Greenwald ditches plan for Snowden interview — ‘it would be used just as crass entertainment’

The Washington Post reports: Glenn Greenwald, one of two reporters to disclose the existence of a massive National Security Agency surveillance program, has held preliminary talks with American TV networks to conduct an interview with his chief source, fugitive leaker Edward Snowden.

Greenwald said Monday night that he decided not to do the interview, despite discussing a licensing fee of up to $50,000 for landing an interview with Snowden.

An interview with Snowden would be a major coup for any news outlet, but few journalists have access to the 30-year-old former government contractor, who fled the United States and has been granted asylum in Russia.

Greenwald, who works for the Guardian newspaper, is one of the few journalists who conceivably could land such an interview. Snowden contacted him anonymously earlier this year, and they built a relationship that led him to disclose details of the NSA’s massive and secret data-collection program known as PRISM.

Snowden also contacted Barton Gellman, who reported on the PRISM program for The Washington Post. Gellman’s Post story was published a few minutes before Greenwald and the Guardian released their own.

Greenwald said via e-mail that he spoke with NBC, and “very preliminarily” with ABC, about a Snowden interview.

He wrote: “The reason we didn’t do it is three-fold: 1) I don’t want to distract attention away from NSA spying and the substance of the disclosures by re-focusing attention on Snowden; 2) Snowden agreed with my suggestion that doing an interview at this time was not productive for the same reason: he wants media attention on NSA spying, not on himself; and 3) I saw no real value in the interview — it would be used just as crass entertainment — and so didn’t want to be involved right now.” [Continue reading…]

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