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Greenwald delays publication of latest NSA story

Journalist Glenn Greenwald speaks at an event in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC)
Journalist Glenn Greenwald speaks at an event in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC)

Journalist Glenn Greenwald has suspended the publication of a major story believed to be focused on clandestine National Security Agency activities.

The story, which was scheduled to be published Tuesday at midnight Eastern Time, was canned following “last-minute claims” made by the U.S. government, according to Greenwald.

It is not clear which government agency expressed concern to Greenwald or what the claims were, though the government has a history of encouraging journalists and news organizations to delay or drop stories by citing “national security” concerns.

Greenwald said the claims would be investigated by his news agency the Intercept before the piece is published.

Little is known about the story Greenwald and colleague Murtaza Hussein were planning to publish for the Intercept, though it is speculated the story will focus on a secret list of Americans that the NSA obtained authorization to surveil.

Greenwald has proactively disclosed secret NSA surveillance programs since last year when the newspaper that previously employed him, the Guardian, ran a series of stories outing bulk telephone and internet data collection programs based on classified documents provided by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

In his book No Place to Hide, Greenwald opened up about his frustrations with Guardian editors over the seemingly stagnant pace at which his initial stories focused on NSA spy programs were published. In the book, he discussed taking his stories to other news outlets, including Salon and the Nation.

“I felt like I was running into exactly the sort of institutional barriers to doing aggressive reporting that I had joined the Guardian to avoid: Legal worries, consultation with government officials, institutional hierarchies, risk aversion (and) delay,” Greenwald wrote.

Greenwald left the Guardian in October to help former eBay executive Pierre Omidyar launch the Intercept, where he has continued to publish stories based on the Snowden documents. It’s unclear when he will publish the story that was intended to run on Tuesday.

Daily Dot: Greenwald delays publication of NSA scoop
Washington Times: Greenwald scoop to focus on surveilled Americans

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).