 | 07/28/13

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Transcript for Glenn Greenwald on 'This Week'
We'll have more on that. But breaking news in the nsa spy case. With snowden in limbo at a russian airport. We are joined by glenn greenwald, with new reporting on the domestic surveillance program. Thanks for joining us. The new reporting zeroes in on one of the most explosive claims made a few weeks back. Take a look. I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal e-mail. Now that claim was denied by intelligence officials, and the chair of the house intelligence committee, mike rogers said he was lying. But your new reporting you say bolsters his claim. Reporter: Right, one of the most amazing parts of the episode have been that james clapper and others lied to the american congress which everyone acknowledges about what the nsa is doing. It's amazing he hasn't been prosecuted but still has his job. What that does, is it lets national security officials continue to lie to the public, which is what happened in the exchange you just referenced. The way that I know exactly what they have the capability to do when spying on americans, the story I'm working on for the last month, publishing this week, sets forth what the nsa analysts, low level, not just those who work for the nsa, but private contractors are able to do. The nsa has trillions of telephone calls and e-mails they have collected over the last several years. They are simple screens like the ones that supermarket clerks or shipping and receives clerks use. All they have to do is enter an e-mail address or an ip address, and it does two things, searches the database and lets them listen to the calls or read the e-mails of everything that the nsa has stored, or look at the browsing histories and google search terms. And also alerts them to further activity that people connected to the e-mail address or ip address have in the future. It's done with no need to go to court, no need to get approval. There are legal constraints for spying on americans, you can't target them without going to the fisa court. But it allows them to listen to whatever e-mails they want, telephone calls, browsing history, microsoft word documents. It's a powerful and invasive tool exactly as the type he described. And nsa officials are going before the senate on wednesday, and I defy them to deny that these programs work just the way I said. Do we have any evidence that the capability was used? Reporter: There's lots of evidence of abuse. Abc news and brian ross, several years ago, nsa analysts got caught listening to telephone conversations between soldiers and their girlfriends who were stationed in iraq and america. And there have been reports in the new york times that the nsa has wildly exceeded the scope of the legal limits that the law allows. There are all sorts of admissions, including this week in a letter to senator wyden by james clapper that the nsa exceeded the legal authority it acknowledges it has, and they say it's inadvertant key strokes. . The real issue is they have done this in complete secrecy. Nobody monitors who they're eavesdropping on. The question of abuse is one congress should be investigating. I know you have been in contact with snowden, it seems he's prepared to stay in russia, anything new on will that be possible and what russia will decide? Reporter: I think what has happened is the united states is applying lots of pressure. It's probably at this point pending and for a few more days and weeks before he gets the papers he needs, but I think at this point, he's happy no news out of russia. That allows the focus to be where he wants it to be, which is on the revelations on what they're doing, the incredible debate in the house of representatives this week where liberals and conservatives joined together to oppose nsa abuses. I think he's content with having nothing happen so the focus isn't on him, but the substance of the revelations that he came forward to shine light on. Okay, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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