- Title: USA: George Polk Awards honor Snowden story journalists
- Date: 11th April 2014
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REPORTER ASKING: "How was your return back home, did you experience any difficulty at the airport?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLENN GREENWALD, JOURNALIST AND WINNER OF THE GEORGE POLK AWARD FOR NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTING, SAYING: "No, it was very smooth, which was what we expected, which is why we came back, because we didn't think that the U.S. government would do something counterproductive and they didn't, so we're happy about that." WIDE OF STAGE OVERHEAD OF GUESTS SITTING AT TABLES ASSOCIATED PRESS CORRESPONDENT KIMBERLY DOZIER ANNOUNCING WINNERS GLENN GREENWALD, LAURA POITRAS, EWEN MACASKILL AND BARTON GELLMAN WINNERS APPROACHING STAGE EWEN MACASKILL SPEAKING AT PODIUM BARTON GELLMAN SPEAKING AT PODIUM LAURA POITRAS SPEAKING AT PODIUM GLENN GREENWALD SPEAKING AT PODIUM TO WIDE OF STAGE GLENN GREENWALD, LAURA POITRAS AND EWEN MACASKILL SITTING DOWN AT PRESS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLENN GREENWALD, JOURNALIST AND WINNER OF THE GEORGE POLK AWARD FOR NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTING, SAYING: "It's easy, I guess, to say it doesn't seem likely that it will happen, but when those threats are being directed at you, you take them seriously, and so we did, but then obviously assessed the risk was low enough, mostly because we didn't think they would be so counterproductive or self destructive to do it, and were willing therefore to get on a plane and come back." NEWS CREW CAMERAS WIDE OF GLENN GREENWALD, LAURA POITRAS AND EWEN MACASKILL SITTING AT TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLENN GREENWALD, JOURNALIST AND WINNER OF THE GEORGE POLK AWARD FOR NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTING, SAYING: "The most significant revelation is the ambition of the United States government and its four English speaking allies to literally eliminate privacy worldwide, which is not hyperbole. The goal of the United States government, is to collect and store every single form of electronic communication that human beings have with one another and give themselves the capacity to monitor and analyze those communications." WIDE OF PRESS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLENN GREENWALD, JOURNALIST AND WINNER OF THE GEORGE POLK AWARD FOR NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTING, SAYING: "President Obama likes to parade around as some sort of King Solomon figure in between the excesses of the NSA and those who are raising concerns about it and trying to balance it and come up with some reasonable centrist approach. I mean that's generally his political brand. The reality is, is that he's presided over this out of control system for five years and has never expressed a single inclination to rein it in in any way. So the fact that he's continuing it for as long as he can, I think is the opposite of surprising, he is an advocate of this system over which he presided for so many years. He is one of the obstacles to reform, not a vehicle for it." GLENN GREENWALD, LAURA POITRAS AND EWEN MACASKILL GETTING UP FROM CHAIRS GLENN GREENWALD LEAVING PRESS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 26th April 2014 13:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA1B0BW2AVUQCGKIF3AF9BRNO0A
- Story Text: Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the U.S. journalists who reported on spy agency analyst Edward Snowden's leaks exposing mass government surveillance, returned to the United States on Friday (April 11) for the first time since revealing the programs in 2013.
Greenwald and Poitras flew into New York from Germany to receive a George Polk journalism award for their reports on how the U.S. government has secretly gathered information on millions of Americans, among other revelations.
Their reporting on the leaks, which began last June, has sparked international debate over the limits of government surveillance and prompted President Barack Obama to introduce curbs to the spying powers of the National Security Agency earlier this year.
Last August, British authorities detained David Miranda, Greenwald's partner and a Brazilian citizen who lives with Greenwald in Rio, and questioned him for nine hours under anti-terrorism legislation when he landed at London's Heathrow Airport carrying encrypted Snowden documents.
Advocates for a free press have decried Miranda's detention and the British government's efforts to prevent the Guardian newspaper, which published many of Greenwald's articles, from running further stories about the Snowden documents.
Greenwald said he believed the U.S. government wouldn't "be so counterproductive or self destructive" to detain him and Poitras in a similar way.
Poitras, an American citizen who lives in Berlin, has said U.S. authorities have detained and questioned her dozens of times when re-entering the United States and seized and copied her cellphone, laptop and notebooks.
She has said the increased scrutiny began after the 2006 release of her film "My Country, My Country," an Academy Award-nominated documentary about the effect of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 on Iraqi civilians and American soldiers.
Greenwald and Poitras received their award jointly with the Washington Post's Barton Gellman, who also received documents from Snowden, and the Guardian's Ewen MacAskill, both of whom have been in the United States while reporting on the leaks.
After the ceremony, Greenwald said he had been surprised by the scope of spying uncovered by Snowden at the National Security Agency.
"The most significant revelation is the ambition of the United States government and its four English-speaking allies to literally eliminate privacy worldwide," he said.
Speaking of President Obama, Greenwald said, "He is one of the obstacles to reform, not a vehicle for it."
Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum last year after the U.S. Justice Department charged him with violating the Espionage Act. Attorney General Eric Holder has said he does not plan to prosecute Greenwald for receiving and reporting on the leaks.
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