Hungarian news website HVG.hu has published an interview with journalist and author Glenn Greenwald in which he says the groundwork is being laid for the release of documents that shed light on the extent of Hungary’s exposure to the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) global surveillance program.
Greenwald gained notoriety for his involvement in exposing the NSA’s domestic surveillance program. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had first contacted Greenwald in late 2012, and the first of Snowden’s documents were published in Britain’s The Guardian in June 2013. It soon became clear that the scale of surveillance activities carried out by the NSA extended well beyond the United States. Working together, Snowden and Greenwald released numerous reports exposing the operational details of the NSA’s ongoing global surveillance programs.
Why is this significant?
Representatives of Hungary’s parliament have been inviting Edward Snowden to testify before parliament’s Committee on National Security ever since details began to emerge about the scope of the NSA’s activities.
Former parliamentary representative Mate Kocsis (Fidesz) made numerous statements accusing the United States of using surveillance to exert influence over Hungary. Similar statements were echoed by numerous politicians on the left and right, and the topic served as a catalyst to fuel anti-American sentiment in Hungary.
Earlier this year, parliamentary representative Gergely Gulyas sent an open letter to US ambassador-designate Colleen Bell when news of her testimony at the Senate confirmation hearing emerged in Hungary. Gulyas, who has since been re-elected and now chairs the Legislative Committee of Hungary’s parliament, wrote:
“We will always be ready to engage in dialogue about democracy with our American friends, but due knowledge of the facts and the necessary objective evaluation is an indispensable basic condition. Only this can create the mutual trust that ensures the possibility of discussing any American criticism that might arise, as in the case of clarifying the uncustomary snooping on allies by American clandestine services.”
Needless to say, politicians around the world – Hungary included – had expressed intense criticism of the United States for operating a global surveillance program.
Greenwald: another leak is coming…. and Hungary will be part of it
It appears Hungary’s politicians might have jumped the gun by accusing the US of snooping on Hungarians. Greenwald recently published a book detailing his role in helping Snowden reveal the NSA’s activities. The book, No Place to Hide, recounts the Snowden-Greenwald story and references numerous documents from the Snowden archive. The documents can be downloaded for free from Greenwald’s website.
The documents do in fact mention Hungary and indicate that Hungary was – or is – an approved signals intelligence partner with which the US maintains a “focused cooperation”.
In his interview with HVG.hu, Greenwald offers no elaboration on what Hungary’s “focused cooperation” with the US actually means, but he does say that Hungary’s “partner” category is made up of countries that were the targets of USA intelligence gathering but which also assisted in snooping.
Greenwald tells HVG.hu that documents will be made public shortly that show concern over Hungary’s involvement in the Snowden affair. He avoided answering any specific questions regarding what and who the NSA was looking for in Hungary, but assured HVG.hu’s writer that the documents would be made public within one year.
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