Glenn Greenwald, one of the reporters who broke the story about a National Security Agency surveillance program based on leaks provided by Edward Snowden, will not conduct a television interview with his fugitive source, despite being offered up to $50,000.
In an email exchange with The Washington Post,
Greenwald, who writes for The Guardian in London, said he had discussions with NBC and "very preliminarily" talked with ABC about interviewing with Snowden, the former NSA contractor who gave secret information to Greenwald and Post reporter Barton Gellman on the agency's phone and Internet data-collection program known as PRISM.
Snowden is in Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum.
Russia has refused to turn him over to U.S. authorities for prosecution.
“The reason we didn’t do it is three-fold," said Greenwald. "1) I don’t want to distract attention away from NSA spying and the substance of the disclosures by re-focusing attention on Snowden; 2) Snowden agreed with my suggestion that doing an interview at this time was not productive for the same reason: he wants media attention on NSA spying, not on himself; and 3) I saw no real value in the interview — it would be used just as crass entertainment — and so didn’t want to be involved right now," Greenwald wrote in the email reported late Monday by the Post.
According to the Post, Greenwald is the only journalist to conduct a video interview with Snowden, which took place after 30-year-old fled to Hong Kong from Hawaii.
Greenwald and Gellman separately broke the story of the PRISM program.
Snowden had been working at an NSA facility in Hawaii as an employee of government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, and had access to the secret information revealing the NSA's collection of private domestic telephone and Internet communications.
“Like many, many people, Edward Snowden doesn’t trust many media figures,” Greenwald told the Post. “He’s not willing to give an interview to journalists he doesn’t trust. I’m one of the journalists he trusts."
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