WASHINGTON Dec 16 A tale that could rival any
spy novel is about to be told by three writers who are working
on potentially rival books on the revelations and travails of
former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Glenn Greenwald, a former columnist for Britain's The
Guardian, has a book likely to come out in March. Greenwald
received classified spy documents from Snowden in clandestine
meetings in Hong Kong after he fled the United States last
The book is "about my time with Snowden in Hong Kong and
reporting the story, but mostly about the surveillance state
based on the documents I have (that The Guardian doesn't) and my
reasons why the surveillance state is menacing," he said in an
His publisher is Metropolitan Books, a unit of Henry Holt
and Co. Greenwald has also been discussing a movie deal.
The New York Times reported in October that 20th Century Fox
, Sony Pictures Entertainment and cable TV
network HBO had all considered an on-screen project. But
Greenwald said that no movie deal had yet been struck.
Potential competitor books are being prepared by Barton
Gellman, a blogger and former Washington Post reporter, and Luke
Harding, a journalist for The Guardian.
Gellman, principal author of The Washington Post's Snowden's
stories but no longer on the paper's staff, said his project
pre-dates the emergence of Snowden.
"I had already started work on a book about the surveillance
industrial society when Edward Snowden came my way. He has
certainly enriched my reporting, but I am not racing anyone to
do a quick hit on current events. My narrative will cover a
broader landscape and a wider cast of characters," Gellman said
in an email.
Neither Harding, author of The Guardian book (and co-author
of an earlier Guardian book about WikiLeaks and its
controversial founder, Julian Assange), nor a spokeswoman for
The Guardian would comment on Harding's book, which is being
published under a joint imprint The Guardian set up with British
publisher Faber and Faber.
A person familiar with the Guardian project, who asked to
remain anonymous, said that at the time Greenwald left the
newspaper, the two parties tentatively agreed that to ensure
neither party would have a marketing advantage, the books would
be published simultaneously.
Snowden is believed to have downloaded many thousands of
classified NSA and British government documents, and he sparked
a debate around the world about U.S. electronic surveillance. He
was granted temporary asylum in Russia after being charged in
the United States under the Espionage Act.
One author who is staying clear of the Snowden saga is
James Bamford, author of The Puzzle Palace, the first major
investigative book on NSA, which was published in 1982
"I hate crowds when it comes to books ... I'm sitting this
one out," said Bamford, who published two other books about the