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‘The man with the Rubik’s cube’ — Greenwald tells about first secret meeting with Snowden in Hong Kong

US Politics
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Glenn Greenwald. (Photo: Silvia Izquierdo/AP)

Glenn Greenwald. (Photo: Silvia Izquierdo/AP)

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.

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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6 Responses

  1. just
    September 22, 2013, 10:16 am

    I read that interview yesterday– it was truly amazing.

    Shame on America, btw. I guess the powers that be really “can’t handle the truth”. Why does this keep coming back to haunt me?

    Thanks Allison.

  2. Citizen
    September 23, 2013, 4:22 am

    I notice on the infotainment cable TV news shows, they keep matching up the lunatic who killed a dozen innocent people at the Navy Yard with Mr. Snowden; they mention the two in the same breath, yet never point out if it were not for Snowden, neither we nor our representatives in Congress would have a clue our privacy is getting locked into a vault for perusal in secret by unaccountable regime lackeys as they see fit. Further, nothing is being told to the American people about the fact this hoard of privacy data is being sent, sans vetting, directly to Israel, to be used by Mossad as it sees fit with only US government officials actually protected from such use by the Samson Option foreign entity.

  3. Citizen
    September 23, 2013, 4:49 am

    Snowden is also responsible for giving us awareness that our government has a “back door” to the international encryption system.

  4. Kathleen
    September 23, 2013, 12:10 pm

    I believe Greenwald has been living in Brazil for quite some time. Do not think his living there has anything to do with being hassled. From my take and following of what Greenwald has to report and say about any issue he operates from the highest standards of the law and applies those standards across the board. Whether it comes to Bush’s warmongering policies or Obama’s. His commitment to international human rights standards across the board is unflappable.

    I have the deepest respect for Greenwald

    • Bumblebye
      September 23, 2013, 12:31 pm

      I heard they have a house on the edge of the forest, and nine (or ten?) dogs but only one cat. They definitely need to redress that imbalance. More moggies, Glen!

    • lysias
      September 25, 2013, 6:56 pm

      Greenwald explained years ago why he was living in Brazil: there was no way he could have his partner Miranda permitted to live in the U.S., since at that time the U.S. federal government did not recognize same-sex marriages, indeed was legally prohibited from recognizing them under the Defense of Marriage Act.

      Now the law has changed, and their marriage would be recognized by the State Department, but Greenwald now has even more powerful reasons not just not to reside in the U.S., but even not to visit the place.

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