Glenn Greenwald

NSA leak journalist
Glenn Greenwald


He’s a man of many talents, from civil rights litigator to best-selling author. But Glenn Greenwald is perhaps best known as the journalist who brought to the public’s attention.
Glenn Greenwald Overview ‧ read
Glenn Greenwald: Why privacy matters
It was Glenn Greenwald who Snowden chose to share classified NSA global surveillance documents with. And it was Greenwald’s report in The Guardian newspaper that broke the news to the world in June 2013 .

A respected writer and lawyer, Greenwald has written many works on privacy and US politics. He also appeared in the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour. In February 2014 he helped launch The Intercept, as one of the news site’s founding editors.

Greenwald’s early entry into politics

Glenn Greenwald was born in New York City in 1967, but soon moved with his parents to Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. Civic-minded from an early age , he ran for city council when he was only seventeen . Though voters obviously didn’t see his potential, as he wasn’t elected.

After high school, Greenwald studied philosophy at George Washington University, before earning his law degree at New York University School of Law, in 1994.

A trailblazing law career

After graduating from law school, Greenwald was hired by the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. He worked there from 1994 to 1996, but Greenwald was already showing a burning desire to do things his own way . In 1996 he founded his own litigation firm , Greenwald Christoph PC, just two years into his legal career.

Greenwald later told Rolling Stone : “To me, it's a heroic attribute to be so committed to a principle that you apply it not when it's easy.” Greenwald Christoph PC operated for ten years, before closing in 2005.

Journalism at and The Guardian

Around the time Greenwald Christoph PC was winding down, Glenn Greenwald began to make a name for himself as a writer on political issues. He started a blog, Unclaimed Territory , which won 2005 Best New Blog from the Koufax Awards for political blogs.

Greenwald’s writing was so well received, he landed a job at . His columns were highly critical of how the CIA and other US intelligence agencies were attacking individual privacy and other civil liberties. This made him an obvious choice for Snowden to share the NSA files with.

In 2012, Greenwald joined the US arm of British newspaper The Guardian , where he would break the story of the NSA’s global surveillance programs.

Greenwald exposes NSA surveillance

While at The Guardian, Greenwald was anonymously contacted by , with regards sensitive to documents he wished to share. The documents turned out to be an enormous cache of around 1.7 million files , which Snowden had secretly copied from the National Security Agency. The files detailed the extent of the NSA’s global surveillance of individuals in the US and overseas.

“Communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing,” wrote Greenwald in his first report on the topic.

Kicking off the great privacy debate

Greenwald’s NSA revelations sparked a huge debate about privacy around the world. Individuals, including high-profile figures such as German chancellor Angela Merkel, became aware that their online activity was being recorded without their knowledge.

The reports polarized opinion on whether Snowden and Greenwald were heroes or traitors. While a US federal judge found the NSA’s activities unconstitutional, one Republican congressman thought Greenwald should be arrested for his reporting. Greenwald won the 2013 Polk Award for his NSA journalism, along with several other awards.

No place to hide: Greenwald’s books and film

Greenwald has authored several books on politics, including the New York Times bestseller No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State .

He also featured in Citizenfour, ’s Oscar-winning documentary about Edward Snowden and the NSA revelations.

Founding editor of The Intercept

In October 2013, Greenwald joined First Look Media, a new independent news company owned by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

In 2014, First Look Media launched The Intercept, a “fearless, adversarial” news site of which Greenwald was a founding editor. The Intercept has continued to report on the NSA spying revelations and other attacks on our .

Ushering a new era of whistleblower journalism

From his first attempt at politics as a teenager to exposing the world’s mass surveillance programs, Glenn Greenwald keeps fighting to defend individual freedoms.

If not for his fearless journalism, Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations might not have made the global impact they did, and we might still not know how much governments are spying on us.

With The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald continues to fight for our online privacy and other rights. Long may he continue to do so.

Feature image: David dos Dantos / Mynewsdesk