2013 June 5

First Snowden-Related Stories Published: Massive NSA Spying Exposed


The first news stories based on National Security Agency (NSA) documents stolen by Edward Snowden and released to the news media were published on this day. Snowden was a former contract employee with the NSA who gave the documents to a few news media people he trusted and then fled the country. The news stories revealed a massive and illegal spying program that was far larger than anyone had suspected. Snowden worked closely with reporter/activist Glenn Greenwald and established working relationships with The Guardian (in the UK), the Washington Post, The New York Times, and other publications. Additional stories continued to appear for more than a year.

The 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was awarded to the Guardian US and the Washington Post on April 14, 2014 for their stories on National Security Agency (NSA) spying based on documents leaked to them by Edward Snowden. On February 16, 2014, reporters also won the prestigious George Polk Award for Excellence in Journalism for their stories based on the Snowden-released documents.

Snowden could claim a major victory on June 2, 2015 when Congress for the first time revised the procedures of the FISA Court in the direction of better protection of civil liberties. The law required FISA to declassify some of its important decisions, which represented a step in the direction of greater transparency for the court. It also permitted, for the first, private individuals to appear before the court to argue in favor of protecting privacy in particular cases. Most observers attribute the new limits on the FISA Court to the revelations of illegal NSA spying by the Snowden-related NSA documents.

For other events related to revelations based on the Snowden documents, see June 5, 2013August 15, 2013October 23, 2013December 16, 2013.

Get the full story: Luke Harding, The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man (2014)

Learn more; documents and analysis of the Snowden/NSA documents at the National Security Archive: http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB436/

Watch the acclaimed film about Snowden: Citizenfour (2014)

Watch an interview with Snowden: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yB3n9fu-rM

Watch an ACLU Town Hall meeting on spying, secrecy, and presidential power: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DMoPfHqB1c&list=PL34E7F09F4DF9AC4A

Search the ACLU database of Snowden-related NSA documents (searchable by date, relevance, or date of release): https://www.aclu.org/nsa-documents-search?page=1

Track the Snowden revelations at a timeline of eventshttp://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/23/edward-snowden-nsa-files-timeline

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