July 13th, 2013

Snowden and Greenwald: bombshell or bluster?

I’ve already written plenty about Snowden and Greenwald. But since they’ve recently insinuated themselves into the news in a potentially interesting manner, here we go again.

According to Greenwald:

Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who first published the documents Snowden leaked, said in a newspaper interview published on Saturday that the U.S. government should be careful in its pursuit of the former computer analyst.

“Snowden has enough information to cause harm to the U.S. government in a single minute than any other person has ever had,” Greenwald said in an interview in Rio de Janeiro with the Argentinean daily La Nacion.

“The U.S. government should be on its knees every day begging that nothing happen to Snowden, because if something does happen to him, all the information will be revealed and it could be its worst nightmare.”

Aren’t they the brave duo.

I’m not sure whether I believe Greenwald or not. But notice that he is not alleging that this supposedly bombshell information Snowden possesses indicates any wrongdoing or overreach by the US government. Nor does it appear to necessarily involve invasions of the privacy of US citizens. The only hint the article (or Greenwald) makes at the content seems to be this:

Greenwald said in his interview with La Nacion that documents Snowden has tucked away in different parts of the world detail which U.S. spy programs capture transmissions in Latin America and how they work.

I would like to see Snowden arrested under the Espionage Act (I’ve written here and elsewhere about the ways in which he’s already violated it). But since he seems to be out of range right now, what about interrogating Greenwald, who although living outside the country now is a US citizen and does not (yet) appear to be on the run?

In this previous post I wrote about why I think that Greenwald is not protected from prosecution, either, even though he is a journalist.

If what Greenwald says is true (and I am by no means certain he is not guilty of quite a bit of hyperbole), and this information really threatens US security big time and is about to fall into the hands of countries that wish us harm, doesn’t it behoove us to find out more? After all, Greenwald is in possession of the information, too, not just Snowden. Should Greenwald and Snowden be allowed to hold the US hostage because they possess sensitive material obtained illegally, material that in this case does not even appear to involve wrongdoing on the part of the US? Is this not espionage on their part?

And remember, Snowden does not have to have actually publicized the sensitive information, he merely has to have taken it illegally. Although Greenwald is less liable if he hasn’t yet publicized it (since he didn’t take it himself), the Snowden timeline nevertheless indicates that Greenwald may have facilitated, aided, and abetted him in the taking.

Again, for those of you who still think that Snowden’s a hero because he exposed details of the NSA domestic information-gathering programs (cellphones and the like), that doesn’t appear to be the information we’re talking about here, although Greenwald has been coy enough to not say exactly what we are talking about.

11 Responses to “Snowden and Greenwald: bombshell or bluster?”

  1. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Let’s see. THE US IS SPYING!!!!
    Um. Yeah. The US is spying. In other news, some celebrity nobody ever heard of is going into rehab.
    So THE US IS SPYING!!! either impresses Snowden and Greenwald more than it does 99% of the rest of the world…or they have jackallsquat and are bluffing…or they really have SOMETHING.
    So what could do the US more harm than anything? Indications of our perfidy don’t interest people any longer. They’ve always been believed.
    IMO, the worst thing in terms of national stability is ironclad proof Obama was born in Kenya. Or someplace not the US.
    Wouldn’t that be interesting. All those folks who fulminated against the birthers are going to have to say there’s nothing so important about birth eligibility in this transnational world.

  2. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Oh, yeah. This stuff doesn’t work unless the guy in charge of sending the assassins knows what it is that could come out. But if he knows that, he might be really annoyed.
    What do to?

  3. kit Says:

    I expect the US government to gather intelligence, especially in these times of Islamic Jihadists. That is the job I expect of the government. And spying, if you want to call it that, is not unique to the US. What do they think China and Russia and the rest are doing?

    Snowden and Greewald are traitors, cowards and thieves and I agree that they should be tried under the Espionage Act.

    “The first duty of goverment is to protect the people, not run their lives.” Ronald Reagan (a quote from an American president)

    Take that Obama!

  4. Gustav Uffe Nymand Says:

    As a European citizen do I believe that Snowden is a hero to European freedom, liberty and democracy.
    We do not want USA’s Stasi 2.0 performing espionage against European citizens, European corporations and European governments.
    Seems to me as a free trade center voter, that Europe will have to establish it’s own IT and communication infrastructure there is free of NSA backdoors and to provide European consumers with credible alternatives to US tech products in order to protect Europe from hostile cyberattacks from USA.

