15:43 GMT04 June 2020
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    A long-time partner of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Intercept has released the first batch of SIDtoday files, greatly expanding public access to the details of the intelligence agency’s post-9/11 activities.

    "Today, The Intercept is announcing two innovations in how we report on and publish materials," Glenn Greenwald wrote, explaining the online publication’s decision to expand the Snowden archive.

    "Both measures are designed to ensure that reporting on the archive continues in as expeditious and informative a manner as possible, in accordance with the agreements we entered into our source about how these materials would be disclosed, a framework that he, and we, have publicly described on numerous occasions."

    The publication plans to release the US National Security Agency’s internal SIDtoday newsletters in installments. Obtained by Snowden, the letters span a decade.

    "The SIDtoday documents run a wide gamut: from serious, detailed reports on top secret NSA surveillance programs to breezy, trivial meanderings of analysts’ trips and vacations, with much in between. Many are self-serving and boastful, designed to justify budgets or impress supervisors," Greenwald writes.

    "But some SIDtoday articles have been the basis of significant revelations from the archive."

    The first batch contains 166 articles and spans a period from March 31, 2003 to December 21, 2003.

    "We encourage other journalists, researchers, and interested parties to comb through these documents, along with future published batches, to find stories, or clues that lead to stories, that we did not," he writes. "A primary objective of these batch releases is to make that kind of exploration possible."

    While much remains to be analyzed in the first batch, the articles have already revealed insights into, among other things, the operations at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility. One letter offers ways for interrogators to "unwind" after a long day.

    "Outside work, fun awaits and opportunities abound. Water sports are outstanding: boating, paddling, fishing, water skiing and boarding, sailing, swimming, snorkeling, and SCUBA. No experience, no problem," an internal memo reads.

    "Surround all this water fun with a Tiki Bar and a Jerk House as well as the Bayview Restaurant…relaxing is easy."

    By outsourcing the investigation effort, The Intercept hopes more key information will be revealed about the agency’s operations.

    "An archive of this significance and size obviously presents complicated questions about how best to report on it. There is rarely one easy, obvious answer how to do it. Different leaks may require different approaches," Greenwald writes.

    "We have navigated these difficult and sometimes conflicting values in deciding how best to report on this massive archive."

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    Tags:
    whistleblower, leaked documents, National Security Agency (NSA), The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, Guantanamo Bay, United States
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