Birth - Death
Glenn Greenwald was a journalist for The Guardian U.S. in 2013 when he coauthored a series of reports detailing government surveillance programs based on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden. The sensational revelations had repercussions for many government security programs around the world.
Greenwald obtained an undergraduate degree in philosophy before attending law school at the New York University School of Law, graduating in 1994. After practicing for ten years in his own litigation firm, he pursued journalism in 2005 by way of his own blog and freelance work under his ‘Unclaimed Territory’ website. Greenwald joined the writing staff of Salon.com in 2007. In each of these endeavours, Greenwald focussed on issues related to government management of intelligence matters as they relate to civil rights and liberty laws.
In 2012, Greenwald joined the writing staff of The Guardian U.S., once again focussing on issues of government intelligence operations. Late that year, he was contacted by Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), declaring that he had sensitive information on U.S. intelligence activity that would be of significant interest to the public. After a series of secret meetings between the two, the first of such documents were published by The Guardian newspaper in 2013. These documents exposed the vast intelligence activity of the NSA that affected multiple facets of the public’s and the government’s daily operations. Their release confirmed that very few people in the public and government were aware of the extent of this activity and the impact it had, or could have, on their lives.
These revelations caused an international media frenzy on the subject and had immediate government fallout. Edward Snowden himself was forced into exile in Russia, and Greenwald has had to take up residency in Brazil with his partner on fear of arrest and imprisonment for having released such sensitive government intelligence information. Meanwhile, governments around the world have had to defend their clandestine intelligence activity as new revelations of the intrusiveness of their actions are made on a regular basis.
Greenwald and his team at The Guardian received a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their reporting work, as well as numerous other recognitions around the world. Both before and after these revelations, Greenwald wrote five books on the subject of politics, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. His most recent book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (2014) received numerous awards and recognitions.
Greenwald left The Guardian in 2013 to join a new media venture, First Look Media, as editor of its online publication ‘The Intercept’. The focus of this new venture is on global press freedom and the support of independent journalism.
In publishing and exposing the nefarious activities of the NSA and other global government intelligence agencies, Greenwald has been at the forefront of the issue of freedom of the press. He has received a considerable number of personal honours on this subject. Greenwald is now considered one of the world’s top political commentators and journalist and has received considerable international fame and attention.
Nevertheless, there also remains a large group of vocal opponents to his activities and behaviour. Many lawmakers continue to advocate for his prosecution as a criminal for the release of intelligence documents. However the revelations have forced the NSA and others to come clean about their activities, to be more sensitive to the public perception and awareness of their activities, and to change many of the clandestine ways they operate. There have been no prosecutions or serious instances of the violation of civil liberties that have emanated from the disclosures, but scrutiny of government intelligence activities has intensified.
Perhaps the greatest outcome from this historical event is the attention paid to the importance of investigative journalism. Greenwald, together with Edward Snowden, has shown that the individual can still make a difference in today’s political world. In the process, Greenwald has become one of the most high profile LGBTQ individuals in the world.
Partner is David Miranda, who was notably arrested at Heathrow Airport under the terrorism act.