The Intercept today published documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden which show that the NSA and Britain's GCHQ targeted WikiLeaks with an array of surveillance tactics and spied on supporters.
From the report by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher:
The efforts – detailed in documents provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – included a broad campaign of international pressure aimed not only at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but at what the U.S. government calls "the human network that supports WikiLeaks." The documents also contain internal discussions about targeting the file-sharing site Pirate Bay and hacktivist collectives such as Anonymous.
ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer, responding to the report:
This is a very troubling report. Publishers who disclose abuses of government power should not be subjected to invasive surveillance for having done so, and individuals should not be swept up into surveillance dragnets simply because they've visited websites that report on those abuses. Further, the United States should not be urging allied countries to pursue prosecutions that would be unconstitutional if undertaken here at home.
"This is a shocking attack on the freedom of the press, and anyone who supports the principles behind the First Amendment should be worried," writes Trevor Timm of Freedom of the Press Foundation.
It's now clear that the NSA and GCHQ are not just a threat to privacy, but also to press freedom. Both the US and UK need to pass new laws that better protect media organizations from surveillance merely for doing their job as journalists.
[Disclosure: I am a proud board member of Freedom of the Press Foundation. Edward Snowden is also a board member.]