June 23, 2013

When David Gregory asked Glenn Greenwald: "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mister Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"

On "Meet the Press" today. Greenwald answered (from Brazil):
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. 
How did Gregory "muse about" it? He asked about it.
The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence, the idea that I’ve aided and abetted him in any way.
Where's the assumption? Gregory's "to the extent that" protects him from any charge of assumption. He's giving Greenwald the opportunity to explain himself, and Greenwald is changing the subject from what have you done and why isn't it a crime to how dare you.
GREENWALD: The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the-- the e-mails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory that you just embraced, being a co-conspirator with felony-- in felonies for working with sources. If you want to embrace that theory, it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information is a criminal, and it’s precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States. That’s why the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer said investigative reporting has come to a standstill, her word, as a result of the theories that you just referenced.

GREGORY: Well, the question of who’s a journalist may be up to a debate with regard to what you’re doing....
So, essentially, Greenwald said you don't want to criminalize journalism and Gregory said what counts as journalism?

Gregory moves on to other guests, who talk about Greenwald, and eventually Gregory tells us:
... I want to acknowledge there is a-- a debate on Twitter that goes on online about this even as we are speaking and here’s what Greenwald has tweeted after this appearance this morning, “Who needs the government to try to criminalize journalism when you have David Gregory to do it?” And I want to directly take that on because this is the problem with somebody who claims that he is a journalist, would object to a journalist raising questions which is not actually embracing any particular point of view. And that’s part of the tactics of the debate here when, in fact, lawmakers have questioned him. There is a question about his role in this, The Guardian’s role in all of this. It is actually part of the debate rather than going after the questioner, he could take on the issues and he had an opportunity to do that here on-- on MEET THE PRESS.
Is Gregory part of the problem of criminalizing journalists? Or is Greenwald throwing up a smokescreen to defend himself? As Gregory put it, in the interview with Greenwald: "You're — you-- you are a polemicist here, you have a point of view, you are a columnist, you’re also a lawyer." He's trying to draw the polemicist/journalist line. But I don't think the line is between journalism and everyone else. We all— including polemicists and lawyers — have a right to freedom of speech. And anyone — citizens as well as professional journalists — might play a role in disseminating useful information or — on the other hand — crossing the line into what may be criminal.

124 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

I saw that about an hour after it was broadcast. Gregory is not a sharp knife, but he asked a simple question, and Greenwald came at him roughly. The whole interview was a little angry.

Gahrie said...

Considering Gregory's recent history of "journalistic law breaking", I find it highly amusing that he thought he had the moral authority to ask that question.

cubanbob said...

Pretty rich coming from Gregory.

Bob Ellison said...

Omigoodness! I only just now clicked on your "Click for more" thing. So Gregory says "I want to acknowledge there is a-- a debate on Twitter that goes on online about this even as we are speaking and here’s what Greenwald has tweeted after this appearance this morning..."

Gee, I thought these were live things on TV that you couldn't edit after the fact. Right? It's everyone getting up early on Sunday morning, right? No, wait; you seem to be implying that Greenwald taped this interview at some point in the past. I'm just a watcher, but it seems to me that you have broken the screen.

Hagar said...

ED DRISCOLL: Ride The David Gregory Recursion. “Gregory in particular has a fair amount of prior experience breaking the law as an activist masquerading as a ‘journalist’ himself.”

Jay said...

Gregory has been around, and cheering for, big government his whole adult life. His wife works in big DC law firm and they both are professionally dependent on big government.

His presumptions are viewed through that prism.

Saint Croix said...

Is Gregory part of the problem of criminalizing journalists?

Yes, he is! He's a Pravda journalist, taking the side of the state, and attacking the media. Of course he's part of the problem.

One might add that Greenwald has been "part of the problem" too! At least now his eyes are open and he's shocked at what he's hearing.

Hagar said...


FROM KEN AT POPEHAT: A LOOK AT THE CHARGES AGAINST EDWARD SNOWDEN. “Note that the second and third charges both require the feds to prove that Snowden’s release of information to the press was harmful to the United States. This puts our government in the position of attempting to prove that it is harmful to release accurate information about how it is spying on us, and how it is misleading us about spying on us. Espionage charges usually describe someone with classified information leaking that information to powers hostile to the United States government. We, the people, are those hostile powers.”


Saint Croix said...

At least now his eyes are open and he's shocked at what he's hearing.

I should go with "eyes" and "seeing"

or

"ears" and "hearing"

did not mean to suggest Greenwald is a mutant! (although that would explain some things)

Chip Ahoy said...

Gregory didn't muse or ask, too thick for that, he did what Wolf Blitzer does and merely repeated, "Some have said …"

Commenters to the item I saw attribute that to Fox News, Faux in their argot, but I see it most frequently on CNN for serious damaging questions, there you go for perception.

In my opinion, Greenwald did dodge, and I'd prefer he attack directly by calling Gregory a direct mouthpiece, useful for propaganda, useless for comprehending news.

And to that end I kindly offer Greenwald is free to use my Gregory-gun anim anytime he wishes, Gregg, please feel free to redirect if you like, "You mean this David Gregory? dancing through Washington with his gun?" I see it occasionally, there are a couple Gregorys in a row but this one still cracks me up when I pass it because it's so silly and poorly done. It's yours.

William said...

Nothing that is harmful to Obama can possibly be considered journalism. Journalism is the reporting of Republican excesses and flaws. The reporting on any non functional Obama program or initiative is properly described as Fox propaganda.

Ambrose said...

I am no fan of Gregory, but I think he comes off better here. He asked a fair question. Greemwald should have answered rather than attacking Gregory.

