By Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill
First Look Media
We are very excited to welcome everyone to The Intercept, a publication of First Look Media (FLM). The Intercept, which the three of us created, is the first of what will be numerous digital magazines published by FLM.
As soon as we resolved to build The Intercept, we set out to recruit many of the journalists whose work we have long respected and admired: those who have a proven track record of breaking boundaries, taking risks, and producing innovative, rigorous journalism.
We have assembled a team of experienced and independent journalists and editors (see our masthead here). Our central mission is to hold the most powerful governmental and corporate factions accountable, and to do so, we will report on a wide and varied range of issues.
Being able to work with highly accomplished writers like Liliana Segura, Dan Froomkin, Peter Maass and Marcy Wheeler, along with a team of young and aggressive reporters such as Murtaza Hussain, Ryan Gallagher and Ryan Devereaux, is truly emboldening. For our reporting, we have both technical expertise in the form of Micah Lee, and legal expertise from Daniel Novack. As our team grows, the ethos they embody of fearless, independent journalism is what will guide us.
The Intercept has a two-fold mission: one short-term, the other long-term.
Our short-term mission is limited but critically important: to provide a platform and an editorial structure in which to aggressively report on the disclosures provided to us by our source, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. We decided to launch now because we believe we have a vital and urgent obligation to this story, to these documents, and to the public.
Over the past seven months the journalists who have reported on these documents from the National Security Agency have been repeatedly threatened by a wide range of government officials. Sometimes, the intimidation campaign has gone beyond mere threats. These attempted intimidation tactics have intensified in recent weeks and have become clearly more concerted and coordinated.
None of this will deter the journalism we are doing. A primary function of The Intercept is to insist upon and defend our press freedoms from those who wish to infringe them. We are determined to move forward with what we believe is essential reporting in the public interest and with a commitment to the ideal that a truly free and independent press is a vital component of any healthy democratic society.
Our first two news articles at The Intercept are now published. The first, by Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald, documents the NSA’s use of highly unreliable methods to target individuals around the world for assassinations by drone, resulting in the deaths of innocent people. It relies upon a new well-placed source, as well as new NSA documents from the Snowden archive, to tell the story.
The second is by a guest reporter, the photographer and artist Trevor Paglen, who is publishing new aerial images of the NSA, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Our focus in this very initial stage will be overwhelmingly on the NSA story. We will use all forms of digital media for our reporting. We will publish original source documents on which our reporting is based. We will have reporters in Washington covering reactions to these revelations and the ongoing reform efforts.
We will provide commentary from our journalists, including the return of Glenn Greenwald’s regular column. We will engage with our readers in the comment section. We will host outside experts to write op-eds and contribute news items.
Our longer-term mission is to provide aggressive and independent adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues, from secrecy, criminal and civil justice abuses and civil liberties violations to media conduct, societal inequality and all forms of financial and political corruption. The editorial independence of our journalists will be guaranteed, and they will be encouraged to pursue their journalistic passion, areas of interest, and unique voices.
We believe the prime value of journalism is that it imposes transparency, and thus accountability, on those who wield the greatest governmental and corporate power. Our journalists will be not only permitted, but encouraged, to pursue stories without regard to whom they might alienate.
Because we are launching with a limited short-term focus, we are excited by the opportunity to grow with our readers into the broader and more comprehensive news outlet we will become.