First Look Media, the parent company of the Intercept, announced it will shut access to the archive of documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to cut costs as it plans to layoff 4 percent of staff.
The news was met with outrage from high ranking staff member and filmmaker Laura Poitras, who went to Hong Kong to meet Snowden in 2013, just before the first revelations from his trove of National Security Agency documents were published.
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She said she was “sickened” by the decision to “eliminate the research team, which has been the beating heart of the newsroom since First Look Media was founded,” and slammed the company for making the decision without consulting her or other board members.
Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill joined First Look Media at its founding, launching the Intercept in 2014 as a place to“aggressively report” on the Snowden documents. The company employed a research team to work on the huge trove of documents provided by Snowden.
5 years ago I criticized Poitras-Greenwald deal to privatize Snowden NSA docs to a tech oligarch connected to the national security state—and was smeared as a CIA/COINTELPRO & worse. Now Poitras is mad that Omidyar is shutting down their fencing operation https://t.co/jYOUzGrQS5
— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) March 14, 2019
Potentially unpopular opinion: I think the Snowden archive would be better served elsewhere. Working with the Intercept was always … challenging. There are a number of stories with important policy implications I’d like to do w/o those difficulties. https://t.co/o7RJsdchj5
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) March 14, 2019
Five years later, it appears that First Look Media owner and Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar no longer wish to hold the trove of documents. CEO Michael Bloom sent an email to staff on Wednesday saying as other media outlets had “ceased reporting on it years ago,” it was going to “focus on other editorial priorities,” the Daily Beast reports.
The vast majority of the contents of the Snowden documents have never been reported on.