Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden has more sensitive information on the National Security Agency's inner workings that could hurt the US government, but refuses to publish the details, the journalist who wrote about the leaks first told the Associated Press.
Glenn Greenwald — the Guardian columnist who first reported on the NSA's surveillance programs that have since shaken US foreign relations and ignited debate about the ethics of government surveillance — said the secret data would allow someone to replicate NSA operations.
"In order to take documents with him that proved that what he was saying was true he had to take ones that included very sensitive, detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do," Greenwald said, adding that he had spoken to Snowden four hours prior to the interview with the AP in Rio de Janeiro.
The "literally thousands of documents" taken by Snowden — now encrypted for safekeeping — form an "instruction manual for how the NSA is built," Greenwald said. And while he does not believe disclosure would hurt Americans or their security, Snowden has been insistent on the matter.
Greenwald also voiced his concern that Snowden's personal story, including his travels from Hong Kong to a Moscow airport and his asylum requests to several countries, would overshadow or somehow lessen the impact of the NSA leaks.
Greenwald has been very critical of how the US media has covered the NSA leaks. For example, on Monday, Greenwald wrote in an article:
"The Washington Post this morning has a long profile of Gen. Keith Alexander, director the NSA, and it highlights the crux — the heart and soul — of the NSA stories, the reason Edward Snowden sacrificed his liberty to come forward, and the obvious focal point for any responsible or half-way serious journalists covering this story. It helpfully includes that crux right in the headline, in a single phrase: 'collect it all.'"
The journalist then tweeted:
Greenwald said Snowden still believes in what he is doing and has accepted the risk that comes with leaking classified details on secret US government programs.
"I haven't sensed an iota of remorse or regret or anxiety over the situation that he's in. He's of course tense and focused on his security and his short-term well-being to the best extent that he can, but he's very resigned to the fact that things might go terribly wrong and he's at peace with that."
Snowden, meanwhile, is still believed to be in a Moscow airport.