Reporter Glenn Greenwald defended both his reporting on former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and his opinion of Snowden’s actions in a testy interview with MSNBC host Kristen Welker on Thursday.
“Every journalist has an agenda,” Greenwald told Welker. “We’re on MSNBC now, where close to 24 hours a day the agenda of President [Barack] Obama and the Democratic Party are promoted, defended, glorified, the agenda of the Republican Party is undermined. That doesn’t mean the people who appear on MSNBC aren’t journalists. They are.”
“I think the point is not so much about MSNBC and what happens here,” Welker responded. “More that sometimes when you talk about Edward Snowden you do defend him, and some people wonder if that crosses a line.”
“Sure, I do defend him,” Greenwald answered. “Just like people on MSNBC defend President Obama and his officials and Democratic Party leaders 24 hours a day.”
“Not everyone on MSNBC does that 24 hours a day,” Welker shot back.
“Not everybody, but a lot of people on MSNBC do,” Greenwald clarified. “Sure, I don’t make any bones about the fact that I consider what Edward Snowden did to be quite heroic, just like I consider what Chelsey Manning did to be heroic, and Daniel Ellsberg, who’s one of my political heroes. I, as a journalist, am very grateful when people sacrifice their own interests to come forward and bring transparency to the United States government.”
Greenwald, who reported on the agency’s surveillance activities for the British newspaper The Guardian, also vowed to continue publishing stories based on the information Snowden provided to him, regardless of the content of Obama’s promised statement on the issue in January 2014.
“There are a lot more NSA stories that are extremely significant, about what the NSA has been doing to the American people and to the privacy rights of people around the world that have not yet been reported that absolutely will be reported,” Greenwald told Welker. “There’s nothing President Obama or the United States government can do to force us to conceal newsworthy stories. How could we call ourselves journalists if we sat on newsworthy stories?”
Watch the interview, as aired on MSNBC on Thursday, below.