Andrea Mitchell   |  January 01, 1910

Greenwald disputes rumors that Snowden sharing intel with Russia

The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald has been reporting on Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's secret surveillance program. He joins Andrea Mitchell to talk about Snowden's new life in Russia.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> lawyers representing edward snowden say that their client is settling into his new life in russia . according to nbc's jim maceda this morning he's living for now with an ex-pat american family in moscow and eager to learn the language and get to work apparently as a human rights activist during his temporary asylum provided by vladimir putin . "the guardian's" glen greenwald has been in touch with snowden since he left the u.s. have you been in touch with him since he was granted asylum?

>> i have. he's doing very well. he's obviously very happy for the obvious reason he won't be subjected to the standard whistle-blower treatment that the united states government gives to people which is to put them in cage for decades render them incommunicado. he's very gratified that he helped provoke the debate by doing what he did.

>> what kind of life is he leading there? is this a temporary home that he's in now? is he looking for more permanent home? what can you tell us about just the lifestyle? is he apparently with an american family .

>> well, he's only been out of the airport for about 30 hours so i don't think he's quite established what his lifestyle yet is going to be. obviously it is a new situation for him but he knew when he took the risk to come forward and shine light on what the nsa was doing, things that no one in the united states almost nobody in the united states or the world knew, that he was going to be radically changing his life, sacrificing the very comfortable and fulfilling life that he had in order to achieve these objectives of transparency. i don't think he knows exactly yet what his future holds but i know he's happy not to be in the custody of the american government and the persecution they subject whistle blowers to.

>> given his vast knowledge beyond what he has technologically but just his knowledge of the way things work in the intelligence community and specifically at the cia, do you think he would be cooperating with russians , be willing to be debriefed by russian officials? what is his posture towards being a resource for the russians ?

>> i've been really astonished that media figures have been willing to be be so irresponsible as to openly speculate that the russian government or the chinese government has obtained information from him even though there's zero evidence to suggest that has happened. he has vehemently denied it. "the new york times" was harshly criticized by their own public editor for speculating in print this was true of that evidence. i think it is important to use common sense here. he is a very smart individual. he knew what the value was of what he had. if he were willing to share -- just use common sense -- to share what the russian government or with the chinese government what it is that he had in order to benefit himself or promote his self-interests he could have gone to either of those governments before he came to us and sold that information and lived the rest of his life a very rich man or he could have passed it to them. he didn't do what he did and sacrificed his life in order to the cooperate with the russian an chinese governments about how to better their surveillance systems. that's now why he did what he did. there's no evidence that he's given anything to them and he insists that he hasn't. everything that i know about him and what his actions have been would make me extremely shocked if he was willing to work with any government to help them better understand how to surveil their citizens.

>> do you think that they could have taken documents or information from him without his knowledge, hong kong in particular?

>> no. remember, he was a very sophisticated cyber operative. i know there have been media reports that he was some sort of low-level nave.

>> i would never suggest that.

>> i'm not saying you were. i'm not at all suggesting --

>> i've been told he is amazingsly sophisticated and knowledgeable and really brilliant at what he did.

>> correct. i share that assessment. and so there's very sophisticated encryption technology that prevents data from being obtained even by the most advanced governments, including the nsa. they have software that guesses billions of passwords a second. this encryption technology takes even the nsa many years to crack. and so the idea that the russians and chinese government can somehow pull out of the ether extremely encrypted data is the stuff of science fiction which no one would take seriously who has knowledge of how encryption works.

>> i want to ask you about exkey score. that's the more kree cest recent of your reports.

>> more to come?

>> yeah, there are so many documents that we have. it has taken us quite a while to read through them all but there is a lot more domestic and international spying that the nsa does that even people in congress don't know about that we're going to continue to report very aggressively.

>> i want to ask you a question about something that's just breaking in the last 24 hours as well because have you been outspoken for the need for gay rights . here snowden is now in russia which is saying to gay olympians that they will be prosecuted under the russian law . how do you feel as good as you obviously feel about what russia has done to grant asylum to mr. snowden , how do you feel about russia 's law against gay rights ?

>> i feel that it's a disgusting law. russia has all sorts of very radical problems in its human rights record, including its practice towards its gay citizens, just like the united states has all kinds of human rights abuses and putting people in prison without charges and the like. when someone seeks asylum they're not seeking to declare the civil liberties nirvana. they're seeking to be protected from political persecution at home. he's not in russia because he thinks it is a pristine place or because it is what he chose. he was passing through there, he got forced to stay there by the united states but russia has very serious problems with its human rights record just as most large countries in the world do. what you asked me about is definitely one of them.

>> glen greenwald , thanks for joining