US & Canada

Snowden reporter to join eBay's Omidyar in new project

Glenn Greenwald at the Brazilian Senate in Brasilia, 9 October
Image caption Glenn Greenwald is based in Brazil

The Guardian journalist who broke the Snowden leaks story is to join a new media project being set up by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Glenn Greenwald confirmed he was leaving the UK newspaper for the mass media outlet being planned by the French-born billionaire.

Laura Poitras, the documentary-maker who connected Greenwald with Edward Snowden, is also expected to join.

Mr Snowden leaked details of US government surveillance programmes.

The former US intelligence contractor is now living in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum after fleeing Hong Kong in June, shortly after the revelations were published.

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron accused The Guardian of having knowingly compromised national security by publishing the leaks.

Greenwald, a US citizen based in Brazil, insists that none of the information he published could have damaged national security.

'Pursuing the truth'

Announcing his new project in a statement, Mr Omidyar said he wanted to support "independent journalists in a way that leverages their work to the greatest extent possible, all in support of the public interest".

His project, he said, was in its early stages but he had approached Greenwald and found that he and fellow Americans Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, an investigative journalist, were already contemplating something similar.

"We had a lot of overlap in terms of our ideas, and decided to join forces," said Mr Omidyar.

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Media captionGlenn Greenwald discussed the impact of the Snowden revelations with BBC Newsnight earlier this month

The billionaire said his new outlet would be independent of other media with the focus on allowing independent journalists to "pursue the truth in their fields".

"And, I want to find ways to convert mainstream readers into engaged citizens," he said in the statement.

Mr Omidyar's existing projects include the US-based Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm which operates in some of Africa's most troubled countries.

Forbes magazine estimated the Frenchman's net worth to be $8.5bn (£5.3bn; 6.3bn euros) last month.

Announcing his departure in a statement on Tuesday, Greenwald said he was embarking on a "once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity".