In a June 2012 Guardian column, Greenwald wrote, “As a foreign national accused of harming U.S. national security, he (Assange) has every reason to want to avoid ending up in the travesty known as the American judicial system.”
On April 10, 2012, Greenwald wrote for the WikiLeaks Press’ blog about Poitras and WikiLeaks being targeted by U.S. government officials.
Since last year Poitras has been working on a film on post-9/11 America, with a focus on the NSA and in which Assange and WikiLeaks are participating. Assange confirmed this in a May 29 interview on Democracy Now’s Web site.
In that same interview, Assange previewed the first Greenwald Guardian story based on Snowden documents that landed a week later. Speaking from Ecuador’s embassy in London, Assange described how NSA had been collecting “all the calling records of the United States, every record of everyone calling everyone over years . . . Those calling records already (are) entered into the national security complex.”
Did he know ahead of time of that Guardian story describing the U.S. court order permitting NSA’s collection of the telephone toll records of millions of American Verizon customers and storing them for years?
Snowden’s releases reflect another WikiLeaks technique: directing materials to suit specific audiences at specific times.
While in Hong Kong, Snowden told the South China Post that the United States was targeting China’s mobile-phone systems along with Internet hubs run by two Chinese universities. That release came while U.S. officials were pushing Chinese cyberwarfare as a major issue.
On Sunday, as Snowden seeks asylum possibly in a Latin American country, Greenwald, again on Democracy Now, described an article he co-wrote in Brazil’s O Globo newspaper: “NSA is systematically tapping into the telecommunication systems of Brazil and intercepting, storing and monitoring millions upon millions of telephone calls and emails of ordinary Brazilians, the kind . . . that we reported was taking place in the United States, as well.”
Meanwhile, Snowden is reportedly in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport with WikiLeaks handling his legal representation and public relations operations.
What other roles the group played in getting Snowden to this point remain a mystery.
Walter Pincus reports on intelligence, defense and foreign policy for The Washingon Post and writes the Fine Print column.