Greenwald on ‘coming’ leak: NSA can obtain one billion cell phone calls a day, store them and listen

The NSA has a “brand new” technology that enables one billion cell phone calls to be redirected into its data hoards, according to the Guardian’s Glen Greenwald, who told a Chicago conference that a new leak of Snowden’s documents was ‘coming soon.’

Calling it part of a “globalized system to destroy all
and the enduring creation of a climate of fear,
Greenwald outlined the capabilities of the NSA to store every
single call while having “the capability to listen to them at
any time,”
while speaking via Skype to the Socialism
Conference in Chicago, on Friday.

Greenwald was the first journalist to leak Snowden’s documents,
having travelled to Hong Kong to review them prior to exposure.

“What we’re really talking about here is a globalized system
that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking
place without its being stored and monitored by the National
Security Agency,”
he said.

While he underlined that the NSA are not necessarily listening in
on the full billion calls, he pointed out their capability to do
so and the lack of accountability with “virtually no
which the NSA were being held to.  

The Guardian journalist made hints that he was sitting on further
details of the NSA’s billion-call backlog, which he’d keep under
wraps until the documents full publication, which he said was
“coming soon.”

He additionally suggested future exposures to come from Snowden,
while lauding the sheer risk the whistleblower took in revealing
the NSA’s covert surveillance program.

People cross a street in front of a monitor showing file footage of Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), with a news tag (L) saying he has left Hong Kong, outside a shopping mall in Hong Kong (Reuters / Bobby Yip)

“More a recluse than a fame whore”

Greenwald spoke highly of Snowden throughout, saying that the he
apparently lacked remorse, regret and fear, while not seeking
notoriety of any form.

“He’s a person who has zero privilege, zero power, zero
position and zero prestige, and yet by himself he has literally
changed the world,”
Greenwald said of Snowden, using him as
an example of the powers individuals still have.

“Courage is contagious,” he said, commenting on the
demonization of whistleblowers, and saying it was necessary as
Snowden could potentially set an example — something that Snowden
himself aimed to do, as he had been looking for a leader to fix
the problems inherent in the US system, but found nobody.

“There is more to life than material comfort or career
stability…he thought about himself by the actions he took in
pursuit of those beliefs,”
said Greenwald.  

He outlined his meeting with the NSA whistleblower, who he said
contacted him anonymously via email suggesting Greenwald might be
‘interested’ in looking over the documents — a suggestion labeled
by Greenwald to be “the world’s largest understatement of the

After Snowden sent Greenwald an “appetizer,” of the
documents he had on hand, Greenwald recalled being dizzy with
“ecstasy and elation.”

Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ's outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters / Kieran Doherty)

 “Climate of Fear”

It was Snowden’s exposure of the documents while operating in a
highly surveilled environment that Greenwald was particularly
complimentary about, citing an intensifying “climate of
being pushed on people who may be hazardous to the

“One of the things that has been most disturbing over the past
three to four years has been this climate of fear that has
emerged in exactly the circles that are supposed to challenge the
government…the real investigative journalists who are at these
outlets who do real reporting are petrified of the US government
now. Their sources are beyond petrified,”
he commented.

He called Friday’s scandal over the US army’s blocking of the
Guardian website a prize of “a significant level above” a
Pulitzer of a Peabody, pointing out the seeming contradiction
that soldiers fighting for the country were considered mature and
responsible enough to put their lives on the line, but clearly
weren’t ‘mature’ enough to be exposed to the same information
that the rest of the world was accessing.

“If you talk to anybody in journalism or in the government,
they are petrified of even moving. It has been impossible to get
anyone inside the government to call us back,”
Greenwald, throwing some thought on the possible reasoning behind
people contacting the press regarding the actions of government.

“If you look at who really hates Bradley Manning or who has
expressed the most contempt about Wikileaks or who has led the
chorus in demonizing Edward Snowden, it is those very people in
the media who pretend to want transparency because transparency
against political power is exactly what they don’t want,”

A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) in Bad Aibling south of Munich (Reuters / Michaela Rehle)

Greenwald finished by pointing out the increasing reluctance for
people in government to even communicate with journalists, while
highlighting the usage of the mass surveillance program to keep
an eye on both dissident groups and Muslim communities.

“There’s a climate of fear in exactly those factions that are
most intended to put a check on those in power and that has been
by design,”
Greenwald stated, saying that Snowden was a prime
example that people could stand up to the government, and that
there was no need to be afraid of publishing “whatever it is
we think should be published in the public good.”

Reuters / Pawel Kopczynsky

Republished with permission from:: RT