Whistleblowers Edward Snowden and John Kiriakou, and journalist Ewen MacAskill will feature on a “Whistleblowing and the Press” panel on Thursday, January 17 at 4 pm. The panel is part of a conference on US national security whistleblowing convened by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and New York University (NYU). Blueprint for Free Speech is sponsoring the conference, which will take place at NYU’s London campus on 17 and 18 January.
Snowden, who will take part by video link, is a former US intelligence officer who served the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA) for nearly a decade as a technology and cybersecurity expert. In 2013 he exposed NSA global surveillance programmes to journalists, including MacAskill. Snowden is currently president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
Kiriakou, a former CIA analyst and officer, confirmed in 2007 that the US government used waterboarding and other forms of “enhanced interrogation” techniques on al-Qaeda prisoners. He was convicted for passing classified information to a journalist and now advocates for increased transparency in governmental activities.
MacAskill was the defence and intelligence correspondent for The Guardian. He was one of the journalists given access to classified documents by Snowden about the warrantless surveillance programmes conducted by NSA and partner intelligence organisations. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting.
The conference, “Exposing Secrets: The Past, Present & Future of US National Security Whistleblowing and Government Secrecy,” is the capstone event of a two-year research project. Supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the project examines the long, hidden history of blowing the whistle in the public interest, including issues of state retaliation, secrecy, and freedom of the press.