Greenwald: Snowden doesn’t want to be ‘put in a cage’ like Manning

U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning (C) is escorted as he leaves a military court for the day June 3, 2013 at Fort Meade in Maryland.
U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning (C) is escorted as he leaves a military court for the day June 3, 2013 at Fort Meade in Maryland.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

On NOW with Alex Wagner Wednesday, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald explained why Edward Snowden had chosen to flee the U.S. and seek refuge in countries with questionable human rights records, saying the intelligence analyst didn’t want to “end up in a cage like Bradley Manning.”

Manning, 25–currently on trial for leaking government documents to WikiLeaks–was held for eight months at a Marine corps base in Quantico, VA, in conditions that the United Nations special rapporteur on torture called “seriously punitive.”

“Obviously he isn’t going to Venezuela or Ecuador or Bolivia or Nicaragua or Russia or wherever he ends up because he thinks they’re bastions of civil liberties protections,” Greenwald said. “He’s going there because as Daniel Ellsberg said in a Washington Post Op-Ed, this country is no longer safe for whistle-blowers.”

Snowden’s decision to apply for asylum in those countries was borne of necessity, Greenwald argued, because the intelligence analyst doesn’t  have the luxury of fleeing to Western countries where a fear of the U.S. prevails.

“Of course he has to go somewhere. There are very few places in the world willing to stand up to the United States and demand his rights under the law be protected. His choices are very limited and he’s trying to make sure that he doesn’t end up like Bradley Manning, put in a cage, rendered incommunicado. He wants to participate in the ongoing debate that he helped provoke and that’s what’s guiding his choices.”

Greenwald also cleared up some uncertainty about whether Snowden is planning to leak more documents in the future.

“I think there’s a real misconception over whether he’ll continue to leak,” Greenwald said. “He turned over to us many thousands of documents weeks and weeks ago back in Hong Kong and we’ve been the ones deciding which stories get published and in which order. As far as I know he doesn’t have any intention of disclosing any more documents to us.”

Greenwald, who lives in Brazil and has thousands of documents in his possession, confirmed that he had not received any pressure from the government to turn them over.

“I don’t think that the U.S. government thinks trying to pressure us or me out of continuing to publish these stories will do them any good, and so as far as I know, there hasn’t been any kind of pressure like that.”

As for the “Snowden Effect”–a term coined by NYU media professor Jay Rosen to describe the subsequent revelations caused by Snowden’s leaks–Greenwald said he was pleased with both the recent movement in the United States Senate and a string of recent lawsuits that have sprung up in federal court challenging the constitutionality of FISA programs.

“There a lot of encouraging and gratifying trends,” Greenwald said.