Today’s New York Times has a nice profile on Glenn Greenwald, the man who has helped expose the federal government’s widespread surveillance of tens of millions of Americans. Here is an excerpt:
Late Wednesday, Mr. Greenwald, a lawyer and longtime blogger, published an article in the British newspaper The Guardian about the existence of a top-secret court order allowing the National Security Agency to monitor millions of telephone logs. The article, which included a link to the order, is expected to attract an investigation from the Justice Department, which has aggressively pursued leakers.
On Thursday night, he followed up with an article written with a Guardian reporter, Ewen MacAskill, that exposed an N.S.A. program, Prism, that has gathered information from the nation’s largest Internet companies going back nearly six years.
“The N.S.A. is kind of the crown jewel in government secrecy. I expect them to react even more extremely,” Mr. Greenwald said in a telephone interview. He said that he had been advised by lawyer friends that “he should be worried,” but he had decided that “what I am doing is exactly what the Constitution is about and I am not worried about it.”
A few years ago, Cato invited Greenwald to participate in a Cato Unbound exchange on government surveillance. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction to his essay:
The digital surveillance state is out of control. It intercepts our phone calls, keeps track of our prescription drug use, monitors our email, and keeps tabs on us wherever we go. For all that, it doesn’t appear to be making us safer. Accountability has been lost, civil liberties are disappearing, and the public-private partnerships in this area of government action raise serious questions about the democratic process itself. It’s time we stood up to do something about it.
Cato also hosted an event for Greenwald’s second book, A Tragic Legacy, which focused on the policies of the Bush administration. That event can be viewed here.
And, though not directly related to government spying, Greenwald authored Cato’s highly acclaimed study, Drug Decriminalization in Portugal.
American policymakers too often serve up Bread & Circuses. Congratulations to Greenwald for starting a real debate on one of the most important issues of our time.