Ann Althouse said...

"Gee, I thought these were live things on TV that you couldn't edit after the fact. Right? It's everyone getting up early on Sunday morning, right? No, wait; you seem to be implying that Greenwald taped this interview at some point in the past. I'm just a watcher, but it seems to me that you have broken the screen."

No, Greenwald was on first. Then he left and got on Twitter. Gregory continued with other guests, and he was aware of what Greenwald wrote on Twitter, and he brought that up.

Bob Ellison said...

You are naïve, Professor.

Ann Althouse said...

"I am no fan of Gregory, but I think he comes off better here. He asked a fair question."

Same here.

Greenwald wasn't acting like a journalist, even as he was relying heavily on his status as journalist.

Maybe G and G have a history I'm not aware of. Gregory usually acts like a nice guy, even as he asks somewhat tough questions. There was no need for Greenwald to be so confrontational, especially insulting him on Twitter right after being given so much time at the top of the show.

It undercuts Greenwald's own argument, as I hear it.

But I don't know what he's heard about his vulnerability under U.S. law. He may be seriously agitated about his legal position. Or he's just hot to pursue his political agenda.

Synova said...

I suppose that Greenwald thought that the story he was covering was the story instead of the journalism being the story but Gregory thought that the journalism was the story.

I've not jumped on any bandwagon, one way or the other concerning Snowden (having held a top secret clearance I have issues and recognize that I'm likely to jump a particular direction so... I haven't) but when I heard about this today I thought... waitaminute... isn't Gregory the guy who...?

And yes, yes he was.

But wow, if we start trying journalists in court for aiding and abetting... just... wow. I can despise journalists from the bottom of my heart for their "I'm not an American, not on a SIDE during war" attitude, but I'm on the "call them out and shame them" side of that rather than the "shoot them for treason" side.

Even Gregory's implied question seem on the "shoot them for treason" side. And I sort of figure, whatever I end up thinking of Snowden, that journalists haven't taken an oath or made a promise to keep anyone's secrets.

Rose said...

You don't hear it? Gregory, like Candy Crowley and Soledad O'Brien, is carrying water for Obama. He meets his match, though. Greenwald isn't backing down.

He knows what it is Snowden has risked his life for.

Hagar said...

I am tired of these exercizes of "If this was the Bush administration ....," but with this Snowden thing I really do think that if this was the Bush administration, there would be a lot more to do about the programs he brought to our attention, and a lot less about his whereabouts, girlfriends, personal hygiene, or whatever.

Hagar said...

Gregory usually acts like a nice guy.

Wow! When did that happen? Are we talking about the same David Gregory? The enfant terrible of NBC?

Cedarford said...

At a certain point,"Rights!!" absolutists need to come up against some hard stops for the good of the nation.

We do need electronic intel and the ability to be able to find stuff if Congress and the courts say it balances public safety with privacy rights .....

We need the ability to not allow enemy agents to pose as heroic 1st Amendment Reporters and journalists out recruiting spies they call heroic whistleblowers who only wish al Qaeda, the Russians, the Chinese to know US info because "they are concerned innocent people will die without F-22 ECM tech specs to allow a means to deter American evil."

It isn't like the Libertarian crap about how only a lawyer hack who bundled money for a Party and got a black robe for his or her troubles can issue a piece of paper to make it All Right..

No robed lawyer with a piece of paper holds a hater of America or spymaster posing as a journalist , or an al Qaeda scout posing as a journalist in Mumbai verifying targets - in check.

The question does need to be asked of people like Greenwald and Assange. Are they criminals trying to hide behind the 1st? Are their agents whistleblowers? Or people little different than Hanssen and Aldrich Ames?

Paul Zrimsek said...

If you want to embrace that theory, it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information is a criminal

Well.....?

Lyle said...

Greenwald isn't really a journalist. He's a lawyer who gets to write about politics and the law in a newspaper.

edutcher said...

"Journolists" brweak the law all the time and then hide behind the First Amendment.

As several have noted, Gregory is one to talk.

bpm4532 said...

Gregory is no longer a journalist. He is a moderator. What stories does he write? What news does he break? What sources does he have.

Gregory's a criminal (illegally possessing an AR15 magazine in D.C.) that relies on the culture of corruption to get a pass when others wouldn't.

Greenwald's point is that Gregory was setting up a straw man to see if Greenwald would accept that as an assumption and therefore the truth.

bpm4532 said...

We have a government run amok.

The base assumption that must be made is that the federal government (this administration) has spied on and used this information to pressure members of congress and their immediate families to support their legislation.

This administration has lost the right to be viewed as innocent until proven guilty.

rhhardin said...

I think you can aid and abet when you're not in the country in question, unless Congress makes laws for the world now.

rhhardin said...

A journalist is one who writes on the day or every day.

It has the same root as diurnal.

Cedarford said...

Synova - "And I sort of figure, whatever I end up thinking of Snowden, that journalists haven't taken an oath or made a promise to keep anyone's secrets."

It is a gray area, but I side with those that say if a journalists efforts empower those seeking to kill or harm Americans - is more towards the treasonous black side of the gray than the other "they did a service that made us better"
- white side.

And enabling espionage agents trying to wrap themselves up as whistleblowers in a 1st Amendment pose - out to "stop needless enemy casualties" - makes people like Assange pert of a criminal and traitorous conspiracy.
We will see where Greenwald lands in public perception (or Rand Paul, fan of the 'heroic' Snowden) ...based on where Snowden finally lands and calls his new home and perhaps discloses who was running him.

Synova said...

