What’s On the Other 37 PRISM Slides?


Here’s an interesting tidbit from Barton Gellman’s account of dealing with Edward Snowden, the guy behind the leaks about PRISM and other NSA surveillance programs:

Snowden asked for a guarantee that The Washington Post would publish — within 72 hours — the full text of a PowerPoint presentation describing PRISM, a top-secret surveillance program that gathered intelligence from Microsoft, Facebook, Google and other Silicon Valley giants….I told him we would not make any guarantee about what we published or when. (The Post broke the story two weeks later, on Thursday. The Post sought the views of government officials about the potential harm to national security prior to publication and decided to reproduce only four of the 41 slides.)

As near as I can tell—unless I missed something—Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian made the same decision: they published four or five slides out of the PowerPoint presentation but not the rest. Naturally I’m curious about what’s on these other slides. If PRISM really is an outrageous infringement of personal liberty, shouldn’t we all know as much about it as possible? Snowden seemed to think so. Instead, we’ve substituted Gellman’s and Greenwald’s judgment for both Snowden’s and the U.S. government’s. Given this, it would be helpful if the two of them wrote a little bit more about why they decided to hold back the bulk of the PRISM slides. If nothing else, it certainly suggests that they disagree with Snowden’s judgment, and that’s newsworthy all by itself.

On a second note, could Snowden really not find anyone who would publish the full PowerPoint deck? That’s hard to believe.

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