Greenwald will “force the issue,” visit U.S.Submitted by Michael Nystrom on Fri, 02/07/2014 - 17:28
Months after the first insinuations that he risks arrest if he visits the US, Greenwald is more concerned than ever
By Brian Beutler | Salon | February 6, 2014
When big-name public figures and Edward Snowden critics first started suggesting Glenn Greenwald and other writers who’d published his surveillance disclosures might be in legal jeopardy, Greenwald assumed that both the clamor and the actual risk to journalists would quickly subside, and eventually disappear.
That was about six months ago. Today, Greenwald believes he miscalculated. In an exclusive interview Wednesday he said that the ominous rhetoric directed at him has actually escalated. It’s discouraged him from visiting the United States, where he still has strong family and professional ties. And though he intends to reenter the country sooner rather than later, he’ll do so despite the fact that he believes he faces a much greater risk of detention than most of the other journalists who have access to some or all of Snowden’s files.
“As the story kind of went on I thought the prospect of something happening to the journalists would dissipate to zero. I actually think that the risk is higher than it’s ever been,” Greenwald told me. “My parents are getting older, my nieces [live there] — none of that is something I’m going to go home for now … I had a foundation that wanted to sponsor and pay for and market aggressively a six-city speaking tour to talk about the NSA story and the revelations. I would have completely loved to have done it … on the assurance that nothing would happen. And because we couldn’t get it from the U.S. government, I had to cancel.”
When we last spoke in August, Greenwald was cognizant of the risks he’d face if he visited the United States, but he was also pointedly defiant. “I take more seriously the Constitution’s guarantee of a free press in the First Amendment,” he said at the time. “So I have every intention of entering the U.S. as soon as my schedule permits and there’s a reason to do so.”
Today he remains defiant — “I’m going to go back to the U.S. for many reasons, but just the fucking principle is enough … On principle I’m going to force the issue” — but recent comments by Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; James Clapper, the director of national intelligence; and others have intensified his doubts.
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