The man who has the US on the run
REVELATIONS about extensive spying by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) have now edged closer to Singapore, amid reports that Australian embassies in Asia were part of a global espionage network led by the US.
Inflicting this embarrassment on the US is none other than former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, a man of iron resolve with a score to settle. He is sitting on the documents left behind by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, orchestrating the campaign against the US.
In August, Mr Greenwald's partner, Mr David Miranda, was detained at a London airport and questioned for nine hours.
Mr Greenwald's resolve may have been hardened by continued threats from the US and Britain.
"I intend to publish all the documents I have. The more threats I get from the US and UK, the harder I will work to publish this information," he had told Radio France Internationale last month.
Mr Greenwald, who now lives in Brazil with Mr Miranda, said he and film-maker Laura Poitras are in charge of the documents and that they decide how and when they are disseminated. Mr Snowden left these documents with them.
"We each have a complete set, and Snowden is not the one making the decisions," the BBC reported him as saying.
Nor is he short of resources. After leaving his newspaper job, he has been hired by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to head a US$250-million (S$310-million) news site.
Yesterday, China and South-east Asian nations expressed their displeasure and asked for explanations from the US, even as the storm over allegations that the US spied on millions of citizens in Europe and as many as 35 foreign leaders has yet to blow over.
Australia's Fairfax media reported yesterday that the Australian embassies involved are in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Dili in East Timor; and high commissions in Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
The Fairfax report, based on a Der Spiegel document and an interview with an anonymous former intelligence officer, said those embassies are being used to intercept phone calls and Internet data across Asia.
Singapore and Japan are not included, earlier reports said.
Mr Greenwald told the BBC on Wednesday that he will continue to publish documents about the NSA, in conjunction with other media organisations.
The BBC report said that there are apparently tens of thousands of documents, many of which have not yet been published. They include details about NSA activities, US military intelligence and methods used to eavesdrop on embassies and missions.
It seems Mr Greenwald will continue to stay in the limelight, with more exposes to come after the new media platform that he is working on with Mr Omidyar takes off.
Meanwhile, Mr Snowden has found a technical-support job at a Russian website, his lawyer, Mr Anatoly Kucherena, said yesterday.