A Vindication for the Public: The Guardian and Washington Post Win the Pulitzer Prize
I am grateful to the committee for their recognition of the efforts of those involved in the last year’s reporting, and join others around the world in congratulating Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman, Ewen MacAskill, and all of the others at the Guardian and Washington Post on winning the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
Today’s decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government. We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognizes was work of vital public importance.
This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can. My efforts would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society. Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy.
Born in North Carolina in 1983, Edward Snowden worked for the National Security Agency through subcontractor Booz Allen in the NSA’s Oahu (Honolulu) office, where he began collecting top-secret documents regarding NSA surveillance practices that he found disturbing. After he fled to Hong Kong newspapers began printing documents that he leaked to them, many detailing invasive spying practices against American citizens, world leaders, corporations and foreign governments through metadata collection of phone calls, email messages, social media activities, plus dissemination of malicious software and viruses throughout computers worldwide. The U.S. has charged Snowden under the Espionage Act but he is hailed around the world as a hero. He remains in exile in Russia, with the U.S. government working on extradition.
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