Guardian's Glenn Greenwald: Edward Snowden Has An Ace Up His Sleeve
Glenn Greenwald, columnist for the Guardian and close associate of whistleblower and intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, informed the Wall Street Journal that "The majority of revelations that are significant have yet to be made" concerning the NSA surveillance scandal. When asked by Politico about the nature of the new information, Greenwald said he would not be able to provide further details until "it was ready." This new information, based upon undisclosed documents in Snowden's possession, is directly tied to Snowden's ongoing search for political asylum abroad. The fact that Greenwald is unwilling to provide further comments seems to indicate that the new revelations serve as a sort of "bargaining chip" to dissuade U.S. attempts to detain Snowden. Greenwald told Greg Sargent from the Washington Post that "Anybody who wants to accuse me or anyone at the Guardian of aiding and abetting Snowden has the obligation to point to any specific evidence to support that accusation. Otherwise they're just spouting reckless innuendo." Despite Greenwald's attempts to downplay his collaboration and affinity with Snowden, it appears that he is working towards procuring his safety.
Very little is known about the nature of these revelations, except that Greenwald claims that they "fit in logically with the chronology that's already publicly known about Snowden". His characterization of this new information as being more significant than information already available to the public is powerful; considering the intense scrutiny past revelations have wrought upon the NSA and the Obama administration, this new information must be ground-breaking. If Greenwald is being truthful, and Snowden has documents containing revelations trumping leaks of PRISM and the NSA's secret metadata collection practices, the US government risks inflicting further damage through potentially embarrassing exposure. Safe to say, Greenwald's latest foreshadowing serves as leverage on Snowden's part.
The intrigue is amplified by reports that Snowden did not fly to Havana, Cuba as planned on Monday, and that WikiLeaks is in the process of helping him apply for political asylum in Ecuador. According to Michael Ratner — attorney for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks — the U.S. is "trying to bully other countries, not only by pulling his passport away so that he can't travel, but by saying, 'Send him back to us. Don't take him in. There'll be consequences.'" Ironically, the U.S. inadvertently helped Snowden by turning him into a symbol for justice and international resistance against the Obama administration. Given Greenwald's recent statements, it seems that Snowden is aware of his power. According to a recent CNN poll, Obama's approval rating has dropped eight points since last month, with more than half of the country reportedly dissatisfied with his presidency; although this scandal and its aftermath doesn't fully account for this significant loss of support, it certainly made an impact on how the public views the Obama administration.
Will the new information from Snowden's undisclosed documents be leaked, regardless of how the U.S. government chooses to proceed? Do these documents truly exist or are they empty threats? Only time will tell.