August 22, 2013

I've met Jeffrey Toobin and he was a nice guy. I've agreed with many of his arguments in the past, but he's completely out of line and he has been ever since the Snowden revelations came to light. I know he considers himself a journalist as well as a legal expert, but why then does he get to act like an NSA official or dare I say, Michael Hayden, whenever he discusses Snowden? His words were not only wrong-headed, but they were pig-headed too.

Jack Mirkinson:

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin raised eyebrows on Tuesday when he compared the partner of Glenn Greenwald to a "drug mule." The detention of David Miranda at London's Heathrow airport under a controversial section of a British anti-terrorism law has caused a political scandal in the UK. Miranda was held for nine hours, and his electronic equipment was confiscated. Lawyers for Miranda signaled on Tuesday that he would be taking legal action against the British government.Toobin—who has been harshly critical of Greenwald and NSA leaker Edward Snowden—appeared on Anderson Cooper's show just after Miranda himself, along with Greenwald, spoke about his experience.

Asked if he thought the British were right to detain Miranda, Toobin said, "I sure do." "I don't want to be unkind, but he was a mule," he said. "He was given something, he didn't know what it was, from one person to pass to another at the other end of an airport. Our prisons are full of drug mules." "They knew who he was, they knew he wasn't connected to some terrorist group," Cooper pointed out."

If terrorists know how we surveil their cell phone call, how we surveil their texts, that could be useful to terrorists," Toobin said. "But couldn't any information published by journalists be used by journalists in some way, and can't that excuse be used to detain journalists?" Cooper asked. "It would have to be classified information of this kind," Toobin said. He later added that "the word journalism is not magical immunity sauce that you can put on anything and eliminate any sort of liability." Jesselyn Radack, a former whistleblower who works for the Government Accountability Project, defended Miranda against Toobin's assertions, calling them "vacuous."

Glenn Greenwald makes a great point:

David was paid by the Guardian, as Cooper pointed out, so he should be given the protections that paper is entitled to. This remark by Toobin was very telling:

"the word journalism is not magical immunity sauce that you can put on anything and eliminate any sort of liability."

Voila, he magically gets to decide what is and isn't journalism. Read Jay Rosen's piece called The Toobin Principle. (h/t Digby)

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