Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Great Leak Forward -- UPDATE

In his ongoing crusade to insure that Very Tight Focus is kept on the substance of NSA domestic surveillance and the flaccidity of the FISA court and not on distracting side issues, Mr. Glenn Greenwald -- the principal reporter and curator of this very important and consequential story -- has given yet another interview to yet another major news outlet.  

This time Mr. Greenwald was interviewed (Exclusively!) by Chinese state television. 

That interview focused almost entirely on:
  • Edward Snowden's superhuman tranquility.
  • The fact that America spies on Brazil.
  • Apparent confirmation (or at least no denial) that among the thousands of classified documents Mr. Snowden stole (and copies of which are now in Mr. Greenwald's possession) are lists of the names and identities of undercover CIA agents.
  • Apparent confirmation that Mr. Greenwald carries these thousands of highly classified documents on his person at all times, but that they are all perfectly safe because he has stashed the encryption keys where no one can find them.
  • Mr. Greenwald's assurance that every story published is the product of rigorous assessment of that story's public interest value.
  • Unnamed but "very prominent political figures and journalists" who have called for Mr. Greenwald's arrest.  Which sounds pretty ominous.  So ominous, in fact, that Mr. Greenwald tells Chinese state television (Exclusively!) that he would be "irrational in the extreme...to ignore those risks". Mr. Greenwald does not mention that, in America, "journalists" can't arrest anyone.  Mr. Greenwald also fails to mention his list of "very prominent" journalists who have done anything remotely like calling for his arrest boils down to Andrew Ross Sorkin (who later profusely apologized),  David Gregory (who is a buffoon who asked a stupid and incompetently-framed question) and a handful of bloggers. 

    Mr. Greenwald also fails to mention to the reporter from Chinese state television that the only leading* "very prominent" political figure who has called for Mr. Greenwald's arrest has been Peter King, who does not have any actual police power and has been, for as long as anyone can remember, one of D.C.'s most reliable go-to guys when you want an elected Republican nutjob to say something inflammatory on the record.  Of course, a story told this way -- "A couple of reporters and one well-known fringe lunatic Congressman made some asinine remarks" -- would not make nearly so interesting a tale of sinister American perfidy to spin on Chinese state television. Exclusively!
  • This glimpse of how Mr. Greenwald believes realpolitik works in the real world -
"Governments can get away with doing only that which the populations of the world let them do.  We see examples of that all the time, where formidable and powerful power centers end up being restricted or even subverted and harmed and ended as a result of backlash from the population that first becomes aware of what they are doing to them then sufficiently angry about it and draws a line."
-- as explained by Mr. Greenwald utterly without irony to the reporter from Chinese state television.
  • Mr. Greenwald's revelation that part of his agenda is to sufficiently embarrass the US government by exposing details of its spying on other governments that the public relations "cost" from "around the world" will too high for them to continue doing it.
Two items which were conspicuous by their absence from Mr. Greenwald's exclusive interview on Chinese state television?   

NSA domestic surveillance and the flaccidity of the FISA court.

*UPDATE:  Correction.  It has been widely reported that there are two other prominent politicians who appear to have said very stupid things about prosecuting Mr. Greenwald.

However, if you look at the actual transcript from the June 9, 2013 "This Week" exchange between George Stephanopoulos, Rep. Stone and Sen. Feinstein on which this widely-repeated assertion is based, it is very clear that neither Sen. Feinstein nor Rep. Stone ever called for Mr. Greenwald to be prosecuted.

And I will present such a case later on as chores, work and various errands and personal matters permit...


Anonymous said...

Scene: Somewhere in Rio

Random starving guy number 1: Hey, isn't that the guy who carries around that list of all the gringo CIA agents? I bet there is someone at that U.S. embassy might good money to get that info back...or maybe even others...

RSG #2: ...fuck money, I want a cheeseburger...but it wont work, because he says it is "encrypted".

RSG #1: Fuck "encrypted" now you got me thinking about cheese burgers....hand me that club....
B.K. or Mdee's?

marindenver said...

He's reminding me more and more of Miss Jean Brody. In Edward Snowden he finally found his Mary McGregor.

Also, too. Tianenmen Square is completely an urban legend.

gratuitous said...

Well, it's not like anyone else anywhere or at anytime could possibly dig into this story, because Greenwald and Snowden have already locked up all the good leads.

Now, if the Glengarry Glen Ross leads were opened, boy, what couldn't the Bulldogs of the Fourth Estate do? Too bad you guys are all stymied by Alec Baldwin denying you coffee.

Anonymous said...

