March 6, 1967 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Political commentator, lawyer, columnist, blogger, and author|
|Alma mater||Nova High School
George Washington University
New York University Law School
|Genres||Non-fiction, political and legal commentary|
|Subjects||US politics, law|
|Notable work(s)||How Would a Patriot Act?
A Tragic Legacy
||This article's introduction may be too long for the overall article length. (December 2013)|
Glenn Greenwald (born March 6, 1967) is an American journalist, political commentator, lawyer, columnist, blogger, and author. He was a columnist for Guardian US from August 2012 to October 2013. He was a columnist for Salon.com from 2007-2012, and an occasional contributor to The Guardian. Greenwald worked as a constitutional and civil rights litigator. At Salon he contributed as a columnist and blogger, focusing on political and legal topics. He has also contributed to other newspapers and political news magazines, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, The National Interest, and In These Times.
Three of the four books he authored have been New York Times bestsellers. Greenwald is a frequent speaker on college campuses, including Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, UCLA School of Law, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Maryland. He frequently appears on various radio and television programs.
Greenwald has received awards including the first Izzy Award for independent journalism, in 2009, and the 2010 Online Journalism Award for Best Commentary. In June 2013 Greenwald became widely known after The Guardian published the first of a series of reports detailing United States and British mass surveillance programmes, based on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden.
Greenwald lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the hometown of his partner, David Michael Miranda. Greenwald has said his residence in Brazil is the result of an American law, the Defense of Marriage Act, barring Federal recognition of same-sex marriages. The pertinent section of the law was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, in U.S. v. Windsor. Greenwald and Miranda own 11 dogs, all rescued as strays.
In August 2013 the Metropolitan Police detained Greenwald's partner Miranda at London's Heathrow Airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, while he was traveling home from Berlin, allegedly carrying work in progress relating to classified U.S. government documents to Greenwald in Brazil. Greenwald described his partner's detention as "clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ".
In October 2013, Greenwald announced that he was partnering with eBay founder Pierre Omidyar on a new independent news venture. Omidyar has said that he was committing an initial $250m to the as-yet-unnamed venture. Omidyar told Rosen the decision was fuelled by his “rising concern about press freedoms in the United States and around the world”. Greenwald along with his colleagues Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill were initially working on creating a place online to support independent journalism, when they were approached by Omidyar who was looking to start his own media organization. The new venture will be a for-profit one (rather than a non-profit charity) and it will be funded by Omidyar personally instead of through the Omidyar Network.
Early life and education
Greenwald was born on March 6, 1967, in New York City to Arlene and Daniel Greenwald. Shortly after his birth Greenwald moved with his family to Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. While a senior in high school, at 17, he ran unsuccessfully for the city council. He earned a B.A. from George Washington University in 1990 and a J.D. from New York University Law School in 1994. Greenwald is of Jewish ancestry.
Greenwald practiced law in the Litigation Department at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (1994–1995); in 1996 he co-founded his own litigation firm, called Greenwald Christoph & Holland (later renamed Greenwald Christoph PC), where he litigated cases concerning issues of U.S. constitutional law and civil rights. One of his higher-profile cases was the pro bono representation of white supremacist Matthew F. Hale. Because of complaints about Greenwald secretly taping witnesses in this case, the New York City Bar Association held that "A lawyer may not, as a matter of routine practice, tape record conversations without disclosing that the conversation is being taped....[unless] the lawyer has a reasonable basis for believing that disclosure of the taping would impair pursuit of a generally accepted societal good." 
Later, according to Greenwald, "I decided voluntarily to wind down my practice in 2005 because I could, and because, after ten years, I was bored with litigating full-time and wanted to do other things which I thought were more engaging and could make more of an impact, including political writing."
In 2002 Greenwald was offered the partnership in a consulting company, Master Notions Inc., by a friend, Jason Buchtel. The pornographic website Hairy Jocks, owned by Peter Haas, was a client of Master Notions. Greenwald and Buchtel agreed to help Haas's site in return for 50% of the profits. A legal disagreement with Haas ensued over the profits from his site, and the establishment of a competing website, Hairy Studs, by Buchtel and Greenwald. The case was resolved in 2004.
