Citizenfour, a documentary about Edward Snowden featuring Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, has won the Oscar for best documentary feature
Citizenfour, a documentary about Edward Snowden featuring Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, has won the Oscar for best documentary feature Citizenfour

NSA mass surveillance practices could continue to be around for a long time, no matter who is elected in the 2016 US presidential elections, as both the Conservative party and the Republicans still want it around, according to Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept.

"The key tactic [Washington] DC uses to make uncomfortable issues disappear is bipartisan consensus. When the leadership of both parties join together – as they so often do, despite the myths to the contrary – those issues disappear from mainstream public debate," Greenwald said in a Reddit IAmA public Q&A session. He was answering questions together with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and filmmaker Laura Poitras.

"The problem is that the leadership of both parties, as usual, are in full agreement: they love NSA mass surveillance. So that has blocked it from receiving more debate."

Greenwald stressed that it was crucial for a "genuine dissenting force" to come forward in US politics, as it is likely that NSA spying revelations, which are continuing to this day, will be swept under the carpet in any debates.

"That's why the Dem efforts to hand Hillary Clinton the nomination without contest are so depressing. She's the ultimate guardian of bipartisan status quo corruption, and no debate will happen if she's the nominee against some standard Romney/Bush-type GOP candidate," he said.

On Sunday 22 February 2015, the documentary Citizenfour, which follows Greenwald and the filmmaker Laura Poitras' encounters with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, was honoured at the Oscars with the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Snowden, Poitras and Greenwald attended the live Q&A session hosted by Reddit at 7pm GMT on 23 February, where they discussed the continued problems with privacy and the importance of public awareness.

When asked what he would do differently, Snowden said that he should have come forward sooner, and he said that the work culture at NSA encourages employees not to listen to what they are hearing in the news.

"Think about what it does to a person to come into their special top-secret office every day and get a special secret email from 'The Director of NSA' (actually drafted by totally different people, of course, because senior officials don't have time to write PR emails) explaining to you why everything you heard in the news is wrong, and how only the brave, patriotic, and hard-working team of cleared professionals in the Intelligence Community workforce know the truth," Snowden wrote on Reddit.

"Think about how badly you want to believe that. Everybody wants to be valued and special, and nobody wants to think they've perhaps contributed to a huge mistake. It's not evil, it's human."

Citizenfour will be aired on UK's Channel 4 at 23:05 on Wednesday 25 February and in the US on HBO at various times throughout this week. It is also available On Demand from HBO.