Journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras successfully returned to the United States on Friday for the first time since they found themselves at the center of the storm over Edward Snowden's leaked NSA documents.
The two writers, who were the first to report on the contents of Snowden's revelations, arrived from Germany. The progress of their flight was closely tracked by media-watchers and WikiLeaks.
Greenwald and Poitras came to the US to collect their Polk Awards, which they won for their reporting. The awards ceremony is being held in New York City.
The ACLU's Jameel Jaffer confirmed the news:
— Jameel Jaffer (@JameelJaffer) April 11, 2014
But the return also carried with it a fair amount of symbolic resonance. Poitras has been repeatedly detained at the American border in connection with her journalistic work, and Greenwald has been repeatedly compared to a criminal accomplice since he began working with Snowden last summer. His partner, David Miranda, was detained at London's Heathrow airport last year.
Greenwald had vowed to return to his native country to, as he put it, "test the First Amendment." In interviews, he has said that he thinks there was a not-insignificant chance that he could have been arrested upon re-entering the United States.
But any detention on Friday would, at the very least, have caused a tremendous backlash. Unsurprisingly, there were no apparent incidents at the border this time, and Greenwald was pictured with Miranda at JFK:
— Jacob Appelbaum (@ioerror) April 11, 2014
— julieturkewitz (@fotojulie) April 11, 2014
He and Poitras then made it to the Polk Awards:
— Peter Maass (@maassp) April 11, 2014
Laura Poitras here to collect her Polk award. pic.twitter.com/1riCBZVsKO
— Janine Gibson (@janinegibson) April 11, 2014
As she collected her award, Poitras said it was "really for Edward Snowden."
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