The National Security Agency's surveillance program has nothing to do with fighting terrorism and is all about politics and money, says the man who has leaked thousands of documents from renegade contractor Edward Snowden.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald says the information he and Snowden have released proves the NSA spy tactics are "clearly about political power and economic espionage" rather than the war on terror.
Last week Greenwald released information showing the agency spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's personal cellphone calls. He says that is proof the NSA isn't focusing its surveillance efforts on those looking to harm Americans.
"Is Angela Merkel a terrorist?" Greenwald rhetorically asked CNN host Christiane Amanpour
. "The claim that this is all about terrorism is seen around the world as what it is, which is pure deceit."
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NSA officials repeatedly have said the information leak has "caused irreversible and significant damage"
to the United States and its allies. NSA Director General Keith Alexander says the surveillance program has helped the agency foil at least 50 global terrorist plots, 10 of which were in the United States.
"From my perspective, our most important job is defending this nation . . . When you look at, on balance, over 50 cases that we've helped disrupt terrorist plots and contributed information to those, zero times have we come up with a place where we have failed the public's confidence or Congress' confidence," Alexander said in June.
Still, Greenwald, who recently left Britain's Guardian newspaper to work for a new online venture funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, remains adamant that the surveillance program collects information on millions of innocent Americans.
"It’s something that the world didn’t know, and now they do know, and that’s the reason why U.S. officials are so angry," he said. "Not because it damaged national security, but because it damages their reputation and credibility around the world."
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