Monday, August 19, 2013

Simply so predictable

Glenn Greenwald says this is a misquote:
"I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I am going to publish things on England too. I have many documents on England's spy system. I think they will be sorry for what they did," Greenwald, speaking in Portuguese, told reporters at Rio's airport where he met Miranda upon his return to Brazil.
He's right. It wasn't an exact quote. Nonetheless, having read Glenn's version, I think Reuters captured the general sense of Glenn's statement. Even in his own words, it reads like a not so subtle threat. And I can't help but recall a similiar threat Glenn made against the US government on behalf of Snowden. But this isn't about the stolen NSA documents.

In case you somehow didn't hear, Glenn's spouse was detained for nine hours at Heathrow yesterday. They questioned him at length and then they took all his electronics and let him go without charging him. This is apparently legal under British law and to avoid confusion, let me stipulate the law they used is as troubling, if not more, than our own anti-terror overreach. Steve M has more on the law and the thousands of people who endured to varying degrees, the same horrible detention as David Miranda. These overly broad laws in all countries need to be clarified and narrowed, if not abolished. But this isn't about odious anti-terror laws either.

What I find most appalling about this incident is I can't help but think this was entirely predictable. Joshua Foust supplies the full backstory but if here's the short: Glenn has publicly stated he sent the leaked docs to David in the past. In the instant matter, The Guardian paid David to fly to Berlin to courier some sort of documents from Glenn to Laura Poitras, (the other journo on the Snowden story) and then return to Brazil with her docs for Glenn. So they book the return flight through Heathrow? Glenn is not stupid. Thus I'm forced to conclude Glenn set up his own spouse to take this fall and I wonder why.

Joshua articulates my current state of mind rather well:
More immediately, too, the instinctive reaction of far too many journalists to shriek about their own spouses being targeted is going to have a downside. Few journalists would treat their spouses as authority-bait the way Greenwald did this past weekend, and few would tell other reporters, for a profile, that they used their spouses to help them avoid intelligence agencies. Glenn Greenwald is a very smart man — he knew what he was doing. While we should all condemn the British authorities for holding Miranda for so long, we should also keep in mind exactly why he might have been singled out — and there a whole new set of complications and questions emerge.

There’s also a bit of historical literacy we should perhaps add to the discussion. Histrionics aside, most governments, and many more unsavory groups, treat secrecy very seriously — sometimes with deadly seriousness. Regardless of the rightness or wrongness of his decision to help pilfer and distribute the treasured secrets of several governments, to do so openly, with such braggadocio, is not only arrogant it is misguided. This is not a game, especially to the governments being exposed, and casually involving a spouse to take a hit when he won’t risk it is a bizarre and troubling decision.
I remember, respect and appreciate Glenn's work during the Bush administration but it feels different now. It's like I don't know who he is anymore and sadly, I'm not sure I can trust him.

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Blogger Jay Salter said...

You may want to reconsider after reading Uncle Charlie's post.

11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Haven't read him yet today but I always listen to what he says. Don't always agree with everything.

2:09:00 PM  

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