"GREGORY: Well, the question of who’s a journalist may be up to a debate with regard to what you’re doing..."

Implying that Gregory IS and Greenwald ISN'T and that some animals are more equal than other animals. And "journalists" against free speech always figure they're the more equal ones.

More equal than you and me. More equal than bloggers like Althouse and Ace. So Gregory can wave around an illegal magazine as a visual aid and advocate policy and get away with it, but just "asks a question" putting the idea out there that Greenwald isn't actually supposed to address, suggesting that Greenwald might be guilty of a crime because he talked to a source that was a criminal.

My mind does boggle at this. Snowden promised certain things about the information he was given access to. Greenwald never did.

edutcher said...

bpm4532 said...

We have a government run amok.

No, the media is running amok and has been doing so for about 50 years.

The government is now a criminal enterprise.

Inga said...

"My mind does boggle at this. Snowden promised certain things about the information he was given access to. Greenwald never did."

6/23/13, 7:53 PM

If one promises to keep certain information secret, yet divulges that secret information to someone that WON'T keep it secret, what good is secret keeping or the desire to keep it a secret? Both are complicit, both should be extradited, both should face espionage charges.

Synova said...

And I should say... that I don't care who talks to Snowden. If he just found some random expatriot American in Hong Kong who had a blog about kittens and would be considered a journalist by no one at all.

And I don't get the suggestion of "aid and abet." If I "aid and abet" a murderer I keep what she did a secret or help to hide the crime... who is hiding something here?... maybe I help her get away, but is Gregory helping Snowden get away? Is Gregory sneaking files into prison baked in a cake?

It was just a really weird question to ask, to just throw out there. Gregory does the "just asking" thing, but we aren't idiots. We understand how that works.

"To the extent you've caused your wife physical pain and psychological harm, Mr. Greenwald, do you think you should be charged with domestic abuse?"

Lucien said...

The whole "t the extent that" premise is what causes the trouble. If he means "to the extent that Greenwald has sent money to Snowden with a list of phone numbers of friendly folks in the Russian government", then, yes.

If it means "to the extent that things Greenwald has said have helped Snowden" then Duh!, no -- First Amendment.

Why is this even a dispute?

Synova said...

Inga... if I have (and I have) top secret information in my possession and I set it down in a public place and someone picks it up and, knowing it is secret, tells people what it said... I'm at fault. No one else.

How far do you want to go with that? The military, for example, classifies everything just out of knee-jerk habit. It's wrong, always, if I decide that something is just too irrelevant to be classified so I ignore that, and it's wrong, always, if I decide to reveal information that I decide is criminal. Can we hypothetically think of some examples? Maybe I know about some women being raped and someone slapped a classified label on the incident... or a village massacred but the mission was classified... if I talk, I'm breaking the law. If someone listens to me, do you really suggest that that civilian be responsible for hiding that classified information and then go to jail if they don't? (There are "proper channels" issues but those, also, are MY responsibility.)

Synova said...

I should say "have had" because I certainly don't at this time...

Tim said...

A hypocritical asshole without standing interviews a sock-puppet-master asshole, and rampant assholery breaks out.

Color me shocked.

Maybe one of these decades we'll get journalism worth paying attention to?

Yeah, I know...

Rhetorical question.

Cedarford said...

Synova - "Implying that Gregory IS and Greenwald ISN'T and that some animals are more equal than other animals. And "journalists" against free speech always figure they're the more equal ones..."

Your default position appears to be anyone reasonably calling themselves a journalist is the same...with all the 1st Amendment claims of a NY Times reporter. A blogger with a laptop? Or by posing as one of state-run Beijing Workers Daily News with full diplomat immunity while being an attache of Chicom cyberwar intel branch...or a Shin Bet agent working as a "Pentagon beat" reporter for the Jerusalem Post free to recruit "whistleblowers".

There are some things needed. Once journalists were a true 4th Estate, tied to the company that owned an actual printing press. Now any lawyer or terrorist or kid hacker in a basement with Internet access can claim to be a heroic reporter or heroic whistleblower working with the media...which could be a fellow kid munching cheetos and publishing a Blog, or the al Alawi terrorist e-magazine monthly.

New rules are needed.

Paco Wové said...

"both should be extradited, both should face espionage charges."

Speaking as someone who generally finds Greenwald to be a loathsome person... what crime did Greenwald commit?

Lem said...

If journalists are confused about their own role... what does it mean to be a journalist?... what does that say about their coverage of the role the government plays in the private lives of the governed?

It's very little wonder why some people seem muddled and confused.

Rabel said...

It's about the tone. Gregory's question appears much more accusatory when seen and heard than when read.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

Synova is spot on here, I think.

Greenwald could have also played the game and given answers like "some so called 'journalists' are content to shill for the administration, to act as lap dogs looking for approval of those in power. They never ask the questions that need to be asked. They never stand up for the truth. No matter how bad the administration's abuses get, they only turn their probing attention on those who stand up and expose the abuses. I, for one, am proud not to be one of those journalists."

Lem said...

Gregory's question appears much more accusatory when seen and heard than when read.

I'm old school... I believe journalists should be seen, seldom heard and definitely never read.

Synova said...

"New rules are needed."

Maybe so.

Journalists, lawyers, therapists and priests aren't required to answer questions about the illegal activities of the people they deal with in their professional capacities.

But I really don't know if even regular folks should be required to report on their fellow citizens to government. I mean, I'd hope that people would turn in a murderer just because it was the right thing to do, and I can see how *helping* a criminal is a crime. (If I know someone plans murder but all I did was give him the gun so I'm innocent because I didn't pull the trigger?)

