The journalistic venture started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar who hired former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald to lead editorial operations at First Look Media launched its first news site Monday.
The Intercept -- at TheIntercept.org -- is the first of several sites published by First Look Media. While announcing the formation of his new venture in October, Omidyar said he is contributing $250 million to pursue independent journalism, and tapped Greenwald to lead editorial operations.
Greenwald, who is known worldwide due to his ground breaking story on Snowden's documents about the extent of the National Security Agency's mass surveillance activities, left the Guardian in October and has recruited several journalists to join First Look Media, including war correspondent Jeremy Scahill and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras.
Citing Snowden's NSA documents and a former drone operator, the Intercept's first story detailed the NSA's reliance of electronic surveillance for finding targets for lethal drone strikes.
According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. The CIA or the U.S. military orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone location of the person
The former drone operator is from JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Night attacks occur due to location by the SIM card but you do not know who is behind the phone.
His account is bolstered by top-secret NSA documents previously provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. It is also supported by a former drone sensor operator with the U.S. Air Force, Brandon Bryant, who has become an outspoken critic of the lethal operations in which he was directly involved in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
The former drone operator also says that he personally participated in drone strikes where the identity of the target was known, but other unknown people nearby were also killed.
They might have been terrorists,’ he says ‘or they could have been family members who have nothing to do with the target’s activities.’
The Washington Post previously reported on the NSA's involvement in drone strikes, claiming that it had become ‘the single most important intelligence agency in finding al-Qaeda and other enemies overseas,’ with its geolocation’.
While the Intercept will focus for now on publishing stories based on Snowden's documents, it will have Washington, D.C.-based reporters and feature ongoing commentary and op-eds from staffers and contributors, as well as a regular column by Greenwald.
‘Our longer-term mission is to provide aggressive and independent adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues, from secrecy, criminal and civil justice abuses and civil liberties violations to media conduct, societal inequality and all forms of financial and political corruption,’ Greenwald, Poitras and Scahill wrote.
To view more articles associated with the Snowden files, NSA and Cyber Command see the list below in Author’s suggestions and view the video atop this article on the NSA and drone strikes.
Twitter: Victoria Wagner@VictoriaRoss888