July 29, 2013
Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian columnist who has broken a series of stories about the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers, said Sunday that even low-level NSA analysts have the ability to search through private communications.
Greenwald’s comments defended bombshell revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden at the time, which have since come under scrutiny by intelligence analysts. Greenwald is set to testify before Congress on Wednesday, along with other NSA surveillance critics and analysts.
Greenwald dared NSA officials to dispute the claims when testifying this week. Though he said that there are “legal constraints” like the FISA court’s approval on NSA surveillance, this type of surveillance goes through little supervision.
“There are legal constraints for how you can spy on Americans. You can’t target them without going to the FISA court. But these systems allow analysts to listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents,” Greenwald said on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos.
“It’s an incredibly powerful and invasive tool, exactly of the type that Mr. Snowden described. NSA officials are going to be testifying before the Senate on Wednesday, and I defy them to deny that these programs work exactly as I just said.”