In an interview with Stephen Colbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald said there are still bombshells to be revealed about the National Security Agency’s spying.
“I genuinely believe that the story that is the biggest one and will have the biggest impact and will shape how the last 10 months are viewed by history is the story on which we’re currently working that will hopefully be ready within 4 to 8 weeks,” he said.
“One of the missing pieces is on whom is the NSA spying in America, who are they targeting and for what purpose. Who are these people that they view as sufficient threats that they read their e-mail. What’s the pattern of people. Are they political dissidents? Are they critics of U.S. foreign policy? Are they actual terrorists? And that’s the reporting that remains to be done,” he explained.
The piece like the rest of his articles related to the Edward Snowden leaks will be published in The Guardian newspaper.
Greenwald is also promoting his new book on the topic, entitled “No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. Surveillance State.”
In an excerpt published by The Guardian, Greenwald writes about the justification of spying: “A prime justification for surveillance – that it’s for the benefit of the population – relies on projecting a view of the world that divides citizens into categories of good people and bad people.”
He contends that the government has led the public to believe that its attention was focused on the “bad people,” but through the Snowden leaks that is simply not true.
“Collect it all, sniff it all, process it all, exploit it all. Not collect the communications of terrorists or just people doing bad things, but collect it all. They collect billions with a b of e-mails and cell phone calls every day,” explained Greenwald on “The Colbert Report.”
And logically, those all can’t be from Al-Queda.
The NSA’s focus on insane data collection should change, and it might. The House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the USA Freedom Act, which would scale back the U.S. government’s domestic surveillance programs.
According to U.S. News & World Report, “If passed into law, the USA Freedom Act – as amended in committee – would allow the NSA to collect the phone records of individuals and two “hops” through their contacts if officials can convince a judge there’s reasonable suspicion a targeted individual is a terrorist. The bill would ban the government from invoking pen register or National Security Letter statutes to conduct bulk phone-record collection.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said in a statement that the USA Freedom Act is a step in the right direction. But the proposed legislation does has its flaws.
“The USA FREEDOM Act includes a definition of call detail records which excludes cell site location data, a provision that will help safeguard the location privacy of millions of Americans from mass NSA surveillance. However, we remain concerned that the bill allows prospective collection—collection of records that have not yet been created—up to 180 days,” said the EFF.
The Center for Democracy & Technology wrote a letter calling out potential changes as well. (See letter PDF.) “While the bill makes significant progress in ending bulk collection, we strongly believe that several technical corrections and clarifications to the bill are required if Congress is to help ensure the bill language is not misinterpreted and its stated goal of ending bulk collection is met.”