The Internal Revenue Service and New York City and state have open judgments and liens against Greenwald dating from his law practice. The New York County Clerk's office shows Greenwald has $126,000 in open judgments and liens, although Greenwald claims he believes he paid those. The Internal Revenue Service has an $85,000 lien against him. In 2013 Greenwald said "We're negotiating over payment plans." 
In October 2005, he started his blog Unclaimed Territory focusing on the investigation pertaining to the Plame affair, the CIA leak grand jury investigation, the federal indictment of Scooter Libby and the NSA warrantless surveillance (2001–07) controversy. In April 2006, the blog received the 2005 Koufax Award for "Best New Blog".
In February 2007, Greenwald became a contributing writer at Salon.com, and the new column and blog superseded Unclaimed Territory, though Salon.com prominently features hyperlinks to it in Greenwald's dedicated biographical section.
Among the frequent topics of his Salon articles were the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks, and the candidacy of former CIA official John O. Brennan for the jobs of either Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA) or the next Director of National Intelligence (DNI) after the election of Barack Obama. Brennan withdrew his name from consideration for the post after opposition centered in liberal blogs and led by Greenwald. Brennan took up the leadership position at the CIA again, in March 2013.
Greenwald left Salon.com on August 20, 2012 for The Guardian, citing "the opportunity to reach a new audience, to further internationalize my readership, and to be re-invigorated by a different environment" as reasons for the move.
On June 5, 2013, Greenwald helped scoop the story on the top-secret United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order requiring Verizon to provide the National Security Agency with telephone metadata for all calls between the US and abroad, as well as all domestic calls.
On October 15, 2013, Greenwald announced and The Guardian confirmed that he was leaving to pursue "once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity that no journalist could possibly decline". Reuters reported that the philanthropist providing the financial backing for the new venture was Pierre Omidyar, the eBay founder.
Greenwald has appeared as a round table guest on ABC's Sunday morning news show This Week, HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, NPR's All Things Considered, as well as numerous times on C-SPAN's Washington Journal; Pacifica Radio's syndicated series Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman; on Public Radio International's To the Point; MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show, Morning Joe, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Up with Chris Hayes, and Dylan Ratigan's Morning Meeting; Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume;. Greenwald has been a regular guest on the Hugh Hewitt Show (and was a friend and favorite guest of Hewitt's frequent guest host, Dean Barnett) and on PBS's Bill Moyers Journal.
Greenwald's first book, How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values From a President Run Amok, was published by Working Assets in 2006. It was a New York Times bestseller, and ranked #1 on Amazon.com both before its publication (due to pre-orders based on attention from 'UT' readers and other bloggers) and for several days after its release, ending its first week at #293.
A Tragic Legacy, his second book, examines the presidency of George W. Bush "with an emphasis on his personality traits and beliefs that drove the presidency (along with an emphasis on how and why those personality traits have led to a presidency that has failed to historic proportions)." Published in hardback by Crown (a division of Random House) on June 26, 2007 and reprinted in a paperback edition by Three Rivers Press on April 8, 2008, it too was a New York Times Best Seller, also ranking #1 for a day on Amazon.com's Non-Fiction Best Seller List and #2 the next day (also due to heavy "discussions and promotions by blogs—a campaign catalyzed by Jane Hamsher [at FireDogLake]", according to Greenwald).
His third book, entitled Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics, was published by Random House in April 2008, the same month that Three Rivers Press reissued A Tragic Legacy in paperback.
His fourth book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, was released by Metropolitan Books (of Henry Holt and Company) in October 2011.
Greenwald is critical of actions jointly supported by Democrats and Republicans, writing: "The worst and most tyrannical government actions in Washington are equally supported on a fully bipartisan basis." In the preface to his first book, How Would a Patriot Act? (2006), Greenwald opens with some of his own personal political history, describing his 'pre-political' self as neither liberal nor conservative as a whole, voting neither for George W. Bush nor for any of his rivals (indeed, not voting at all).
Bush's election to the U.S. presidency "changed" Greenwald's previous uninvolved political attitude toward the electoral process "completely", and in 2006 he wrote:
Over the past five years, a creeping extremism has taken hold of our federal government, and it is threatening to radically alter our system of government and who we are as a nation. This extremism is neither conservative nor liberal in nature, but is instead driven by theories of unlimited presidential power that are wholly alien, and antithetical, to the core political values that have governed this country since its founding"; for, "the fact that this seizure of ever-expanding presidential power is largely justified through endless, rank fear-mongering—fear of terrorists, specifically—means that not only our system of government is radically changing, but so, too, are our national character, our national identity, and what it means to be American."
