The author, right, with Cusack
In my 11 years on the George Polk Awards selection committee the awards luncheon has never been known for breaking news.
On Friday, it had all the elements of a cliffhanger but when Polk award recipients Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitris arrived at Kennedy Airport their clearance through customs was uneventful despite the threat of arrest hanging over their heads. It was uneventful except for the presence of reporters and photographers. Greenwald had not been back to the States since his reporting on the top-secret documents released by Edward Snowden. Poitris had been detained on several occasions while entering the U.S. and Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, had been previously detained in London.
They arrived at the Roosevelt Hotel about halfway through the awards luncheon and took seats with their colleagues from the Guardian newspaper. Their Polk award for National Security Reporting was pushed to the end of the program to allow for their 11 AM arrival from Germany and any problems they might encounter at the airport.
They shared the award with fellow Guardian reporter Ewen MacAskill and Barton Gellman of the Washington Post.
Almost unnoticed was the presence of actor John Cusack whom I talked with as reporters descended on Poitris and Greenwald. It turns out that Cusack is on the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation along with Poitras, Greenwald and Snowden. Could Cusack be researching a roll in an upcoming movie on the Snowden affair? Perhaps. Greenwald’s book comes out in a few months.