December 25, 2013

CNN's Dana Bash was filling in for Jake Tapper and interviewed Barton Gellman over his exclusive interview with Edward Snowden. Dana Bash's performance was overly snooty, aggressive, unprofessional and is a prime example of the sickness that inhabits the beltway media elites over Snowden's NSA revelations. Snowden's actions in exposing the enormous NSA surveillance state that now exists in America should have won him the Person of the Year award from Time Magazine since his story has rocked the world ever since, but if you've watched the Beltway media's reaction to him, you knew that would never happen.

In his interview he feels that he's done his job and the mission has been completed.

Snowden offered vignettes from his intelligence career and from his recent life as “an indoor cat” in Russia. But he consistently steered the conversation back to surveillance, democracy and the meaning of the documents he exposed.

“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

“All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,” he said. “That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals.”

Please read the entire interview because if you think you'll understand it after you watch this CNN interview, you would be mistaken. CNN booked Barton Gellman for an interview and as Digby writes, "Barton had to fend off some of the snottiest questioning I've ever seen a reporter have to put up with."

Here's a taste of Bash's master hackery:

BASH: One of the many criticisms of Snowden and the reason why people call him a traitor is because they say he should have used the internal process to make his concerns known internally, and not take it to the press the way he did, and unveil all of these deep, dark secrets of the U.S. government. He told you that he actually did try. The NSA in your story denied that he even did that. They said there's no record of him raising his hand and saying, I think that this is not a good program to have, we shouldn't be spying on people in the United States the way we are.

GELLMAN: I believe that the NSA has no record of the conversations that he had with four superiors and 15 co-workers about his qualms. He described them in some detail. The NSA also acknowledged to me that they have not asked any of his superiors or his co-workers whether he had conversations like that.

Riiiight, because the internal process of the NSA is such a fair and noble process.

GELLMAN: Yes, I'm not going to pass judgment on what he said.

What he believes is that the congressional Intelligence Committees and the FISA court, the special surveillance court that oversees some of the NSA's work, had become a graveyard of judgment, that they were captured by the system, that they were completely inside the bubble, and that they were not asking fundamental questions, like should the NSA be sort of taking in all of the...

BASH: But how would he have known that as a low-level guy in Hawaii? How would he know that those questions weren't asked?

GELLMAN: What he knows is that throughout the period that these programs were operating, a period of over a decade under various authorities, there was no congressional effort to scale them back. And in fact, that's correct. There was none.

BASH: Just a final question. Reading this story, he seems like he's very proud of himself. As you said, he's serene, that he did the right thing, almost that like he feels like a martyr for what he thinks is a just cause. If that's the case, why is he hiding? Why not come back and face the music?

So now Snowden considers himself a martyr? How sophomoric is that? This line of thinking in the Beltway, that he should face the music, has been the most odious type of questions that persist to this day. First of all, why does Bash think he should face the music? Isn't she a journalist, too? In these times, whistleblowers are being left out to dry by this country, so he knew what his fate would be. The fact that he gave up a high-paying job, his country and a relationship because of his commitment to exposing the NSA's unparalleled access to all of our personal data hasn't exactly been a day in the park so far. Props to Barton Gellman for refusing to get into the mud with Dana and acting like a real journalist here.

GELLMAN: Well, I don't think he would call himself a martyr or use language like that. He told me six months ago...

BASH: But he did say to you in several ways that he knew that, by doing what he did, that the consequences were going to be unbelievably tough. And he looked around and said, these people aren't going to do it, so I have to do it. That is in some ways being a martyr for the cause that he believes in.

Of course the consequences were going to be high, but that doesn't make him a martyr. Is she trying to paint him as a suicide bomber?

GELLMAN: Well, I'm not going to put words like that in his mouth. It doesn't feel quite like the spirit of what he was saying.

What he was saying was that he knew that there would be consequences regardless, whether he faced trial. He considered it a possibility that there would be physical harm done to them if any government thought it could stop him from making these disclosures. And he also told me from the start that he wanted to create a model, set an example, in which one could resist, one could dissent, one could take secrets and place them in the public domain without being crushed by it.

He wanted to show that you could blow the whistle and continue to live a life. So that's what he's trying to do.


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