Believing that "It is incumbent upon all Americans who believe in that system, bequeathed to us by the founders, to defend it when it is under assault and in jeopardy. And today it is", he says: "I did not arrive at these conclusions eagerly or because I was predisposed by any previous partisan viewpoint. Quite the contrary."
Resistant to applying ideological labels to himself, he emphasizes that he is a strong advocate for U.S. constitutional "balance of powers" and for constitutionally-protected civil and political rights in his writings and public appearances.
He criticized the policies of the Bush administration and those who supported it, arguing that most of the American "Corporate News Media" excused Bush's policies and echoed the administration's positions rather than asking hard questions.
Regarding civil liberties during the Obama presidency, he elaborated on his conception of change when he said, "I think the only means of true political change will come from people working outside of that [two-party electoral] system to undermine it, and subvert it, and weaken it, and destroy it; not try to work within it to change it." He did, however, raise money for Russ Feingold's 2010 Senate re-election bid, Bill Halter's 2010 primary challenge to Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln, as well as several Congressional candidates in 2012 described as "unique".
Greenwald criticized the prison conditions in which U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning, the accused WikiLeaks leaker then known as Bradley, was held after Manning's arrest by military authorities. As a supporter of Manning, describing her as "a whistle-blower acting with the noblest of motives", and "a national hero similar to Daniel Ellsberg."
Greenwald has been placed on numerous 'top 50' and 'top 25' lists of columnists in the United States. In June, 2012, Newsweek magazine named him one of America's Top 10 Opinionists, saying that "a righteous, controlled, and razor-sharp fury runs through a great deal" of his writing, and: "His independent persuasion can make him a danger or an asset to both sides of the aisle."
According to Nate Anderson, writing in Ars Technica, around 2010/2011 Aaron Barr of HBGary and Team Themis planned to damage Greenwald's career as a way to respond to a potential dump of Bank of America documents by WikiLeaks, saying that "Without the support of people like Glenn WikiLeaks would fold." 
Josh Voorhees, writing in slate.com, reported that in 2013 congressman Peter King (R-NY) suggested Greenwald should be arrested for his reporting on the NSA PRISM program and NSA leaker/whistleblower Edward Snowden. Journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin said "I would arrest [Snowden] and now I'd almost arrest Glenn Greenwald", but later apologized for his statement, which Greenwald accepted.
In an interview with Martha Raddatz of ABC's Sunday morning news program This Week Greenwald said that members of Congress are being "blocked" from getting "the most basic information about what NSA is doing... and what the FISA court has been doing...." and specifically referenced Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), a ranking member of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ("House Intelligence Committee"). Ruppersberger, who was a guest on the show, responded, "We have rules as far as the committee and what you can have and what you cannot have. However, based on that, that statement I just made, is that since this incident occurred with Snowden, we've had three different hearings for members of our Democratic Caucus, and the Republican Caucus.... And we will continue to do that because what we're trying to do now is to get the American public to know more about what's going on." Rep. King, who was also a guest on This Week as a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, stated: "[T]o me it's unprecedented to have all of these top people from an administration during this time of crisis still come in and answer question after question after question. So anyone who says that Congress is somehow being stonewalled is just wrong and [the question] is generally, I think, raised by people who are trying to make a name for themselves." 
- 2013 EFF Pioneer Award for coverage and analysis of the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures
- 2010 Online Journalism Award for Best Commentary
- 2009 Izzy Award for independent journalism
- 2014 No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. Metropolitan Books (Div. of Henry Holt and Company), ISBN 1-6277-9073-X (10). ISBN 978-1-62779-073-4 (13).
- 2011 With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. Metropolitan Books (Div. of Henry Holt and Company), ISBN 0-8050-9205-6 (10). ISBN 978-0-8050-9205-9 (13).
- 2008 Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics. New York: Random House, ISBN 0-307-40802-7 (10). ISBN 978-0-307-40802-0 (13). (Also available as an E-book.)
- 2007 A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency. New York: Crown (Div. of Random House) ISBN 0-307-35419-9 (10). ISBN 978-0-307-35419-8 (13). (Hardback ed.) Three Rivers Press, 2008. ISBN 0-307-35428-8 (10). ISBN 978-0-307-35428-0 (13). (Paperback ed.)
