“The ultimate goal of the NSA, along with its junior partner the British agency GCHQ is nothing less than the elimination of individual privacy worldwide,” Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first published about the US agency’s surveillance programme, told a European Union inquiry.
According to Mr Greenwald, the revelations about the agencies’ spying activities, including phone tapping and collecting metadata, prove that the NSA wants to gather as much information about people as possible:
“They [the NSA] don’t need any specific reasons to collect anybody’s communication. Just the fact that human beings are communicating with one another is reason enough for the NSA to decide it should be collected, stored and monitored,” Mr Greenwald told the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties and Home Affairs via a video link (see video below).
Mr Greenwald – who published most of his articles about mass espionage for the Guardian, but has now left the organisation – said European governments had failed to react when they learned about the surveillance of their countries’ citizens and did not take action until the tapping of government officials like German Chancellor Angela Merkel was made public, he said.
Mr Greenwald identified metadata (such as the origin, addressee and duration of a phone call) as “supreme priority” of the NSA: “In most cases the collection of metadata is now more invasive than the collection of content.”
According to him, this information allows security agencies to find out more about a person’s private life than they can by snooping in someone’s emails.
Greenwald accuses British MP of “blatantly lying”
In a Q&A following Mr Greenwald’s presentation Tim Kirkhope, a British Conservative MEP, asked the journalist at what date he got access to documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Julian Smith, a Conservative politician and member of the British Parliament, wrote on Twitter that Mr Greenwald had confirmed that The Guardian gave him documents he did not originally have in his answer:
— Julian Smith MP (@JulianSmithMP) 18. December 2013
With regard to this tweet, Mr Greenwald accused Mr Smith of lying and published a transcript of his answer.
Not that it’s unusual, but this is a case of a British Tory MP outright lying https://t.co/QnokutoBFG
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) 18. December 2013
In fact, both the full video and the transcript published by Mr Greenwald show that the journalist refused to give any details about the exact process at The Guardian.
He also refused to comment on stories he is currently working on, but said that there were still more revelations to come.