The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald on Friday blasted President Barack Obama for filing espionage charges against National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, saying it reflects the administration’s “vindictive mentality.”
Greenwald, who broke the stories on the NSA’s surveillance programs based on information provided by Snowden, told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that while the response was par for the course for an Obama administration that has aggressively pursued leakers, he rejected the notion that the 29-year-old former government contractor engaged in espionage.
“I think it’s very surprising to accuse somebody of espionage who hasn’t worked for a foreign government, who didn’t covertly pass information to an adversary-enemy of the United States, who didn’t sell any top secret information, who simply went to newspapers, asked newspapers to very carefully vet the information to make sure that the only thing being published are things that inform his fellow citizens but doesn’t harm national security,” Greenwald said in a phone interview. “That is not espionage in any real sense of the word.”
Greenwald argued that the Obama administration is notorious for “overcharging,” and that the charges filed against Snowden reveal an “extreme zealousness” and “vindictive mentality.”