But do people who aren't those magical few, the journalists or therapists or lawyers or priests, have an obligation to inform to the government on their neighbors? Obama set up a website for that just into his first term...

rhhardin said...

And enabling espionage agents trying to wrap themselves up as whistleblowers in a 1st Amendment pose

Let's not forget horntooters.

Synova said...

Greenwald: "The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the-- the e-mails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory that you just embraced, being a co-conspirator with felony-- in felonies for working with sources."

"accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory that you just embraced"

Thought I'd repeat that part.

We're not in danger of giving too many additional people the right to refuse to be a stooge of government.

(And then there are the requirements that doctors and therapists report all sorts of things to the government so that going to therapy and saying "I'm angry and depressed that my wife died" means that the Sheriff shows up to confiscate your guns.)

ndspinelli said...

Inga, You're absolutely correct. They should share a cell w/ that videotape guy who killed Americans in Benghazi w/ that inflammatory video of Mohammed.

Big Mike said...

Greenwald is changing the subject from what have you done and why isn't it a crime to how dare you.

So did David Gregory bring in Bill Keller for comparable questioning when the New York Times exposed the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program? Seems to me that Gregory was just fine with the "public's right to know" talking points back in 2006. I can assure Mr. Gregory that the public has an even stronger right to know with respect to this administration's programs since they seem to be targeted at ordinary American citizens and not at al Qaeda.

Lem said...

It undercuts Greenwald's own argument, as I hear it.

Greenwald wanted to have his cake... and told Gregory to buzz off when Gregory asked him how come the cake wound up in Hong Kong, alone together with him, and its now palling around with who's who of Americas enemies.

(Another cliché saved for posterity)

Lem said...

Idea for a new tag.

Greenwald is like Snowden.

Its too bad the NSA already has dibs... They had it as I typed it... even before I hit the publish tab.

Journalism?

No such thing.

Lem said...

Its not Aiding and Abetting until Perjured Holder says it is...

We are in big trouble people.

Hagar said...

The biggest scandal in the Rosen case is that the Justice Dept. perjured themselves before a colluding Federal judge in order to get Mr. Rosen's phone records, and that, when bearded about it, the Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Eric Holder, just said it was too bad that they had to do that, and the law had ought to be changed so that they could get the records without having to perjure themselves!

And the interviewer, Pete Williams of NBC News just let that pass!!

Sharc said...

Question was not a fair one. I immediately searched the comments for "wife" to see if anyone had yet compared Gregory's phrasing to the old wife-beater cross-examination chestnut. Synova FTW.

traditionalguy said...

It is slander per se to call a man a criminal,

Slander using a sophisticated psyops general enemy of the people evilness by association campaign is all that can be done to Snowden except Murdering him or his family. asking Greenwald why the same fate should not be his is a direct attack that amounts to terroristic threats and acts.

greenwald is justified in reacting in anger at that arrogant little SOB.

Hagar said...

Well, there is one thing about this: Holder now knows the DoJ need not perjure themselves again to get anyone's phone records; they can just ask the NSA and get them, including the actual conversations, from the NSA, and nobody will ever be the wiser.

Zeb Quinn said...

The smell of schadenfreude is in the air.

rhhardin said...

Maybe Snowden is going to the Galapagos Islands to be with albatrosses.

rhhardin said...

We all have our albatross to bear.

Obama could use it on the Presidential Seal.

Lem said...

My impression used to be that the higher the office, the higher the standard the office holder applied to himself so as to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Not too long ago, Holder would have never survived holding on to the office like he has.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blue@9 said...

Whatever you think of Snowden, his actions resemble those of a whistleblower more than a spy. For what foreign power or financial reward did he act? Why did he disclose his identity and explain his motives? As for Greenwald, has he behaved like a journalist or like a member of a spy network? Maybe he hates America, but he writes a column for the Guardian and has used it to expose what he claims are illegal and immoral programs.

I don't know how one could approve of similar acts in the past (say the Pentagon Papers) and then call Snowden a spy. I don't know how you could accuse Greenwald of aiding and abetting espionage without doing the same to every other investigative journalist.

And what about Admin-approved leaks--is anyone going to prosecute Leon Panetta? Or is someone a spy only when his leaks embarrass the Administration?

Writ Small said...

Whatever you think of Snowden, his actions resemble those of a whistleblower more than a spy.

Snowden worked for less than three months at a spy agency and then passed sensitive information to the press while seeking refuge with our greatest strategic rivals.

That makes him rather unique as whistleblowers go.

Zeb Quinn said...

What is the distinction between Snowden/Greenwald and Ellsberg/Sheehan/NYT?

Lem said...

That makes him rather unique as whistleblowers go.

Memorable whistleblowers go under oath... not glove trotting under cloak.

Alex said...

I feel as though a huge chill has just run through America. We are that close to becoming the Soviet Union.

Alex said...

I predict PRISM will be the #1 issue of the 2014 elections.

Tim said...

Alex said...

"I predict PRISM will be the #1 issue of the 2014 elections."

Not among low information voters will it.

And, since they are determinative, they rule.

For better insight, ask Inga what the #1 issue of the 2014 elections will be.

I'm setting the over/under at "free tampons."

Mike H. said...

Lem "Memorable whistleblowers go under oath..."

In the present political environment? Are we sure we would even hear about it?

Inga said...

I'm sure it will be all about free vaginal probes, not tampons per se.

Ken said...

Ann's idiot question: Where's the assumption?

The assumption, in the very first part of the question, is "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden".

Gregory's "to the extent that" protects him from any charge of assumption.

