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April 14, 2014

NSA spy report among potential Pulitzer contenders

NEW YORK — The Pulitzer Prizes, journalism's highest honor, will be announced Monday.

Among the potential contenders are reporters who revealed the massive U.S. government surveillance effort. Revelations about the spy programs were first published in June in The Guardian and The Washington Post, which last week received a George Polk Award for national security reporting.

Other reporters who are potential Pulitzer contenders include Andrea Elliott of The New York Times for her five-part series "Invisible Child" and John Cichowski of The Record, who helped break open the Gov. Chris Christie bridge scandal.

The disclosures by The Guardian and The Post showed that the National Security Agency has collected information about millions of Americans' phone calls and emails based on its classified interpretations of laws passed after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The documents revealed that telephone and Internet companies such as Verizon, AT&T, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook have been cooperating with the government on these national security programs.

The stories were based on thousands of documents handed over by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The reports were published by Barton Gellman of The Post and Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewan MacAskill of The Guardian, all of whom shared the Polk Award for national security reporting.

The public was outraged to learn of the dragnet surveillance. And the disclosures have led to proposed overhauls of some U.S. surveillance programs, changes in the way the government spies on foreign allies, additional disclosures to defendants in some terrorism cases and demands from private companies to share details about government cooperation with their customers and shareholders.

Snowden has been charged with three offenses in the U.S., including espionage, and could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted. He is currently living in Russia, which granted him asylum for one year.

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