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Oliver Stone Buys Edward Snowden Russian Lawyer’s “Novel” About Asylum-Seeking Whistleblower

By | Tuesday June 10, 2014 @ 8:50am PDT
Mike Fleming

snowdenUPDATE, 8:50 AM PT: Oliver Stone and producing partner Moritz Borman are widening their source material for the movie Stone plans to write and direct on CIA leaker Edward Snowden. They’ve made a deal with Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, for film rights to his novel Time Of The Octopus, what seems like a thinly veiled account of his experience with Snowden. It’s the story of an American whistleblower who heads to Russia and the back and forth between the leaker and his lawyer as he waits while that country considers his request for asylum. Stone and Borman already got screen rights to The Snowden Files: The Inside Story Of The World’s Most Wanted Man, a book by Guardian journalist Luke Harding that’s published by Guardian Faber. This might be as close as they can get to actually obtaining rights from Snowden. I wondered if he would be part of the movie. Like Julian Assange, he is a polarizing figure that some would call brave, and others — including the U.S. government — would call a turncoat, or worse after he made public more classified documents than anyone else has done since Daniel Ellsburg released The Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. Stone intends to put the movie in production this year. He’s not alone in his desire to make a Snowden film. Last month, Sony Pictures acquired film rights to Pulitzer-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald‘s upcoming book No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, The NSA, And The U.S. Surveillance State. That pic will be produced by Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers of the James Bond spy franchise.

Related: Sony Acquires Movie Rights To Edward Snowden Book ‘No Place To Hide’

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Edward Snowden Interview Gooses ‘NBC Nightly News’ Numbers

By | Tuesday June 3, 2014 @ 11:22am PDT

snowdenEdward Snowden was very good to NBC News. The week in which the news division aired Brian Williams’ exclusive interview with Snowden, NBC Nightly News was the country’s most-watched newscast and was tops in all key demos — including a win in the news demo, where ABC is taking over ground. Nightly beat ABC World News by 101,000 news demo viewers for the week ending May 30.  For comparison sake, the previous week NBC’s newscast lost to ABC, by 106,000 viewers. NBC’s evening news has fallen behind ABC’s in the news demo five of the past eight weeks.

For the week,  Nightly widened its total viewer gap over ABC by 73% compared with the previous week.

Related: Jimmy Fallon Unveils NBC Anchor Brian Williams’ Performance Of Snoop Dogg’s ‘Gin And Juice’: Video

Nightly clocked its biggest crowd Tuesday night, when it unveiled the first excerpts of Williams’ exclusive Snowden interview, in advance of Wednesday’s primetime Snowden chat special. ABC noted that World News With Diane Sawyer actually outdrew NBC Nightly News by 63,000 demo viewers (2.209 million vs. 2.146 million) that night. But Nightly logged the biggest week-to-week increases in total viewers (3%, or +257,000) and A25-54 viewers (12%, or +214,000) among the broadcast evening newsasts. About half of Nightly‘s overall audience gains came in the 18-49 demo, which NBC’s newscast typically dominates … Read More »

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Edward Snowden Tells NBC News He’s Catching Up On HBO While In Exile In Russia: Video

By | Thursday May 29, 2014 @ 7:37am PDT

During his interview with Brian Williams, Snowden said that, owing to the “beauty of the internet” he can “live life as an American, more or less” while in exile in Russia. Right now, for instance, he said he’s catching up on American TV. Watch here:

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UPDATE: NBC News Keeps Clipping Edward Snowden In Advance Of Tonight’s Exclusive Interview (Video)

By | Wednesday May 28, 2014 @ 8:20am PDT

UPDATED: NBC News, nbc-newswhich is battling ABC News for the ratings top spot in various dayparts, continues to tease tonight’s exclusive primetime interview with Edward Snowden.  This morning on Today NBC News aired a clip in which Snowden explained he’s in Russia because the United States stranded him there, and Secretary of State John Kerry called Snowden “pretty dumb,” adding that a “patriot” would return to the U.S. and “trust in the American system of justice.”

abcnewsABC News responded with a video clip of its exclusive look inside the training program designed to keep U.S. diplomats safe overseas and how it was expanded “After Benghazi” — and a tweet from outgoing ABC News president/incoming Disney/ABC Television Group co-president Ben Sherwood about ABC World News’s May sweep win, reports of which you may have seen last week  (final few days of that derby came in this morning, making it super-official):


Watch Today‘s Snowden interview clip here: Read More »

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NBC News Releases Clip From Brian Williams’ Interview With Edward Snowden: Video

By | Tuesday May 27, 2014 @ 5:40pm PDT

NBC News has released a clip from tomorrow’s highly hyped Brian Williams interview with  Edward Snowden — the former NSA contractor’s first American interview since revealing NSA information to the press. The hourlong interview will air as a primetime special at 10 PM ET. Williams’ rare in-person conversation with Snowden was conducted over the course of several hours; the network says it was “shrouded in secrecy due to Snowden’s life in exile since leaking classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs a year ago.” For the special, Williams also interviewed Snowden and Glenn Greenwald jointly about how they came to work together and the global debate sparked by their revelations. In the clip, Williams pushes Snowden’s buttons in re the “low-level” and “hacker” descriptions of him initially used by various government types:

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NBC News Trumps ABC’s Hillary Clinton Exclusive With Edward Snowden’s First American Interview Since NSA Info Dump

By | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 10:56am PDT

The day snowdenafter ABC News announced its World News anchor Diane Sawyer had landed an exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton about her new book, NBC News trumped that with the announcement its Nightly News anchor Brian Williams had traveled to Moscow for an exclusive sit-down with Edward Snowden — the former NSA contractor’s first American interview since revealing NSA information to the press.

