These days Glenn Greenwald is living in Brazil. Daily he corresponds with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden over encrypted chats. There are some-20,000 leaked documents to scour through and a spider web of government surveillance programs to tease out. When he publishes, Greenwald is diligent about adhering to his sources redlines: no endangering America or NSA personnel.
Similarly documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, the only other person besides Greenwald and Snowden with access to full archive of leaked records, is also stationed outside of America. After getting hassled by security agents and her reporter’s notes confiscated she moved to Germany to finish cutting her latest feature, on the Snowden affair.
A few days ago Haaretz interviewed Greenwald on how Snowden first approached him, why the Guardian was selected as the choice news outlet and why the two journalists working with the whistleblower are both living outside of their home country. It’s a little bit of a noir spy drama. +972 Magazine’s Noam Sheizaf starts out the piece with a clandestine Honk Kong meeting, where Greenwald and Poitras wait for a man with a Rubik’s cube.
One muggy day in May, the journalist Glenn Greenwald and the documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras stood outside a restaurant in a Hong Kong mall, waiting for a man who would be carrying a Rubik’s Cube. According to the instructions they had received, they were supposed to ask him what time the restaurant would open. He would reply and add a warning: The food is lousy.
Greenwald and Poitras arrived early. The man with the Rubik’s Cube, who was tense and a bit suspicious, told them to follow him to a room in a hotel. There he showed them his employer’s card at Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency. His name was Edward Snowden, and within a few days he would become the most wanted person on the planet.
Read the full interview here.