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Expect more stories on the NSA's spying program, Glenn Greenwald says

By Ricardo Rossetto, Maria Clara Modesto and Guilherme Ramalho*

Glenn Greenwald during the Global Investigative Journalism Conference.

According to journalist Glenn Greenwald, with the British daily The Guardian, the most important documents obtained by former National Security Agency consultant Edward Snowden had not been released yet. His comments were made during an Oct. 14 debate at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference. Greenwald also noted that the documents have been distributed among several persons in different parts of the world as a way to protect them.

Greenwald said four or five new stories that involve Spain and France will be published soon.

"There's no way to stop this process now. We're going to publish to the last document," he said.

Greenwald also rejected the criticisms he has received for not releasing all the documents at the same time. "Those documents are being worked on and now they are in the hands of other people. If something were to happen, that information is still available and can be used."

Answering to questions regarding the NSA's intentions when spying on the Brazilian government and its main company Petrobras, the journalist said the interests were simply economic.

"The United States never offered an explanation over why they had targeted a company like Petrobras. I don't think there are pedophiles or terrorists at Petrobras. They could even have them, but the United States is not spying them because of that. If it weren't for the economic reason, for what else could it be?" he said.

Greenwald accused the United States of bullying those countries that showed any disposition to help Snowden. Even Cuba, which was initially willing to let the former analyst fly over its territory, backed down. According to Greenwald, the political asylum offers made by Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua were just "symbolic gestures."

"If Venezuela had wanted to, it could have send an airplane" for Snowden, he said.

Greenwald also criticized the president of Ecuador Rafael Correa for having made a political asylum offer to Snowden that "was never very serious."

Journalists from all over the world were present at the Oct. 14 debate.

Earlier that day, another debate during the conference dealt with Snowden's case and the concepts of national security and freedom of expression. For the former director of the Press and Society Institute (IPYS), Roberto Pereira, a participant in the discussion, the biggest problem is the manipulation of the interpretation of what information is of public interest and what information should be classified as confidential. Pereira defended the Snowden-Greenwald team: "A journalist must care about the public cause when it has to do with information from the government. Disclosing that is not a crime."

For Pereira, "there is no legitimate national security interest that restricts the right to inform."

This story was originally published on the site of the Global Investigative Journalism Conference.


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