October 01, 2013, 5:10 PM — The flood of stories on government spying will not be slowing soon -- in fact the majority of the most important documents detailing how the U.S. National Security Agency collects personal data have not been published yet, journalists from U.K. newspaper The Guardian said on Tuesday.
The British newspaper responsible for breaking many of the stories surrounding the government surveillance program known as Prism said that there are thousands of relevant documents that it has obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Of those documents, the majority of ones that should, and will, be published still remain, said Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for the paper who has been covering many of the leaks.
"There are definitely huge new stories to come," he said, adding that "there are still many specific revelations that I think will surprise most people, coming imminently."
Greenwald's comments, and those of the Guardian's U.S. editor in chief Janine Gibson, were made during an online Q&A on Reddit's site.
The paper did not say what types of disclosures would be coming, though Gibson said that the paper's motive was to report stories in the public interest. "There is a debate that needs to be had about the size and scale of government surveillance," she said.
The Guardian and The New York Times have been at the forefront of breaking many of the recent stories surrounding the NSA's spying programs, based on documents obtained by Snowden. In August the papers announced they would work as partners to give the U.S. paper access to documents leaked by Snowden.
Although the Guardian did not scoop itself during the Q&A, Greenwald and Gibson's responses to people's questions provided many more details about how the paper goes about reporting the leaks.
The journalists were asked to explain why the leaks are reported piecemeal rather than all at once. The reasons, they said, are many. For starters, it would go against the agreement they made with Snowden. "If he wanted them all dumped, he could have done it himself," Greenwald said.
But also, it would be impossible for the public to process such a large amount of information, and irresponsible for the paper to go to press without first understanding the implications of publishing the documents, Greenwald said.
"The debate that we should be having would get overwhelmed by accusations that we were being irresponsible and helping the terrorists," he said.
To show how careful they are, Greenwald and Gibson revealed a nuanced process for seeking the advice and response of the government in the U.S. and in the U.K. before publishing a story on the disclosures.