- 2006 How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values From A President Run Amok. San Francisco: Working Assets (Distrib. by Publishers Group West), ISBN 0-9779440-0-X (10). ISBN 978-0-9779440-0-2 (13).
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- "Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian's statements".[dead link]
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- Greenwald, Glenn (2011-07-21). "Barack Obama is gutting the core principles of the Democratic party". The Guardian (London).
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- "What Kind of Democrat Will Specter Be?". The New York Times. 2009-04-28. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- "Does Bipartisanship Matter?". The New York Times. 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
- "When Bonus Contracts Can Be Broken". The New York Times. 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- "Bush's final days". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- "Author Search: Glenn Greenwald". The American Conservative. Retrieved 2008-12-14. When "Glenn Greenwald" is provided as a search term selecting the "author" field: (1) "Madness of Crowds"; (2) "Selective Amnesia"; (3) "Watching the Detectives"; and (4) "Authoritarian Temptation."
- Greenwald, Glenn (2008-04-25). "The Perilous Punditocracy". The National Interest. The Nixon Center. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
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- "Glenn Greenwald And Amy Goodman Share Inaugural Izzy Award For Independent Media". Ithaca News Release. Ithaca College. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- "Online Journalism Awards, 2010". Online Journalism Awards. 2010-10-31. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
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- Greenwald, Glenn (2006-07-20). "Response to Right-wing Personal Attacks: My Law Practice; My Sexual Orientation; Where I Live". Unclaimed Territory. Retrieved 2007-02-02. In the entry, he describes and sets the record straight about his legal career and related professional and personal matters.
- "Glenn Greenwald: Life Beyond Borders". Out.com. 2011-04-18. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- "Glenn Greenwald interview". The Listener. 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
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- Charlie Savage, (August 16, 2013) Britain Detains the Partner of a Reporter Tied to Leaks The New York Times
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- "US given 'heads up' on David Miranda detention". BBC News Online. August 19, 2013.
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- Rushe, Dominic. "Pierre Omidyar Commits $250m to New Media Venture with Glenn Greenwald." The Guardian. N.p., 16 Oct. 2013. Web.http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/oct/16/pierre-omidyar-ebay-glenn-greenwald.
- Brandom, Russell. "NSA Reporter Glenn Greenwald Partners with Billionaire EBay Founder for New Venture." The Verge. N.p., 16 Oct. 2013. Web. http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/16/4844446/nsa-reporter-glenn-greenwald-partners-with-billionaire-ebay-founder.
- Stein, Gary (1985-03-13). "At 18, Future Holds Promise". Sun Sentinel.
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- "Anderson v. Hale, 202 F.R.D. 548 (N.D. Ill 2001)". LEXIS. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- "Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Formal Decision 2003-02, "UNDISCLOSED TAPING OF CONVERSATIONS BY LAWYERS"". New York City Bar. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
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- Ambinder, Marc (2008-11-20). "Brennan, Harding Slated for Top Intelligence Jobs". The Atlantic Monthly.
- Greenwald, Glenn (2008-11-16). "John Brennan and Bush's interrogation/detention policies". Salon.com. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
- Sullivan, Andrew (2008-11-21). "No Way. No How. No Brennan". The Daily Dish of No Party or Clique (Blog). Theatlantic.com. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
- "Brennan Out Of Running for Top Intelligence Post". International Herald Tribune (The New York Times Company). 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- Hamsher, Jane (2008-11-25). "'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Tuesday November 25, 2008: Transcript". The Rachel Maddow Show. MSNBC. Retrieved 2008-12-12. "I think as Atrios said, 'Behold the power of Glenn Greenwald.' ... Glenn, writing at Salon.com, had made a singular case against Brennan and said really, 'this is unacceptable.'"
