Charles Pierce raises a point:
I'm sorry for all the people who don't invite Glenn Greenwald to dinner, but this is actual whistleblowing.
The CIA's dominant position will likely stun outside experts. It represents a remarkable recovery for an agency that seemed poised to lose power and prestige after acknowledging intelligence failures leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.The surge in resources for the agency funded secret prisons, a controversial interrogation program, the deployment of lethal drones and a huge expansion of its counterterrorism center. The agency was transformed from a spy service struggling to emerge from the Cold War into a paramilitary force.
I'm sorry for those people too, whoever they are.
Not for nothing, but I don't know any of those people: my next dinner party will almost certainly involve me making sure pizza and juice are equitably allocated among the three or five or 17 kids who may be onsite when the supper bell rings. I will also probably be in charge of settling border disputes, carving up watermelons and overseeing post-meal bicycle and/or water-balloon fight safety (depending on whether or not it's 107 degrees outside.)
But Mr. Pierce is quite right. Yep. That there is genuine, Pure Quill whistle-blowing. Glad to have it and would like to see more of it.
Mr. Pierce also waxes eloquent on the civic virtues of such whistle-blowing:
There are a number of things we learn -- or have confirmed, which is just as important -- here. First, that the CIA remains a formidable adversary in the political knife-fight between the intelligence agencies. Second, that it now conducts itself in a way that is as distant from its original mandate as discovering one morning that NASA has opened a fruit stand, and in a way manifestly more dangerous and fraught with unintended consequences as anything the agency has done since it was deposing Mossadegh aand Arbenz back in the day. ...All of those things are worthy of public discussion and loud public debate, which is what journalism is supposed to do in this country. ...
Also true. Indisputably.
However, while is not illegal -- nor should it ever be illegal -- for a free press to be free to choose to print or not to print more-or-less whatever it gets its hands on, it is equally true that using the Snowden Trove to give me the Clancyesque details of the raid that killed bin Laden is not whistle-blowing.
These are two different things, in somewhat the same way that, say, journalism is journalism but making shit up is not journalism.
And I cannot begin to describe how strange and sad it is to me that one's good standing in the communion of Liberal saints has suddenly come to depend on one's willingness to pretend that some of these things are happening and others are not.