No it doesn't. It is the assumption. He's quite clearly assuming aiding and abetting, then asking if the extent to which that aiding and abetting is criminal.

changing the subject from what have you done and why isn't it a crime to how dare you.

No it isn't. Gregory made an assumption and accused Greenwald with aiding and abetting Snowden. Greenwald simply turned the table to Gregory to see what, if any, evidence Gregory has for that accusation.

Is Gregory part of the problem of criminalizing journalists?

Yes.

Steve said...

Clearly they are both tools. We just have to figure out which definition of tool we choose.

Rose said...

At this point, we're in the Matrix. Snowden may not be holed up in a safe room at the Moscow Airport at all. Who knows if it is really Snowden who tweeted a request for asylum to Ecuador. And what evidence is there that he has given ANYTHING to either the Chinese, Russians or anyone else besides Greenwald and US?

The Chinese don't need him to tell them what they already knew - but they are likely amused that he is telling US what we did not know.

Obama's goons got him elected by unsealing private divorce records. And the people gave that horrific crew the keys to the candy store. Washington DC and all the secrets that lie within, and gave them unfettered access to everyone's records - and they know how to use it.

Who have they used it against? Who have they threatened? And to what extent.

This goes way beyond Woodward's admission that he was threatened. And Lanny davis said he was, too.

What about Petraeus? Roberts? Who else?

Pray for Snowden's safety, he may be the proverbial last honest man.

KB said...

The only questions is, which interest does the crime advance? Gregory broke a law in favor of this administration when he used a high capacity magazine on his show. Greenwald embarrassed the president. In a sane world, the law would be neutral. The next best one would at least favor Greenwald. Alas, we live in a world where people think David Gregory is an actual journalist. Hardly something I'd call he province of a sane world.

Mark said...

Greenwald's response should have been "Indict me. Let's get to the discovery phase quickly."

The waterboys for the Administration need to start thinking about where it ends.

Jquip said...

Cedarford: "New rules are needed."

Under what notion? If a journalist is someone speaking about what they know and don't on topics that interest them, then Basement Cheeto Bloggers are just fine.

But you seem to be under the apprehension that someone is only a jounalist if they are receiving remuneration to speak about what they know and don't on topics that interest them. If there's document duplication involved.

Which makes Althouse a journalist (see the advertisements in the sidebar on the fresh copy of the document you receive by visiting the page.) and makes you... not a journalist. Not here anyways. In which case you seem be no greater than a Basement Cheeto Blogger. And so, by extension, not entitled to the 1st Amendment under your argument.

If I've understood your argument properly then it means no more than that you need to step up to the plate and STFU under your own guidelines.

The problem here is not about some nebulous notion of what a journalist may or may not be. It's whether or not the government is or should be permitted to jail you for speaking about those things of which you're aware.

Or, ostensibly, to jail you for speaking about speaking to someone that might some day be charged with crime, or has been charged with a crime. Which is a really bizarre notion not of guilt by association but of built by speaking about an association.

Lastly, and fundamentally, it needs to be reiterated since it is so often gobsmacking wrong: Freedom of the press means a Press. A physical object that duplicates documents. A Pressman is the sort of fellow that runs a Press. It does not mean someone that 'writes things' for others; with pay or not under any old rules or whatever your new ones might be. And yes, the Founding Fathers could hardly have predicted the internet -- a decentralized network of document duplicators -- any more than they could have predicted advances in document duplication technology. Which is exactly why the Constitution makes no provisions for patent grants to assist and encourage people to improve things like document duplication devices.

Mark said...

Of course our enemies like seeing this. What Snowden has revealed is that really our government isn't any better than any other makeshift excuse for seizing power and using it for more power and more personal gain.

The question for everyone debating this, including our host, is would you hide that information from the citizenry because there will be short-term damages to the interests of our current leadership? (I'm assuming that nothing in Snowden's treasure chest actually makes us more vulnerable to attack, except maybe from really pissed off PTA members.)

Achilles said...

When Obama leaked we were responsible for stuxnet was that damaging to our national security? I doubt we lost any real contacts or agents and it was already done.

But when Obama leaked the underwear bomber capture I guarantee there were sources burned and people probably died.

Now Snowden leaked that the US is spying intrusively on American citizens in a warantless fassion directly contravening the 4th amendment.

Which is worse?

Achilles said...

@Synova

My clearance is still active but I am read off everything. I know what Snowden was talking about though in a different situation. We were targeting AQ and the Taliban. These programs were a tool when used on our enemies and definitely valuable. When our federal government turned these programs on citizens and started using its authority to suppress dissent it stepped over a line.

You retards who keep saying Snowden should have testified under oath or not gone to another country are just ridiculous. If he had done that he would be locked in a shipping container in a far away country by now. There is zero space for whistle blowing in intel.

Mark said...

Hey, for those of you new to the game:

The First Rule of Paranoia is that false positives don't kill you, the negatives do.

Sluggh said...

The question is tantamount to "What makes you think you're not a criminal?"

Mark said...

I would now like to paraphrase Ms. Rosa Parks: "If the law is wrong, break it."

Mark said...

Memorable whistleblowers go under oath

Eh, to the best of my knowledge no one has said "under oath" that anything Snowden has stated is inaccurate.

I may be behind the curve, correct me if I'm wrong.

But for what it's worth, (yeah, I know, two of those in one comment) I don't begrudge a man his basic survival instinct. No matter what his motive, indulge his desire for a little more time on this mortal coil.

Jquip said...

Achilles: "When Obama leaked we were responsible for stuxnet was that damaging to our national security?"

Which raises an interesting question: Should the Executive be able to declassify what it has decided to classify?

