At the end of October, as thousands of activists gathered in Washington, D.C., for the largest U.S. rally against domestic spying, the head of the National Security Agency sent a message to journalists reporting on surveillance and Edward Snowden’s revelations.
“I think it’s wrong that newspaper reporters have all these documents … and are selling them and giving them out,” NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander told a Department of Defense blog. “We ought to come up with a way of stopping it.”
This statement mirrored comments from U.K. authorities who told Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger, “You’ve had your debate. There’s no need to write any more.”
That message came just weeks before agents from the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ came to theGuardian office and forced staff to destroy computers and hard drives that contained documents Snowden leaked.
Snowden’s leaks have exposed a largely secret and unaccountable surveillance state, ignited a new era of watchdog reporting on national security issues, and sparked protests in the streets.
Revelations about these surveillance programs have also highlighted an array of new threats and challenges to press freedom and basic newsgathering around the globe. We now know that all our communications are being collected, and increasingly are being used against journalists and their sources. Continue reading