The hour-long interview will air as a primetime special on Wednesday, May 28 at 10 PM ET. Williams’ rare in-person conversation with Snowden was conducted over the course of several hours; the network says it was “shrouded in secrecy due to Snowden’s life in exile since leaking classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs a year ago.” For the special, Williams also interviewed Snowden and Glenn Greenwald jointly about how they came to work together and the global debate sparked by their revelations.

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Sony Acquires Movie Rights To Edward Snowden Book ‘No Place To Hide’ For James Bond Producers

No Place To Hide Movie SonyEdward Snowden‘s story is coming to the big screen. Sony Pictures said today that it has acquired film rights to Pulitzer-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald‘s upcoming book No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, The NSA, And The U.S. Surveillance State. The pic about the largest leak of intelligence documents and the young NSA analyst contractor behind it will be produced by Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers of the James Bond spy franchise. With the deal, Wilson and Broccoli will shift from their iconic fictitious 007 to a real spy story: Greenwald’s book, which hit shelves yesterday, chronicles his involvement in working with Snowden to break numerous stories about the U.S. government’s intelligence-gathering operations in the UK’s The Guardian. It is a thrilling personal narrative of the events as they unfolded sonypicand an important historical reflection on the broader implications of the NSA’s intelligence-gathering methods that have since come into question. Greenwald’s reporting for on the leak earned him the Pulitzer Prize last month.

“Glenn Greenwald’s No Place To Hide is a terrifying personal account of one of the most relevant political events of our time,” Wilson and Broccoli said in today’s announcement of the project. “We are thrilled to be working with Glenn to bring this important story to the screen.”

Sony has been the go-to studio for films based on real-life stories (think Moneyball, Captain Phillips, The Social Network, with the Aaron Sorkin Steve Jobs biopic also in the works). Now they have arguably the biggest news story of the 21st century in house. No writer has been attached. Read More »

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Pulitzer Prize Board Honors The Guardian And The Washington Post For Snowden Coverage

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 12:13pm PDT

Pulitzer PrizeThe big question today was whether the Pulitzer Prize board would support the papers that published Edward Snowden‘s revelations about the National Security Agency’s widespread secret surveillance — which former Vice President Dick Cheney said made him a “traitor.” And the organization did, giving The Guardian and The Washington Post the Public Service award. The Guardian helped to “spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy,” the board said, while the Post “helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.”

In the letters and drama prizes: Donna Tartt won the fiction prize for her coming-of-age novel The Goldfinch. The drama award went to Annie Baker’s The Flick, about three employees of a Massachusetts art house movie theater. The biography award went to Megan Marshall’s Margaret Fuller: A New American Life. In general non-fiction, Dan Fagin won for Toms River: A Story Of Science And Salvation, an examination of the links between local water and air pollution and childhood cancers. Read More »

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SXSW: Edward Snowden Panel Says Don’t Count On Ad-Based Online Companies To Safeguard Your Data

By | Monday March 10, 2014 @ 12:25pm PDT

SXSW 2014If you want better privacy and security, you’d better pay for it instead of relying on ad-financed search, social media and other online companies most of us use, said a SXSW Interactive Conference panel featuring Edward Snowden, the former intelligence analyst making his first public video appearance since he blew the whistle on massive U.S. government surveillance.SXSW - Edward Snowden Snowden, still living in an undisclosed Russian location while he seeks asylum, took part in the panel long distance by way of a Google+ Hangout chat room. The irony of using such a free service while criticizing Google’s data security was not lost on Snowden or the ACLU specialists who joined him on the panel. The event has been criticized by politicians including Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He wrote a letter to SXSW last week urging the fest to uninvite Snowden, saying his inclusion rewarded him and “undermines the very fairness and freedom that SXSW and the ACLU purport to foster.” The appearance went off without a hitch.

Snowden — perhaps predictably for a long-time computer specialist — focused his remarks today on the technical and legal tools that could protect an average user from mass surveillance. Snowden said putting those protections in place, both in how government oversight works and in how we use our favorite online services, is essential to the Internet’s long-term viability. ”This is a global issue,” Snowden said. “(The U.S. mass-surveillance efforts are) setting fire to the future of the Internet. And the people in this room now, you’re all the firefighters. Changes in technical standards can make mass surveillance more expensive and less practical.” Read More »

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