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Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras return to US, blame government for climate of fear

By Adi Robertson

The presentation of Polk Award for national security reporting, which Poitras and Greenwald accepted alongside The Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill and The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman, marked the pair’s first visit to the United States since the initial leaks from Edward Snowden were published nearly a year ago. Immediately after the leaks, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) called for Greenwald’s arrest and prosecution, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper obliquely referred to journalists who helped Snowden as “accomplices” during a Senate hearing in January. But the mood has calmed, and Greenwald now views the practical risk of returning as low, he told reporters in a press conference after the awards luncheon. Despite this, he says officials “deliberately created an environment where they wanted us to think there was a risk,” refusing to tell Greenwald’s lawyers whether he might be indicted…

As the Obama administration plans to phase out its phone records database, Greenwald is skeptical. “I would like to see the debate be about not whether the US should be collecting metadata under a specific provision of the Patriot Act, Section 215, but the broader question of whether we want to empower the government to monitor and surveil people who are suspected of absolutely no wrongdoing,” he says. And he’s unsurprised that Obama opted to renew the program in its current form while waiting for changes. “President Obama likes to parade around as some sort of King Solomon figure in between the excesses of the NSA and those who are raising concerns about it,” he says. “The reality is that he presided over this out of control system for five years … I think he is one of the obstacles to reform, not a vehicle for it.”

Read the Rest @ Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras return to US, blame government for climate of fear | The Verge.

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