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- Bazelon, Emily (6 June 2013). "Is the Government Snooping Through My Phone Calls?". Slate. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- Cohen, Noam (6 June 2013). "Blogger, With Focus on Surveillance, Is at Center of a Debate". New York Times. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
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- "Glenn Greenwald on the High Cost of Government Secrecy". Bill Moyers & Company. 2013-04-26. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
- "Interview with Glenn Greenwald". Bill Moyers' Journal. 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
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- "The New York Times Book Review Best Sellers". The New York Times Book Review. The New York Times Company. 2006-06-11. Archived from the original on 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
- Garofoli, Joe (2006-05-12). "Book Tops Charts Before It's Published". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-12-12. "There's been no advertising for "How Would a Patriot Act." Didn't need any. It was more important to get love from a handful of key bloggers, who plugged the 144-page book on their sites, leading to a virtually overnight advance sales bump this week—and a second printing of 20,000 copies. "Patriot" remained at the peak of the Amazon charts for days. ... While "Patriot" parachuted to 293rd place by week's end after hitting No. 1, the book's publisher, the San Francisco phone company and liberal benefactor Working Assets, has been encouraged to continue its fledgling program of plucking sharp bloggers to write politically pointed books."
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- Hamsher, Jane (2010-05-01). "Accountability Recruits First Candidate for 2010: Bill Halter". Huffington Post.
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- "Amnesty International condemns 'inhumane' treatment of Bradley Manning". The Raw Story. Raw Story. 2011-01-24.
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- Tunku Varadarajan; Elisabeth Eaves; Hana R. Alberts (2009-01-22). "25 Most Influential Liberals in the U.S. Media". Forbes. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
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- Amira, Dan (2008-08-24). "Intelligencer:Conventional Wisdom". New York (News & Features). Retrieved 2008-12-12. "Who's the most popular? We developed a highly [sic] scientific formula to measure their star power, counting blog, newspaper, magazine, and TV-news mentions so far this year, Google hits, and how many presidential debates (in the primaries or planned for the general election) they moderated. Then, each pundit's popularity in each category was calculated as a percentage of the highest score, and those five percentages were averaged. (So, theoretically, a dominating pundit who topped each tally would end up with a popularity score of 100.) Here's the top 40. ..."
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- "Late Digital Rights Activist, International Access to Knowledge Advocate, and NSA Spying Journalists Win EFF Pioneer Awards" (Press release). Electronic Frontier Foundation. 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "Glenn Greenwald Exposes Frank Gaffney". Crooks and Liars, February 16, 2007. [Includes 3-part MP3 clip of radio interview broadcast on the Alan Colmes Show, on Fox News Radio, during which Greenwald debates Frank Gaffney.]
- "Glenn Greenwald on Joe Klein, Dave Tomlin on Bilal Hussein". Counterspin, November 30, 2007 – December 6, 2007. Accessed December 12, 2008. MP3 clips hosted on Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).
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- Goodman, Amy. "Great American Hypocrites: Glenn Greenwald on the Corporate Media's Failures in the 2008 Race. Democracy Now!, Pacifica Radio, April 18, 2008. Accessed December 12, 2008. ("We speak with Glenn Greenwald, author of Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics. [includes rush transcript].")
- –––. "Obama Adviser Cass Sunstein Debates Glenn Greenwald". Democracy Now!, Pacifica Radio, July 22, 2008. Accessed December 13, 2008. (Includes rush transcript.)
- Greenwald, Glenn. "Book Forum: A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency". Cato Institute, August 7, 2007. [Panel discussion featuring Greenwald, "with comments by Lee Casey, Partner, Baker Hostetler." (Hyperlinked MP3 podcast and RealVideo formats.)]
- –––. "Media: Glenn Greenwald at YearlyKos". Salon.com, August 7, 2007. Accessed December 13, 2008. [Video segment from Glenn Greenwald's panel at YearlyKos 2007, "where he stresses the continued need for adversarial, skeptical reporting." ("VideoDog" format.)]
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- Singal, Jesse, and Glenn Greenwald. "On Terrorism, Civil Rights, and Building a Blog". Campus Progress, September 17, 2007. Accessed December 12, 2008. [Interview.]
- Greenwald, Glenn. "Civil liberties under Obama". International Socialist Organization, July 3, 2011. Accessed July 7, 2011. [Video.]
- Greenwald on Twitter
- "Glenn Greenwald" – Current column at The Guardian
- "Glenn Greenwald" – Previous column and blog hosted on Salon.com
- Unclaimed Territory – Previous personal blog hosted on Blogspot.com
- Glenn Greenwald appearances on Democracy Now!
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Glenn Greenwald at the Internet Movie Database
- 2013 Omidyar-Greenwald Journalistic Endeavor