Behind the Scenes

Meet the Journalist Behind Snowden’s Leaks

Glenn Greenwald may be the journalist most strongly associated with Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, but it was documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras who made the story happen. Greenwald calls her the “Keyser Soze” of the story, “because she’s at once completely invisible and yet ubiquitous.” Snowden tried to contact Greenwald first but was ignored; it was Poitras who had the security savvy to know how to receive Snowden’s encrypted emails and communicate safely with the NSA contractor. She developed this savvy partly because as a filmmaker working on the Iraq War she ended up on a terrorism watch list and was searched and interrogated whenever she came and left the U.S.