Greenwald: USA 'Forced' Snowden to Stay in Russia, 'Demonized Him'

Greenwald: USA 'Forced' Snowden to Stay in Russia, 'Demonized Him'

Glenn Greenwald insists that Edward Snowden was en route to Ecuador when the United States “forced the situation” to keep Snowden in Russia “and thus demonized him.” The latest assertion, in an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC, contradicts claims by Wikileaks that they “advised” Snowden to stay in Russia.

In a wide-ranging interview in Spanish with the newspaper, Greenwald responds to the allegation that Snowden’s attack of the United States on civil liberties grounds while living in Moscow is hypocritical. “He meant to fly from Moscow (where he was trapped in the airport for five months) to Havana and from there to Quito to stay in Ecuador, which guaranteed his safety,” Greenwald explained, “but the U.S. forced the situation so that he had to stay and thus demonized him.”

The statement flies in the face of a claim made on Wikileaks’ Twitter account this month that they “advised Snowden to take Russia,” but is consistent with the claims Snowden himself has made, including his recent claim that he would like to return to the United States.

Greenwald does address a recent rift between Wikileaks and his work with Snowden. This month, Wikileaks attacked Greenwald on Twitter for refusing to publish the name of a country which the NSA had been monitoring and whose phone calls it had been recording. Greenwald had noted that there was a non-negligible chance that publishing the information would “lead to deaths.” In response, Wikileaks called Greenwald “racist.” 

“I have supported [Julian] Assange’s efforts for a long time even though he has criticized me for not publishing everything, for having eliminated certain information that could be dangerous to some people,” Greenwald told ABC. “In any case, I care more about Snowden’s opinion than Assange’s.”

Greenwald notes that it was Snowden’s influence that has led him to no longer use Gmail. “I used to use Gmail, and Facebook just to upload photos of my dogs,” he explains. “Since I met Snowden, I only work with enterprises that take security seriously.” While his Facebook use has diminished, Greenwald does appear to have continued using it to upload his dog pictures.

The newspaper also challenges Greenwald on various fronts regarding potential hypocrisy, particularly when covering the United States while not placing much emphasis on the human rights violations of countries like China. “The principal obligation of an American journalist is to investigate one’s own government,” he responded, adding that “hypocrisy is always present in United States foreign policy.”

As for the career path he has chosen that has made him an infrequent visitor to America, rather than a resident, Greenwald describes it as “without a doubt” worth it. “What has happened is much better than what we expected,” he notes. “Our reporting has served so that, for the first time, Congress has decided to limit espionage actions.”