06/24/2013 03:56 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Glenn Greenwald: Reporters Who Imply I Am A Criminal Are Doing "the Dirty Work of the U.S. Gov't"

Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald responds to suggestions from fellow journalists that he should be charged with a crime after publishing stories based on leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In an extended interview on Democracy Now!, Greenwald says the reaction from reporters, including Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times and David Gregory of "Meet the Press," is further proof the "beltway media" are "servants of the government, mouthpieces for it."

"I don't know of anybody who has a lower opinion of the beltway media generally, of David Gregory specifically, for that matter, Andrew Ross Sorkin, specifically, than I do, and yet it actually is even surprising to me to watch them openly do the dirty work of the U.S. government in essentially suggesting publicly that journalists who report on what the government is doing ought to be turned into criminals," Greenwald says.

On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, David Gregory asked Greenwald: "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"

Greenwald responded: "I think it's pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themself a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence, the idea that I've aided and abetted him in any way. The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the emails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory that you just embraced: being a co-conspirator with felony--in felonies for working with sources. If you want to embrace that theory, it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their resources, who receives classified information, is a criminal."

Greenwald says he stands behind his reporting: "The idea that he has harmed national security is truly laughable. If you go and look at what it is that we published, the only things that we published were reports that the U.S. government is spying, not on the terrorists or the Chinese government, but on American citizens indiscriminately--hundreds of millions, tens of millions, even hundreds of millions at a time. The terrorists have long known that the U.S. government is trying to listen in on their telephone calls and emails. We didn't tell them anything they didn't know. The only thing that wasn't known was that the bulk of the spying apparatus is directed not at the terrorists, but at the American citizenry and at innocent people around the world. That's the only thing that has been damaged, not the national security of the United States, but the reputation and credibility of American political officials like Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein and all the executive branch officials who have lied about this program to Congress and who have implemented it in secret."

Click to watch the full 25-minute interview with Glenn Greenwald, as well as all of our reports on Snowden.