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NSA leaks reporter Glenn Greenwald leaving Guardian to launch new site

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Glenn Greenwald flickr gageskidmore cc
Glenn Greenwald flickr gageskidmore cc

The Guardian has lost its primary source for breaking news on the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Journalist Glenn Greenwald — the Guardian writer who Snowden entrusted with the leaked documents — has revealed to BuzzFeed that he'll be stepping away from his current employer to begin work at an upcoming news organization that has yet to be announced. Though it's unclear exactly how much leaked information the Guardian will retain, it appears that Greenwald and his working partner, filmmaker Laura Poitras, will continue to be the only two people with full access to the documents.

"We are of course disappointed by Glenn's decision."

In a statement posted to his blog, Greenwald says that his decision to leave the Guardian was not easy, but that he was offered an opportunity that "no journalist could possibly decline." Greenwald goes on to say that news of the new venture leaked before it was supposed to be announced, and that he can't offer additional details for now. The Guardian, naturally, isn't thrilled to be losing him. In an accompanying statement, Greenwald's former employer says that "we are of course disappointed by Glenn’s decision to move on."

Though it's not clear what this new venture could offer Greenwald, his essentially exclusive access to the leaked NSA documents will be a highly valuable asset for any news organization to have. For Greenwald, the departure could also provide him a way out from the continued pressure that the UK government has been putting on the Guardian, including the destruction of several of the organization's hard drives. Greenwald tells BuzzFeed that his reporting will continue under "a very well-funded… very substantial new media outlet," which will be properly unveiled soon.

Greenwald's role at the new venture will reportedly be to build its entire journalism division. Though he says that the division will encompass sports and entertainment too, political news will be his regular focus. "When people hear what it is, there is almost no journalist who would say no to it," Greenwald tells BuzzFeed, noting that there won't be institutional constraints on what he can do at this new outlet. Though he'll be in charge of building the news outlet, Greenwald will also be reporting for it as well, making it almost certain to be the new home of NSA leaks stemming from Snowden.

Update: Reuters is reporting that Greenwald's news venture will be funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.