By Bernie Becker - 07/13/13 06:17 PM EDT
Journalist Glenn Greenwald says that Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker, poses more of a threat to the U.S. than anyone in the country’s history.
Greenwald, whose collaborations with Snowden for The Guardian exposed U.S. surveillance programs, says that means that U.S. officials should hope Snowden stays safe. If not, Greenwald says, a slew of harmful information about the U.S. would become public.
“Snowden has enough information to cause more damage to the U.S. government in a minute alone than anyone else has ever had in the history of the United States,” Greenwald told the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion.
Asked if he was afraid that Snowden might be killed, Greenwald said: “If something were to happen, those documents would be made public. This is your insurance policy.”
“The U.S. government should be on your knees every day praying that nothing happens to Snowden, because if something happens, all information will be revealed and that would be their worst nightmare,” Greenwald added.
Still, it’s proven difficult for Snowden to reach any of those destinations, and the NSA leaker said Friday that he would seek at least temporary asylum in Russia.
Russian officials said Saturday that they had yet to receive an asylum application from Snowden. President Vladimir Putin of Russia has said previously that Snowden would need to stop leaking information about the U.S. for such an application to be considered.
Greenwald said the asylum offers from Latin America showed that the U.S. was less intimidating to certain countries around the world.
“Only a few countries, including several in Latin America, China and Russia, have challenged the U.S., have realized that America is no longer in a position of strength as it did before with the rest of the world, and that the rest of the countries do not have to obey their demands as if it were an imperial order,” Greenwald said.
Still, the consistent critic of U.S. intelligence policies also said that Snowden’s position was dicey, and that the leaker needed to stay out of U.S. custody – given how “extremely vindictive” American officials have proven.
The American judicial system, Greenwald said, “cannot be trusted when it comes to people accused of endangering the national security. The judges do everything they can to secure convictions in these cases.”