Glenn Greenwald’s book on Edward Snowden and the NSA is apparently headed for the big screen.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

Sony Pictures Entertainment has optioned film rights to Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State.

The book by Greenwald, whose reporting on the revelations contained in Snowden’s top-secret NSA documents won the Pulitzer Prize for The Guardian newspaper this year, was published May 13. James Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions will produce the politically themed drama that is expected to be in the vein of other Sony true story films like The Social Network and Captain Phillips.

Greenwald’s highly anticipated book examines the journalist’s personal involvement in working with Snowden to break numerous stories about the U.S. government’s intelligence-gathering operations. The book is both a personal narrative of the events as they unfolded and a historical reflection on the broader implications of the NSA’s activities. Greenwald and his family have been harassed throughout the process of bringing Snowden’s story to the public.

Greenwald’s book, released this week, covers in part some of the background on his dealings with the former NSA contractor, according to the NY Times.

In “No Place to Hide,” Mr. Greenwald recounts the story of how he and Ms. Poitras, a documentary filmmaker, traveled to Hong Kong to meet with Mr. Snowden and the race to publish articles based on the documents he provided, all the while fearful of authorities’ closing in. The outlines of this story will be familiar to readers who followed it in real time last year, and to readers of the recent book “The Snowden Files” (by the Guardian reporter Luke Harding), just as much of the material here about the N.S.A. will be familiar to readers of articles that have appeared in The Guardian (many with Mr. Greenwald’s byline), The Washington Post and The New York Times.

The book is also supposed to contain a new set of leaked documents, although the documents don’t necessarily contain new information.  Rather, the documents are said to corroborate previously released information.

And Greenwald’s book also reportedly contains some criticism directed at the media.

From the NY Times:

Substantial sections of this book deal not with Mr. Greenwald’s relationship with Mr. Snowden and the N.S.A., but with his combative view of “the establishment media,” which he has denounced for “glaring subservience to political power” and to which he condescends as inferior to his more activist kind of journalism.

In “No Place to Hide,” Mr. Greenwald is critical of the process by which publications like The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Guardian speak with government officials before publishing sensitive articles dealing with national security issues; he contends that this process allows the “government to control disclosures and minimize, even neuter, their impact.” He also makes self-dramatizing boasts about his own mission: “Only audacious journalism could give the story the power it needed to overcome the climate of fear the government had imposed on journalists and their sources.”

In one passage, Mr. Greenwald makes the demonstrably false assertion that one “unwritten rule designed to protect the government is that media outlets publish only a few such secret documents, and then stop,” that “they would report on an archive like Snowden’s so as to limit its impact — publish a handful of stories, revel in the accolades of a ‘big scoop,’ collect prizes, and then walk away, ensuring that nothing had really changed.” Many establishment media outlets obviously continue to pursue the Snowden story. Further, many of Mr. Greenwald’s gross generalizations about the establishment media do a terrible disservice to the many tenacious investigative reporters who have broken important stories on some of the very subjects like the war on terror and executive power that Mr. Greenwald feels so strongly about.

Edward Snowden meanwhile remains in Russia, where he sought and was granted asylum.

There’s no word yet on a release date for the film, according to Reuters.  I suppose it will be interesting to see not only the reaction from the public to the film when it does come out, but that of some media outlets as well.

[Featured image: The Colbert Report/Comedy Central video]


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