Glenn Greenwald wrote on Tuesday that President Obama's new proposals to overhaul the NSA's bulk collection of phone data are a vindication of Edward Snowden and the journalists who have been reporting on the revelations contained in the documents he provided.
Obama, the New York Times reported, is set to call for an end to the NSA's collection. Under his proposals, phone companies will instead hold the data for 18 months (instead of five years), and the government will only be able to access it with a court order.
Writing on his new website, Greenwald—who has been targeted quite directly for his reporting—said that he would mostly withhold judgment on Obama's proposal until he saw concrete results. But he added that it was a definitive symbol of the effect that Snowden's leaks had had:
As for the substantive reform, the fact that the President is now compelled to pose as an advocate for abolishing this program – the one he and his supporters have spent 10 months hailing – is as potent a vindication of Edward Snowden’s acts and the reporting he enabled. First, a federal court found the program unconstitutional. Then, one of the President’s own panels rejected the NSA’s claim that it was necessary in stopping terrorism, while another explicitly found the program illegal. And now the President himself depicts himself as trying to end it. Whatever test exists for determining whether “unauthorized” disclosures of classified information are justified, Snowden’s revelations pass the test with ease. That President Obama now proclaims the need to end a domestic spying program that would still be a secret in the absence of Snowden’s whistleblowing proves that quite compellingly.