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American Forum: Barton Gellman

American University's American Forum and the Newseum Institute held a timely discussion on national security and freedom of the press. Recent revelations by journalists and whistle-blower Edward Snowden have brought to light surveillance and gathering of citizens’ personal data by the National Security Agency.

Barton Gellman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist on national security, joined Washington Post editor Jeff Leen and SOC professor Jane Hall for a townhall interview and discussion with AU students on the important issues raised—for journalists, the government and the public—by these revelations.

You can watch all 5 segments of the show below:

Breaking News on the NSA Stories, Barton Gellman's Reporting and Edward Snowden

After introduction by Newseum Institute CEO Gene Policinski, Jane Hall interviews Barton Gellman about the latest developments in the NSA stories, including the reaction of Internet companies; Gellman answers the question, "What is at stake here?" in these revelations regarding national security, privacy/transparency and journalism. Gellman reveals how NSA leaker Edward Snowden contacted him and how he reported the NSA stories; he also discusses why Snowden said he leaked the NSA documents.


How the Government Reacted to the NSA stories

Barton Gellman, Jeff Leen and Jane Hall discuss the reaction of the U.S. government to the the Post's stories; Gellman reveals that, in addition to other classified information, the government was most concerned about the naming of the Internet companies who provided information through the PRISM program; he discusses the Post's rationale for naming those companies in the story.

Two students, Justin Warren and Danielle deCourcey, ask questions.


Controversy Over Who's a Journalist

Jane Hall, Barton Gellman and Jeff Leen discuss criticism from other journalists regarding Glenn Greenwald's work on the NSA stories for The Guardian, the Obama administration, and the Department of Justice's pursuit of journalists James Risen, of the New York Times, and James Rosen, of Fox News. They also discuss the charge that the government is "criminalizing journalism" in the current atmosphere for reporting on national security. Hall asks about the latest survey from the First Amendment Center on the public's view on the First Amendment and the role of the media as watchdog.

Two students, Ken Merrill and Lucia Grigoli, ask questions.


Looking Ahead: the Impact of the NSA stories on public debate and journalism

Barton Gellman, Jeff Leen and Jane Hall discuss the impact of the NSA stories—on public debate over government surveillance—and on journalism.

Two students, Rachel Baye and Matt Rubbelke, ask questions.


Student Questions

Questions from Hoai-Tran Bui, Nicholas Hunt, Rachel Breitman and Rae Daniel.