    Basically, the more Obama do to hunt for snowden instead of granting him legal immunity and a hero’s welcome the more do I believe that Europe will have to make much tougher demands in the trade negotiations with USA and in any future crisis situation were USA ask for military aid from Europe.

    Seems to me, that USA ought to Impeach Obama for his administrations governmental overreach and attack upon personal freedom and liberty due to his out of control intelligence services.

  5. Steve Says:

    How is that Snowden got such complete access to secret records? That seems like an underreported aspect of this scandal. The emphasis should be more on the government than on this one individual who exposed the government’s incompetence and overreach.

  6. kit Says:

    Gustav, and you think European nations are not spying on you and each other and on us!!??

    And i dont particularily see freedom, liberty and democracy thriving in Europe. Socialism seems to be doing just fine, though.

  7. expat Says:

    Gustav is a typical European Gütmensch who is happy to let the US do all the dirty work while preening himself on his moral superiority.

  8. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    kit, I’m with you. We want our government to protect us. As you say, it is their primary duty under the constitution. That said, technology and information gathering systems have been game changers. As long as we trust our government to do the right thing, no problem. However, when we see the use of the IRS for political purposes, when we learn that the Obama team used Google’s manpower and knowledge to target voters in 2012, when we see the DOJ using “Fast and Furious” to push gun control, and when the government covers up the circumstances of four deaths at Benghazi; then the citizenry has reason to worry about the NSA’s massive information gathering program. It could provide them the tools to enslave us.

    I think Snowden is a weasel who deserves to be punished the same as Manning. He could have done the right thing and come forward as a whistleblower. He didn’t. A pox on him and Glenn Greenwald as well.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Snowden’s revelations have accomplished what he and Greenwald thought they would. I think they thought there would be a massive uproar and demand for accountability. No such luck – except in the blogosphere. The low info voters (the majority of citizens) are still going on with life like Alfred E. Neumann – Who, me worry?

  9. Susanamantha Says:

    Having recently seen the latest James Bond movie, I can only wish that there was a Bond-like agent working for the US that could somehow take care of this whole unpleasantness for us.

  10. Rick Caird Says:

    Neo, you still seem to think this is about Snowden (and now Greenwald). But, it is much larger than that. I suggest you take a look at Richard Fernandez’s post.

    http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2013/07/10/whistleblowers-and-spies/

    What Snowden has done is expose massive privacy problems and data usage and ownership problems. We are mere pawns in other people’s games. But, those games are dependent on our data and the fact we don’t own our own data.. Why don’t I own the data about who I call or who I email? Why are big companies like Google and Microsoft giving governments access encrypted data after it is unencrypted? What does this mean to cloud computing? If I use the cloud will the government have access to all my data without me knowing that?

    Look at the 5 questions Fernandez opens with.

    For the record, I have never claimed Snowden was a hero. I have only claimed that by focusing on Snowden the real questions are overlooked. We can play “ostrich” and forget about the exposure of our data. But, that seems short sighted to me. The example being offered to counter “nothing to hide” is of someone who buys a book on cancer and then buys a wig. Anyone with access to that information can conclude the person has cancer. That may not be something the person wants exposed to the world.

    Snowden is the side show. Divulging our data is the main tent.

  11. Mike Says:

    A harm to the U.S. Government as presently structured and run (a massive bureaucracy of tyrants small and large, at the ready to oppress harass and destroy people on a whim or for any reason they want) is a good thing, not a bad thing. Obama, and all Democrats, and the entire Liberal Elite and all of the installed bureaucracy from so-called judges (from Supremes down to traffic court) in short, the whole shebang is rotten corrupted and even diabolical.

    The entire thing needs to be reformed. Everything needs to be looked at.

    Snowden (you keep using the word hero) has done a service to Americans by his (really modest) puncturing of the bubble of oppression ad spying ever so slightly.

    What is the worst he can say? That our government is spying on Russia (or name country X here)? Are you kidding? We don’t know this?

    No, what he has proved is much worse than that – that our government is spying on us, collecting incriminating evidence on us, getting set to oppress us further. What is incriminating evidence these days? The answer is anything and everything they want to be.

    Wake up. We live in an “America” where an Hispanic Obama voter was changed into a white racist so they could nail him. Anything can become anything ,. We are ruled by monsters, brutes and savages and we live among the brutes and savages who elect and support them.

    Welcome to the 21st century U.S.A.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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