17 December 2013
Cowards Profit by Snowden's Risk Like Manning's
Now, it's Snowden: the book and, maybe, the film
December 17, 2013
A tale that could rival any spy novel is about to be told by three writers
who are working on potentially rival books on the revelations and travails
of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Glenn Greenwald, a former columnist for Britain's The Guardian, has a book
likely to come out in March. Greenwald received classified spy documents
from Snowden in clandestine meetings in Hong Kong after he fled the United
States last spring.
The book is "about my time with Snowden in Hong Kong and reporting the story,
but mostly about the surveillance state based on the documents I have (that
The Guardian doesn't) and my reasons why the surveillance state is menacing,"
he said in an email.
His publisher is Metropolitan Books, a unit of Henry Holt and Co. Greenwald
has also been discussing a movie deal.
The New York Times reported in October that 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures
Entertainment and cable TV network HBO had all considered an on-screen project.
But Greenwald said that no movie deal had yet been struck.
Potential competitor books are being prepared by Barton Gellman, a blogger
and former Washington Post reporter, and Luke Harding, a journalist for The
Gellman, principal author of The Washington Post's Snowden's stories but
no longer on the paper's staff, said his project pre-dates the emergence
"I had already started work on a book about the surveillance industrial society
when Edward Snowden came my way. He has certainly enriched my reporting,
but I am not racing anyone to do a quick hit on current events. My narrative
will cover a broader landscape and a wider cast of characters," Gellman said
in an email.
Neither Harding, author of The Guardian book (and co-author of an earlier
Guardian book about WikiLeaks and its controversial founder, Julian Assange),
nor a spokeswoman for The Guardian would comment on Harding's book, which
is being published under a joint imprint The Guardian set up with British
publisher Faber and Faber.
A person familiar with the Guardian project, who asked to remain anonymous,
said that at the time Greenwald left the newspaper, the two parties tentatively
agreed that to ensure neither party would have a marketing advantage, the
books would be published simultaneously.
Snowden is believed to have downloaded many thousands of classified NSA and
British government documents, and he sparked a debate around the world about
US electronic surveillance. He was granted temporary asylum in Russia after
being charged in the United States under the Espionage Act.
One author who is staying clear of the Snowden saga is James Bamford, author
of The Puzzle Palace, the first major investigative book on NSA, which was
published in 1982
"I hate crowds when it comes to books ... I'm sitting this one out," said
Bamford, who published two other books about the NSA.