It is disturbing how seamlessly the conversation shifts from pushing back against the extraordinary liberties taken by domestic intelligence agencies on US soil to a broad, "fight the power"-style assault on the purpose of the entire US security/intelligence apparatus in the world. I guess I had no idea that Glenn is such a revolutionary.

If not for the fact that I consider it unwise to unilaterally disarm, I might cheer Glenn on.

-- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

Dude. Sen Dianne Feinstein said she thought Glenn Greenwald should be prosecuted. It's not just Peter fucking King, man. So did Mike Rogers, fwiw.

Anonymous said...

"Now, if the Glengarry Glen Ross leads were opened, boy, what couldn't the Bulldogs of the Fourth Estate do? Too bad you guys are all stymied by Alec Baldwin denying you coffee."

GG doesn't get those leads. Those leads are for closers!

Anonymous said...

Hey Driftglass:

Still no video function on iOS devices. Just blank space.
Could that possibly be intentional?
It seems....odd.

Tony Areyououtofyourfuckingmind said...

Greenwald scares me. He seems, somehow, icky in ways I've never before imagined, let alone endured. God bless America. God bless it for making sure he isn't here among us, the non-icky people.

Lumpy Lang said...

Outside of Droneglass' little patriotic bubble here, Washington is universally understood to be the most dangerous, murderous and aggressive imperialist power on the planet.

Is that in dispute?

Not to mention the fact that the U.S. ruling class imprisons its own citizens at a rate several orders of magnitude higher than does the PRC.

mahakal said...

Well it does appear that Paul Campos @ LGM got it wrong after all. Nonetheless, it is certainly the case that prominent "journalists" like David Gregory asked whether Glenn Greenwald should be prosecuted, and there were others who demanded this in print media like the Washington Post.

Unserious though it may be, it cannot help but have a chilling effect and an emotional toll on Mr. Greenwald. I think anyone in his situation might feel it worth taking such threats more seriously than might "objectively" seem warranted to an uninvolved bystander.

Dave Tourniquetbreath said...

No, mahakal, there won't be a chilling effect. Why not? Because, goddamn, these news dicks and federal judicial assholes are entirely incompetent. Look, POTUS is among the easiest jobs in the world, next to restaurant reviewer, which can be occasionally demanding. China? A fucking party compared to the good ol' USofA. Maybe their TV is controlled, unlike here...right? Greenwald has nothing to worry about. His enemies are fleas, little pests, easily squashed.

Anonymous said...


I have to disagree.

The people who would dearly like to see Greenwald dry up and blow away would be making a *horrible* mistake dragging him into a court room. Their favorite tools, slander and misinformation, fare rather poorly under cross-examination and I've heard this rumor that Glenn is familiar with the legal system. We should hope they'd be so stupid as to try prosecuting him, because win, lose, or draw I'm confident Greenwald would make excellent use of the coverage.

When prominent members of government start talking about "silencing" (pick a euphemism) Glenn, then I'm on board.

-- Nonny Mouse

Albert Meyer said...

Greenwald published the scoop of the century. Your petty sniping subtracts nothing from his achievement. I too wish that I had the platform, intelligence and skill to do what Glenn does, but I try to channel my jealousy more productively.

Albert Meyer said...

Moderated comments are a mark of cowardice. I dare you to publish my critical comments.

driftglass said...

You "dare" me?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

LOL @ Albert.

be careful, driftglass. He'll go away in a flounce, and never comment here again, if you don't run YOUR blog as HE sees fit!

Harry Selden said...

God, what an insufferable dick. Oh, my lord, "You 'dare' me?" These stupid web names, Driftglass, whatever, some silly SF allusion (or so I assume, as I imagine only some halfwit fan of SF would take a name out of the bland literature), but for christ's fuck of a sake show a spine you fuck. "You 'dare' me?" Yes, you illiterate bombastic dick. yes, he "dared" you.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to have the previous comments bronzed as a monument to what I love most about Glennbots. Self-regarding, tedious, and thin skinned; it's like they are manufactured somewhere.

But yes, Drifty, you'd better be sure to post Albert's "devastating" commentary. He totally nailed you on the issues: Glenn's intelligence and skill; Glenn's untarnished achievements; how disagreements with Glenn are clearly motivated by envy; how he is jealous of Glenn, so you should be too--if you have any sense.

You are outmatched, Driftglass. You'd better shut down all comments before some other brave Glennbot comes in here, filled with barely coherent rage over your villainous insistence on having a diverging opinion about Glenn Greenwald's person, and hoses you down with invective--thus finishing you off for good.

-- Nonny Mouse