June 25, 2013

Did Andrew Ross Sorkin actually say Glenn Greenwald should be arrested over the NSA/Snowden case? Well, Sorkin is denying he really meant it to Glenn via Twitter, but after you watch the clip I think you'll have a different take. Just listen to his vocal inflections as he describes what he's feeling.

There is speculation [Snowden's] planning to fly to Havana en route to Ecuador. The government of Ecuador has confirmed it is considering an asylum application for Snowden. He faces American espionage charges now after he admitted to revealing classified documents. I got to say, this is — I feel like, A, we’ve screwed this up to even let him get to Russia. B, clearly the Chinese hate us to even let him out of the country. That says something. Russia hated us and we knew that beforehand but that’s sort of — and now, I don’t know. And my second piece of this…I would arrest him and now I’d almost arrest Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who seems to be out there, he wants to help him get to Ecuador.

WTF does "almost" mean in this context? Nothing at all. His remarks help push the meme that Greenwald is an outsider and not a real journalist who should be arrested. There's no evidence whatsoever that Greenwald is helping him in his travels. NONE. My God. Media elites are trying to make actual investigative journalism illegal when it's directed at the government.

This insane idea really took off when David Gregory broached the subject earlier Sunday morning when I was traveling back to Los Angeles.

GREGORY: To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movement, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald be charged with a crime?

GREENWALD: I think it's pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence – the idea that I've aided and abetted him in any way...

What do you expect from Dancing Dave, who is a platinum member of the Beltway weenie roast club, but it's still a shocking question that he posed to Greenwald nonetheless. And it's even more insidious because of the fact that he is someone who uses secret government leaks in his own reporting.

We’ve written many times about the importance of leaks and the First Amendment right to publish government secrets, but ironically, no one demonstrates Greenwald’s point better than Gregory himself. Literally minutes before, in the same segment, Gregory explained what government officials told him about a secret FISA court opinion from 2011 that ruled some of NSA’s surveillance unconstitutional.
The contents of that opinion are still classified, and in fact, just last week, the Daily Beast called FISA court opinions some “of the most highly classified documents inside the U.S. government.” Does David Gregory think he should be charged with a crime for talking to sources, asking questions about classified information, and then reporting what he learned?

Journalist James Risen, who won a Pulitzer prize for his reporting in 2005 on the illegal NSA program of warrantless wiretapping of US citizens.

Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.

Do you remember any calls for him to be arrested by other journalists?

Eric Wemple has a good take down of Dave at the WaPo.

David Gregory’s logic has a cursory appeal. Why wouldn’t Greenwald have the courage to take on the issues swirling around his reporting? Shouldn’t a Sunday talk show host have the latitude to pose tough questions to another journalist?Of course. Too bad, however, Gregory didn’t do that. Rather, he seeded his question with a veiled accusation of federal criminal wrongdoing, very much in the tradition of “how long have you been beating your wife.” To repeat the question: “To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?”Bolded text added to highlight a clause loaded with assumption, accusation, baselessness and recklessness. A simple substitution exercise reveals the tautological idiocy of the query: “To the extent that you have murdered your neighbor, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?”


Digby wraps up her great post on the same topic with this:

Update: Glenn Greenwald explains to Greg Sargent why the idea he was in cahoots with Snowden before he took the job at Booz Allen is bullshit.

Maybe we can all put away our kerning manuals for a minute and get back to whether or not it's ok if the US government is spying on everyone because: terrorists. And hey, maybe we can even take a look at why they have declared war on whistleblowers and journalists and have instituted programs to make federal workers inform on each other. I know it's not as much fun, but it really is important.

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