Greenwald: To Be Vilified by Powerful is 'Enormous Badge of Honor'

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist also says that US government refused to tell his lawyers about possibility of his arrest

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has now received both the George Polk Award and shared in a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the NSA documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, appeared on CNN to discuss the honors for the first time and said that beyond the vindication those awards have bestowed on the work of Greenwald and his colleagues, it is the continued attacks by powerful members of the nation's political and intelligence elite that convinces him that what he's "doing is the right thing."

"That's just part of what I think journalism is," said Greenwald to the host of CNN's Reliable Resources Brian Stelter. "If you want to be adversarial to those who wield power, you have to expect that those who wield power aren't going to like what you're doing very much. And not only that doesn't bother me, I see that as a vindication."

In his first televised interview since the Pulitzers were announced Wednesday, Greenwald said that most important was the recognition by the jury of the coveted award that the revelations of the mass surveillance program was journalism done in the service of the public interest.

Asked by Stelter about reactions from those opposed to the nature of the disclosures and the reporting--like Republican New York Congressman Peter King who said giving the Pulitzer to the Guardian and Washington Post reporting teams for their coverage of the Snowden documents "was "a disgrace"--Greenwald said he wears comments like that as a "enormous badge of honor."

In the interview, Greenwald also discusses the lengths he went through in order to discover whether or not he would be arrested, detained, or even charged with a crime when he recently returned to the United States, the first time since the publication of the Snowden documents last year.

He confesses having many lawyers on the case, but that none could get straight answers from the Justice Department about the possibility or nature of a sealed indictment or the government's intentions.

His attorneys, says Greenwald, were given no information, they were completely stonewalled, the government wouldn't say if there was a jury impaneled, if there was indictment under seal, if they intended to arrest us, they wanted to keep us in the state of uncertainty."

Watch the full interview:

Glenn Greenwald reacts to winning Pulitzer PrizeBack in the US and now a Pulitzer Prize winner, Glenn Greenwald joins Brian Stelter for an exclusive interview. More from CNN at ...

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