If the answer is no, then is necessary that the Legislative detail what is even permitted to be classified in the first place. But how then would one show that the Executive was violating the law by classifying what it shouldn't?

It's rather akin to child pornography: You've committed a crime if you see it; no matter how that came to pass. But how then can one have a trial by jury if the jury, prosecutor, and defense, are all guilty of the same crime by witnessing the evidence against the accused?

Easy, you exempt the specially for the purpose and make the evidence secret otherwise. No one outside can know what the evidence was nor make their own judgement about the matter.

Now, let's say that the person you wish to try is the Prosecutor's boss. It's a bit facetious to go to his office and ask him to task one of his prosecutors to try him for a crime.

If you go to some other prosecutor's office and present the evidence then...? If you're wrong then no harm, no foul. Where 'by wrong' doesn't mean that he was acquitted or not. It means that every last piece of documentation was not, in fact, child pornography. If you're correct, then you've distributed child pornography. We could simply shield and make immune everyone that attempted to distribute child pornography for the purpose of pursuing criminal justice. But that's tantamount to saying that no one can be prosecuted for distributing child pornography.

Roughly the same thing with classified documentation. Namely, that if you make everyone immune from distributing it, for the sake of seeing justice pursued, then you can hardly prosecute anyone that distributes it. Up to and including the guy in charge of it all; currently Obama. If you say that you will hold no one immune, then no one can pursue prosecution except the very guy violating the law.

Or, if the president is allowed to classify and declassify as he sees fit. Then he need only need classify everything and no one is allowed to know what the government is up to, or even speak of it, without committing a crime. Regardless if they knew whether it was classified or not. And regardless of whether it was judged to be classified only *after* they spoke of it.

Being that you mentioned bouncing around with intel types I'll keep the last thought brief: There's no sense in classifying anything that is not both military and within such time frame as to be actionable intel by the opposing party. Where 'military' means strength, location, or operation. Which is to say, very little, and only in a time of war. The same sort of time we permit suspending Habeus Corpus, etc.

Otherwise it seems best to simply state that the work product of the employee of the American people belongs to the American people.

edsheppa said...

Jeez Ann, you're being thicker than usual. This is just Gregory's way of paying back The One for quashing any charge for having that illegal high capacity magazine.

edsheppa said...
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Mark said...

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

What is a soldier? What is a house?

Does a house end at your doors? Really?

Is a soldier only a smelly guy with arguable habits?

Soldiers every day now sit in perfectly safe boxes and blow their targets to greasy bits.

And I'm told what I buy on Kindle is mine, so where does my house end or begin?

Mark said...

Suddenly the Third Amendment is relevant.

Mark said...

Can a soldier be a computer virus?

Can it be a computer trojan horse?

If not, why not? In practice, either reports back to a superior who might not have rank but is still a government agent, with the power of the government behind it.

Soldiers have always been assumed to have free will, but the software can't be granted the same grace. But the software is a tool, and the tool users need to be prosecuted for what they've done with the tools.

Because in the end, they fucked everything our country is about.

Mark said...

Can a soldier be an entity that has a record of everything you've ever looked at or everyone you've ever talked to?

This entity can fuck you royally. Is it a soldier?

David said...

The distinction between journalists and others engaging in speech is very dangerous. Mainstream journalists are now more than ever dependent on the state. Their broadcasts need licenses, their interviewers need credentials and access. The government can and will make or break them, individually and institutionally.

The "citizen journalist" is not a new phenomenon. Back in the day, an enterprising citizen could start a newspaper with very little. The papers were very partisan, but there were a lot of them, with many points of view. This fostered debate and discussion.

Today the electronic citizen journalist plays this role. As government gains more and more power to cow the mighty among journalists (and the journalists become more timid and banal), the common citizen needs the same speech protection as the institutional journalist.

Mark said...

AND the "how dare you equate software to grunts expected to charge machine gun nests" will start soon if I've hit a nerve.

Outcomes trump meat, at a certain level. Software is frankly cheaper right now.

I need another drink.

Mark said...
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Mark said...

The Third Amendment will be the most important battleground of this century. Where does your home begin and end?

edutcher said...

Inga said...

My mind does boggle at this. Snowden promised certain things about the information he was given access to. Greenwald never did.

If one promises to keep certain information secret, yet divulges that secret information to someone that WON'T keep it secret, what good is secret keeping or the desire to keep it a secret? Both are complicit, both should be extradited, both should face espionage charges.


The She Devil of the SS goes all law and order when her Messiah is made to look like the fool he is.

It is to laugh.

Tim said...

I predict PRISM will be the #1 issue of the 2014 elections.

Not among low information voters will it.

And, since they are determinative, they rule.


In the midterms?

The "low info voters", which, may I remind everyone, have been with us since Washington, don't even look up from the Kardashians for the midterms.

If the midterms are stolen, the vote fraud is going to be palpable.

Moneyrunner said...

This post is stupider than usual for Ann. First, the question Gregory asked was not a question, it was an accusation dressed in drag. Second, the attention is Snowden is a distraction from the point that Team Obama is listening in on every electronic byte that’s out there. The only relatively secure methods we now have of communicating is whispers in wide open spaces or hand written notes delivered in person.

Paul Zrimsek said...

what crime did Greenwald commit?

(e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it... Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. -18 USC 793 (Espionage Act)

ed said...

@ Inga

"If one promises to keep certain information secret, yet divulges that secret information to someone that WON'T keep it secret, what good is secret keeping or the desire to keep it a secret? Both are complicit, both should be extradited, both should face espionage charges."

