In 2013, journalist Glenn Greenwald met with Edward Snowden, who leaked the most documents in the history of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Greenwald reported on these documents and proved that the NSA spied on millions of American citizens. However, he also provided commentary about the state of journalism and argued that journalists are often complicit in the keeping of state secrets. Using a rhetorical analysis of Greenwald's writings in The Guardian and his later book, this essay argues that journalists function as a technical audience that debates professional standards for leaking secrets. In Greenwald's case, journalists were involved in the "re-secreting" of NSA behavior as they focused their coverage on Greenwald. This essay finds that secrets are communicatively revealed and concealed using different rhetorical appeals. In an age of political hostility toward journalists, the success of leak journalism in starting public discussion has significance for democratic deliberation.
Rice, Rebecca M.. 2021. "Questions of Professional Practice and Reporting on State Secrets: Glenn Greenwald and the NSA Leaks." Secrecy and Society 2(2). https://doi.org/10.31979/2377-6188.2021.020207 https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/secrecyandsociety/vol2/iss2/7