Guardian's Greenwald blasts Rep. King's accusations in NSA case

Greenwald 'staggered' by King accusation
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Story highlights

  • U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, calls for Glenn Greenwald to face criminal charges
  • "This is a very unusual case with life and death implications," King says
  • Greenwald denies threatening to leak the names of CIA agents
  • He describes King's allegations as "outright falsehoods"

The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, who worked with NSA leaker Edward Snowden on articles about the agency's secret surveillance programs, slammed U.S. Rep. Peter King after the New York Republican called for the columnist to face criminal charges.

"You can't just go on national television and call for the arrest and prosecution of a journalist and tell outright falsehoods when you're doing it, without consequences," Greenwald told CNN's AC360 on Wednesday night.

He was referring to an earlier Fox News interview during which King accused Greenwald of threatening to disclose the names of CIA agents and assets around the world.

"No right is absolute, and even the press has certain restrictions," King told Fox News on Wednesday.

"I think it should be very targeted, very selective and certainly a very rare exception. But in this case, when you have someone who has disclosed secrets like this, and threatens to release more, then to me — yes, there has to be, legal action should be taken against him. This is a very unusual case with life and death implications for Americans."

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Greenwald denied the allegations.

King's office did not respond to a CNN request for clarification of his comments.

"I was really staggered that a United States congressman, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, actually could go on national television and make up an accusation, literally fabricated out of whole cloth, namely that I have threatened to uncover the names of covert CIA agents, as a way of arguing for my arrest and prosecution inside the United States for the crime of doing journalism," Greenwald told CNN's AC360.

"I mean it's bad enough to call for that. It's extraordinarily menacing that he did so based on a complete falsehood -- the idea that I ever threatened that. I did not, nor would I ever."