**LAUGH**

So. NYT reporter & editorial staff need to go to prison then? For their actions that violated national secrets during the Bush administration?

**LAUGH**

Matthew Sablan said...

My irony meter is broken.

Charlie said...

AA: "We all— including polemicists and lawyers — have a right to freedom of speech."

Just to be clear, we all have a right to freedom of the press too, that is, to put our words into print as well as speech. The use of the word "press" to refer to a profession was not established until well into the 20th century. Before that and since and in our Constitution, "press" refers to the contraption that prints our words, and nothing more. Gregory and Greenwald have precisely the same freedom of the press that I do; the argument "who is a journalist?" is phoney.

Inga said...

ed,


"what crime did Greenwald commit?

(e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it... Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. -18 USC 793 (Espionage Act)"

6/24/13, 6:10 AM

Laughing at you buddy.

Charlie said...

AA: "We all— including polemicists and lawyers — have a right to freedom of speech."

Just to be clear, we all have a right to freedom of the press too, that is, to put our words into print as well as speech. The use of the word "press" to refer to a profession was not established until well into the 20th century. Before that and since and in our Constitution, "press" refers to the contraption that prints our words, and nothing more. Gregory and Greenwald have precisely the same freedom of the press that I do; the argument "who is a journalist?" is phoney.

damikesc said...

If one promises to keep certain information secret, yet divulges that secret information to someone that WON'T keep it secret, what good is secret keeping or the desire to keep it a secret? Both are complicit, both should be extradited, both should face espionage charges.

Was the SCOTUS incorrect in its Pentagon Papers verdict?

Should Bush have imprisoned the NYT reporters for their reporting on his surveillance programs?

Your default position appears to be anyone reasonably calling themselves a journalist is the same...with all the 1st Amendment claims of a NY Times reporter

I'd label the non-NYT "reporter" as a journalist while the employee of the NYT is a propagandist.

Nice to see most "civil libertarians", who felt Bush looking at library records was horrendous, are cool with imprisoning journalists for reporting on things the gov't doesn't like.

X said...

read that statute carefully Inga. you're guilty too.

Unknown said...

Greenwald occasionally understands that a reality exists outside of the world he's created in his own mind.

Gregory? Well, he's living in a reality created solely from within the depths of his own mind. To him, the rest of the world, the real world, is comprised of shadows and strange dreams.

Strelnikov said...

Shorter Gregory: How dare you left wing journalist attack, even indirectly, My One and Only?

(Man, that's awkward. But Gregory never was very well spoken.)

Robert Cook said...

"I can despise journalists from the bottom of my heart for their 'I'm not an American, not on a SIDE during war' attitude, but I'm on the 'call them out and shame them' side of that rather than the 'shoot them for treason' side."

Since when has there been a plague of journalists operating with the attitude of "I'm not an American, not on a SIDE during war?" To the contrary, most of our journalists are gung-ho cheerleaders for our wars and are generally credulous and unskeptical when questioning either our civilian or military leadership in the run-ups to war or during them. This "America, Fuck Yeah!"** attitude has hobbled and perverted much of the information we get regarding our wars, and too many government lies have been propagated as truth by journalists all too willing to accept those lies unquestioningly, or to publish what they know to be propaganda as being in service to the government's political agenda.

**From TEAM AMERICA, a great movie!

Steve Koch said...

So Gregory asks Greenwald when he stopped beating his husband and Althouse is surprised that Greenwald responds by asking Gregory when he stopped beating his wife. It's a brand new world every day for Althouse.

BTW, Gregory is a full time lefty propagandist worthy of zero respect. I don't know much about Greenwald but programs that spy on all Americans are unconstitutional and need to be revealed.

Accusing Snowden of spying cuz he revealed a vast unconstitutional program of spying on all Americans is Orwellian.

Snowden was wise to leave the country before he suffered an early heart attack, car wreck, or some other painful fatality.

The best way to reveal these leaks is for non Americans to do it since they are not bound by USA law. Probably for the best anyway since there are so few actual American journalists that are not hacktivist propagandists in the USA.

The biggest threat to our liberty, by many orders of magnitude, is our own government. For you lefties and rinos who still don't get that, please start paying attention, we are not going to preserve this republic without your active assistance.

Robert Cook said...

"Once journalists were a true 4th Estate, tied to the company that owned an actual printing press. Now any lawyer or terrorist or kid hacker in a basement with Internet access can claim to be a heroic reporter or heroic whistleblower working with the media...which could be a fellow kid munching cheetos and publishing a Blog, or the al Alawi terrorist e-magazine monthly."

A journalist is anyone who strives to and does bring news of great moment before the public.

"New rules are needed."

Who makes those rules?

Robert Cook said...

"'what crime did Greenwald commit?'

"(e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it... Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. -18 USC 793 (Espionage Act)"


The Espionage Act is a travesty of law to begin with and should long ago have been rescinded; it was fabricated on behest of Woodrow Wilson expressly to punish those who agitated against America entering World War I, the ur-disaster from whence so many subsequent calamities of war of the 20th Century were born.

Robert Cook said...

"Snowden worked for less than three months at a spy agency and then passed sensitive information to the press while seeking refuge with our greatest strategic rivals."

Ummm...you obviously know squat about Snowden's claimed employment history. (Hey...there's a new tool for finding information...it's called "Google," but keep it under your hat!)

Steve Koch said...

Cook,

Great stuff.

You may have already answered this, if so, my apologies in advance for asking again.

You are very aware of the dangers of Big Brother, which is commendable. You seem much less worried about the dangers of big government outside of the spys. Given that we've seen the IRS, Justice Dept, Homeland Security, EPA, the Supreme Court, the Prez, lots of unprovoked wars, on and on, over reach their authority, are you not worried about the fed gov being too big, too powerful, with insufficient checks and balances to keep it in line, to keep our fed gov from tyrannizing us?

