The man who helped bring about the most significant leak in American intelligence history is to reveal names of US citizens targeted by their own government in what he promises will be the “biggest” revelation from nearly 2m classified files.
Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who received the trove of documents from Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, told The Sunday Times that Snowden’s legacy would be “shaped in large part” by this “finishing piece” still to come.
His plan to publish names will further unnerve an American intelligence establishment already reeling from 11 months of revelations about US government surveillance activities.
Greenwald, who is promoting his book No Place To Hide and is trailed by a documentary crew wherever he goes, was speaking in a boutique hotel near Harvard, where he was to appear with Noam Chomsky, the octogenarian leftist academic.
“One of the big questions when it comes to domestic spying is, ‘Who have been the NSA’s specific targets?’," he said.
“Are they political critics and dissidents and activists? Are they genuinely people we’d regard as terrorists?
What are the metrics and calculations that go into choosing those targets and what is done with the surveillance that is conducted? Those are the kinds of questions that I want to still answer.”
Greenwald said the names would be published via The Intercept, a website funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder and chairman of eBay. Greenwald left The Guardian, which published most of the Snowden revelations, last autumn to work for Omidyar.
“As with a fireworks show, you want to save your best for last,” Greenwald told GQ magazine. “The last one is the one where the sky is all covered in spectacular multicoloured hues.”