Winner 2014

FRONTLINE: United States of Secrets

FRONTLINE, in association with Kirk Documentary Group, Rain Media

In a landscape where state secrecy battles digital openness, United States of Secrets, a FRONTLINE documentary, charts a devastating expose of the National Security Agency and a troubling portrayal of official American efforts to track the phone and internet relays of private citizens. Packing an avalanche of comprehensive detail into a two-part documentary, the program painstakingly pieces together the steps taken to shape the last two decades of U.S. government surveillance. The resulting context is chilling: an intricate record of domestic spying since 9/11, punitive measures against NSA employees who refused to toe the line, and strategic attempts to ensure the support of Silicon Valley. Rich, provocative and methodical, United States of Secrets rebuilds the environment that helped drive Edward Snowden’s dumping of an unprecedented amount of classified information. It traces both the extent of government activity in keeping its surveillance plans on track and the lives diminished by that process. For opening our eyes to what happens when the boundaries of the permissible get stretched beyond repair, United States of Secrets earns a Peabody Award.


Executive Producer for FRONTLINE: David Fanning. Deputy Executive Producer for FRONTLINE: Raney Aronson-Rath. For Part 1: Producers: Michael Kirk, Jim Gilmore, Mike Wiser. Director: Michael Kirk. Writers: Michael Kirk, Mike Wiser. Reporter: Jim Gilmore. Editorial Consultant: Barton Gellman. Editor: Steve Audette. Coordinating Producer: Colette Neirouz Hanna. Director of Photography: Ben McCoy. Associate Producer: Lauren Ezell. Narrator: Will Lyman. Assistant Editor: Elliott Choi. Production Assistant: Eliza Hamilton. For Part 2: Writer and Producer: Martin Smith. Co-Producers: Linda Hirsch, Ben Gold. Editor: Ben Gold. Director of Photography: Ben McCoy. Editorial Consultant: Barton Gellman. Reporter: Dan Sugarman. Narrator: Will Lyman. Additional Photography: Timothy Grucza, Rachel Beth Anderson.