If not, why not? If so, what do you think is the best way to keep our republic from becoming a dictatorship?

Robert Cook said...

Steve Koch,

Of course I'm concerned about the reality that government unchecked will become a danger to its citizens, and that a big government can be a bigger danger.

However, it is impossible to manage a society of more than about 7.5 people without organization of some kind, a hierarchy of authority...government, if you will.

In a dictatorship or monarchy, that authority is imposed by the powerful few on the many; in a self-governing society, that authority is granted by the many to those few who will manage affairs for all. This is all self-evident.

The problem becomes one of the "governed" imposing adequate controls on those hired to govern such that the real power, to the greatest degree possible, remains in the hands of the "governed."

This problem will arise in governments small and big.

Given the size of our nation and its population, it seems impossible to me that we cannot have big government, so our great effort must be in devising and enforcing effective means to keep the government in check while allowing it to serve us effectively. (Of course, there will always be great disagreement as to what services government should render to its citizens.)

Easier said than done, of course, but our only possible option.

(So many here endlessly extol the great virtues and superiority of private enterprise to public enterprise, but it seems to me the greatest corrupter of the public sphere is the intrusion into and manipulation of it by powerful entities in the private sphere.)

Writ Small said...

Cook said. . .

Ummm...you obviously know squat about Snowden's claimed employment history.

Wikipedia said. . .

At the time of his departure from the US in May 2013, he had been working for consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton for less than three months as a system administrator inside the NSA at the Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center in Hawaii. Snowden was employed on a salary of $122,000. Snowden said he had taken a pay cut to work at Booz Allen, and that he sought employment in order to gather data on NSA surveillance around the world so he could leak it. The firm said Snowden's employment was terminated on June 10 "for violations of the firm's code of ethics and firm policy".

Robert Cook said...

Writ Small,

You knowingly leave out his history prior to working for Booz Small. His employment working in intelligence goes back several years.

Robert Cook said...

Oops,

I conflated your name with Booz Allen Hamilton.

But I'm sure you got my drift.

Synova said...

Cook... it's not long, but it's really clear starting at 2:50.

Synova said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGg_dpGhlf0

Huh... I'm batting 100 today for sure.

Steve Koch said...

Robert Cook said...

"...It seems impossible to me that we cannot have big government, so our great effort must be in devising and enforcing effective means to keep the government in check while allowing it to serve us effectively."


Thanks for the thoughtful response but you did not answer the question:
"What do you think is the best way to keep our republic from becoming a dictatorship?"

Could you attempt to answer that question? For example, my answer is that we should have government as originally envisioned in the constitution: small federal government with powers tightly constrained and checked by the states' powers, most governing responsibility by the state governments, executive power limited by the constitution and checked by the legislative and judicial branches, non activist judiciary limiting itself to determining constitutionality of legislation. The constitutional approach seems optimal cuz it exists, is the law, has great stature, and was brilliantly crafted to prevent tyranny through balance of power. The founders understood, feared and hated tyranny and many died to secure their liberty. The vast majority of our political class and electorate don't fear tyranny and don't have a clue about how to hang onto liberty.

So, specifically, how would you go about about hanging onto liberty?

Steve Koch said...

Cook,

In constructing your answer, perhaps it would help you to use the constitution as a template or point of departure. You could start with which parts of the constitution big picture you would keep and which would be modified or even deleted. Would you still rely on balance of power (I think that's a good thing to keep)? How about balancing the power between the states and the federal government? So on and so forth.

Saint Croix said...

The Espionage Act is a travesty of law to begin with and should long ago have been rescinded; it was fabricated on behest of Woodrow Wilson expressly to punish those who agitated against America entering World War I

Robert Cook is mostly right! Holy shit.

The Espionage Act is, shall we say, overbroad, and you have to be a real fascist to go after free speakers with it.

Saint Croix said...

Just to be clear, we all have a right to freedom of the press too, that is, to put our words into print as well as speech.

Charlie is exactly right.

Saint Croix said...

"To the extent that you have had sex with farm animals, David Gregory, why shouldn't you be charged with a crime?"

That's just me, being a smart ass.

Saint Croix said...

I'm sure it will be all about free vaginal probes, not tampons per se.

This is why Inga is my favorite of all the hijackers.

Robert Cook said...

"Cook... it's not long, but it's really clear starting at 2:50."

Huh?

Robert Cook said...

@David at 2:49 a.m.

Excellent remarks, but I'll make one quibble: I suggest most journalists who fail to challenge government do not do so because they're "cowed" so much as they're of a like mind with those they cover in Washington. They associate with them socially and develop friendly feelings toward them, even perhaps actual friendships. The network media celebs make a lot of money and are in the same socio-economic class as the powerful in government and so they adopt (or already share) the same worldview.

They are not skeptics; they identify with and agree with the thinking of the establishment.

Media is now largely in the hands of multinational corporations whose interests--making money--are served by the same policies that benefit wealthy corporations and individuals generally. They have no innate interest in undermining the powers that be.

As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, journalists don't have to censor themselves (or be censored), they don't even question the accepted precepts and agencies of power of the established order...they accept them as valid and frame questions of debate within limited parameters. They have blinders on, to be short.

The condemnation of the late Michael Hastings by other journalists for his reporting on General McChrystal's candid remarks--resulting in McChrystal's firing--shows how deeply our national press corps see themselves as "part of the team," partners with rather than challengers of power.