Greenwald: Snowden has enough information to cause US govt ‘worst damage in history’

Published time: July 13, 2013 20:09  Edited time: July 14, 2013 13:33                                                                            

AFP Photo / Vasily Maximov AFP Photo / Vasily Maximov

Former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden possesses dangerous information which could potentially lead to America’s “worst nightmare” if it is revealed, according to the journalist who first published Snowden’s leaked documents.

“Snowden has enough information to cause more damage to the US  government in a minute alone than anyone else has ever had in the  history of the United States,” Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian  journalist responsible for publishing some of Snowden’s first  leaks, told Argentina-based newspaper La Nación.
“But that’s not his goal. His objective is to expose software  that people around the world use without knowing what they are  exposing themselves to, without consciously agreeing to surrender  their rights to privacy. He has a huge number of documents that  would be very harmful to the US government if they were made  public,” Greenwald said.
He added that Washington should be exercising care in dealing  with the Snowden because he has the potential to do further  damage to the US.
“The US government should be on its knees every day begging  that nothing happen to Snowden, because if something does happen  to him, all the information will be revealed and it could be its  worst nightmare,” he said.
Greenwald said that “the most important thing [for Snowden] is  not to end up in US custody,” describing  the  government’s approach to people who reveal uncomfortable truths  as “vindictive.”
When asked whether he believed that someone would attempt to harm  or kill the whistleblower, he said that Snowden has “already  distributed thousands of documents and made sure that several  people around the world have their entire file,” stating that  it would not be beneficial for anyone to attempt assassination.
He added that the US should be praying that no one would attempt  to take Snowden’s life. “If something happens, all the  information will be revealed, and that would be [America’s] worst  nightmare,” he said.
Greenwald later responded to initial reports on the interview,  rebutting allegations that he was “blackmailing” or   “threatening” the US. He stated in a Guardian column that  the reported fact Snowden had created a “dead man’s  switch” of sorts was not new, but he was rather reiterating  that it was precaution “against all eventualities,” adding  that  he himself does not have access to the   “insurance” documents and played no role in arranging the  dead man’s switch.
Greenwald also pointed out Snowden’s insistence that journalistic  discretion was exercised. “The oft-repeated claim that  Snowden’s intent is to harm the US is completely negated by the  reality that he has all sorts of documents that could quickly and  seriously harm the US if disclosed, yet he has published none of  those,” Greenwald wrote.

Glenn Greenwald, the blogger and journalist.(Reuters / Sergio Moraes)Glenn Greenwald, the blogger and journalist.(Reuters / Sergio Moraes)


Snowden is wanted in the US on charges of espionage after  revealing details of the country’s covert surveillance programs.
He has been in limbo at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since  arriving from Hong Kong on June 23. The whistleblower is seeking  to find a safe, secure transit route to Latin America, where he  has made several successful asylum requests. Greenwald told  Reuters on Tuesday that it was likely that Snowden would accept  Venezuela’s offer.
Snowden broke three weeks of hiding in the airport to speak with  human rights activists on Friday, mentioning that he would  immediately request asylum from Russia. Russian Foreign Minister  Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday: “We are not in contact with  Snowden,” adding that he has to contact the Russian Migration  Service to formally apply for asylum.
Migration officials said on Saturday that they had not received  asylum requests from Snowden.
“As of today, we haven’t gotten any applications from Edward  Snowden,” Konstantin Romodanovskiy, head of Russia’s Federal  Migration Service, told Interfax. He added that the plea will   “be considered in accordance with Russian law” if it is  received.
Greenwald told La Nación that although few countries have the  power or will to defy the US, “Russia is one of those countries.”

Snowden’s leaks have upset Washington and its friends and enemies  alike. Latin American countries were especially concerned with  the extent of spying being conducted on their internet traffic.
“Latin America feels a natural sympathy for the United States,  yet there is a great resentment for specific historic policies of  Washington toward the region. What happened to [Bolivian  President] Evo Morales’ plane in Europe induced a strong  reaction. Bolivia was treated as a colony and not a sovereign  state,” said Greenwald.
Greenwald hinted that further leaks are possible which are  relevant to South America, including documents which outline how  the US collects traffic information, the programs used, and the  number of interceptions made on a daily basis.
It was revealed at the end of June that the US spies on dozens of  foreign embassies and missions. A leaked document published in  the Guardian listed 38 foreign embassies and missions which were  spied upon in the US, describing them as “targets” under  surveillance.

News that the EU member states were targeted by US intelligence  has sparked outrage among the allies. France even expressed  willingness to delay the start of negotiations on a huge free  trade deal between the EU and the United States, demanding an  explanation for the spying practices.

“We cannot accept this kind of behavior between partners and  allies,” Hollande told journalists at the beginning of July.   “There can be no negotiations or transactions in all areas  until we have obtained these guarantees,” he said.

“Bugging friends is unacceptable,” said Chancellor  Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert. “We are no longer  in the Cold War.”

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