The AtlanticThe Atlantic

The Snowden revelations reconsidered

By Ewen MacAskill

07 Jun 2023 · 11 min read

informed Summary

  1. The Snowden revelations led to important reforms in the United States and United Kingdom, enhancing privacy and increasing public awareness of surveillance.

Ten years ago, an unorthodox reporting team flew from New York to Hong Kong to meet someone claiming to be a spy who was ready to hand over a trove of top-secret documents. The hastily assembled group of journalists comprised the U.S. documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras; the blogger Glenn Greenwald, then a columnist at The Guardian; and myself, a Guardian reporter based in New York.

I did not know the identity of the person we were to meet. He or she had sent a “welcome pack,” a sample of classified documents that appeared genuine—but I was still uncertain, wondering whether the potential story might be an elaborate fraud or the work of a disgruntled crank. The source turned out to be no hoaxer but a contractor with the National Security Agency: Edward Snowden.

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