Behind the Story: Glenn Greenwald, Enemy of the State

10.24.2013

By Out.com Editors

Writer Natasha Vargas-Cooper explains her exclusive interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald—and how she tracked down Edward Snowden to get the story

Natasha Vargas-Cooper interviewed Glenn Greenwald, the journalist whose exclusive reporting on Edwards Snowden’s leaked files made him a household name, for The Advocate's year-end issue. In the story, "Enemy of the State," which is now available at Advocate.com Vargas-Cooper reveals some more details from her time with him and his partner David Miranda—who also made news by being detained in London’s Heathrow airport this past August. 

READ: 10 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM GLENN GREENWALD

Out: One can imagine going to beautiful Rio, falling in love and never leaving. But what's the climate like for journalists there? Would it affect Greenwald in any way since he's not writing for Brazilian media?

Natasha Vargas-Cooper: This a great question that my cursory knowledge about Brazilian media would not satisfy. What I do know is that Glenn has worked with a media company called Globo, which has published documents about U.S. spying on Brazilian company, Petrobras, for what seems to be purely economic reasons. It was a news producer at Globo who helped Glenn get in touch with the highest levels of Brazilian government when David Miranda was detained at Heathrow. Would Lawrence O'Donnell [from MSNBC] do the same?

In the story, Greenwald says privacy is the place where creativity flourishes, and privacy was central to the Snowden leaks. Yet he's very forthcoming about some unflattering details about his parents and life growing up. Was that not something he considered private? Was he reluctant to talk about his private life?

Glenn is a highly transparent person (check his Twitter feed). He's also personable and chatty and displays, with no real reluctance, details about his life — in the context, of course, of dishing over drinks with a colleague and not, you know, under threat of arrest or detention in the bogus interest of "national security."

It's remarkable you were able to interview Edward Snowden for this piece. Were there cloak and dagger measures done to reach him? 

No cloaks or daggers—but definitely some fake mustaches and overcoats.

"Moscow kinda sucks," according to Greenwald. What do you know from Greenwald about Snowden's living conditions in Russia?

Well he has access to Wi-Fi, so it can't be that bad! I think it has to do with being separated from his and family and girlfriend.

Do you know anything about Greenwald's new venture? 

The 105th richest person in the world is arming him with a legion of crack lawyers and the freedom to publish as he pleases. It's any decent journalist's wet dream.

Read the full story, "Enemy of the State," here.

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