Quantcast

«

»

Jun 27 2013

Well, that didn’t take long, did it?

After warning earlier today that there will be every effort to discredit Edward Snowden and everyone associated with him, from those publishing his materials to those aiding him in avoiding the clutches of US authorities, I was not surprised that it turns out that there are already news stories to be released today about the private life of Glenn Greenwald.

Greenwald himself decided to pre-empt these news stories by revealing what they would say.

So I’ve been fully expecting those kinds of attacks since I began my work on these NSA leaks. The recent journalist-led “debate” about whether I should be prosecuted for my reporting on these stories was precisely the sort of thing I knew was coming.

As a result, I was not particularly surprised when I received an email last night from a reporter at the New York Daily News informing me that he had been “reviewing some old lawsuits” in which I was involved – “old” as in: more than a decade ago – and that “the paper wants to do a story on this for tomorrow”. He asked that I call him right away to discuss this, apologizing for the very small window he gave me to comment.

So that’s the big discovery: a corporate interest in adult videos (something the LLC shared with almost every hotel chain), fabricated emails, and some back taxes and other debt.

I’m 46 years old and, like most people, have lived a complicated and varied adult life. I didn’t manage my life from the age of 18 onward with the intention of being a Family Values US senator. My personal life, like pretty much everyone’s, is complex and sometimes messy.

If journalists really believe that, in response to the reporting I’m doing, these distractions about my past and personal life are a productive way to spend their time, then so be it.

It is rare that you see reporters investigating the personal lives of other reporters just after they have broken a major story, unless that information is relevant to the story. It would be interesting to see who tipped off these reporters to this information. So will we see the reporters reporting on the private life of Greenwald having their own private lives reported?

As I said, this is to be expected. The way to shift attention from the Snowden NSA revelations is to get people to focus on the private lives of the people involved. That was what made president Nixon have his henchmen burgle the offices of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, hoping to find some dirt to discredit him and shift attention from what the Pentagon Papers revealed. Except now, some in the media do the government’s work.

However, it does not seem to be effective in slowing down or stopping Greenwald (which I did not expect to happen) and he has two new revelations today (see here and here) about the NSA’s activities.

15 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Chiroptera

    I’m 46 years old and, like most people, have lived a complicated and varied adult life.

    And this is why privacy matters. It’s not to hide criminal activity. It is to hide the embarrassing moments that most of us have in our “complicated and varied adult lives.” (And I always tell people, if you think you don’t have anything in your life that embarrasses you, then you are too naive to understand how other people will view what you have said and done, especially when taken out of context.)

    And during this entire NSA business, this is what I have always believed to be a major threat to democracy: the ability of the state or the corporate powers to used embarrassing moments (or the threat to reveal the details from our complicated and varied adult lives) to silence or discredit inconvenient truths and opinons.

  2. 2
    Mano Singham

    Absolutely. I have lived by most standards a pretty boring life but I certainly would not have to want to explain away the many, many things that would be undoubtedly embarrassing, many of which I have likely forgotten about.

  3. 3
    slc1

    It is a well known fact that J. Edgar Himmler used FBI intelligence material on politicians to blackmail them. These included Roosevelt’s trysts with Lucy Murcer, Eisenhower’s wartime trysts with Kay Summersby, IKennedy’s habit of having prostitutes brought in off the streets of Washington for some extracurricular activity, and Johnson’s well know financial and sexual shenanigans. It is alleged that he also had a pile of dirt on Nixon, although what it was is unknown.

    This backfired on him in the 1960s when Congressman Cornelius Gallagher blackmailed him into stopping an investigation into the Congressman’s financial dealings by threatening to go on to the House floor every afternoon during open speech time and tell the world about Himmler’s love affair with his deputy, Clyde Tolson.

  4. 4
    Chiroptera

    And let me point out something else:

    Even if you believe that Snowden is a traitor, even if you believe that Greenwald is a threat to national security, even if you believe the state has good reasons keep track of citizens’ conversations and to keep their spying a secret…

    …this “information” from Greenwald’s past isn’t even relevant to that question!

  5. 5
    Randomfactor

    Gee…possibly shady business dealings including ties to a company that profited from porn…

    Throw in affiliation with an abortion-related service company and Greenwald ought to be a lock on the next GOP nomination for President.

  6. 6
    Corvus illustris

    It is rare that you see reporters investigating the personal lives of other reporters just after they have broken a major story, unless that information is relevant to the story. It would be interesting to see who tipped off these reporters to this information.

    A little Googling and maybe a friend with access to one of the proprietary legal databases would be more than enough, since it’s well known that G^2 practiced as a lawyer. I have used a similar technique to select an attorney.

  7. 7
    Marcus Ranum

    Let’s see if I got this right: they’re asking Greenwald if there’s any dirt in his closet because his closet has to be perfectly clean in order to help pointing out that the government’s closet looks like the augean stables?

  8. 8
    Marcus Ranum

    It is alleged that he also had a pile of dirt on Nixon, although what it was is unknown.

    Felt (“deep throat”) was an FBI executive. His leaks that brought down Nixon was that pile of dirt, or enough of it at any rate.

  9. 9
    Marcus Ranum

    Have you stopped beating your wife?

  10. 10
    Marcus Ranum

    Shorter Greenwald: If you guys spent the same amount of effort digging into the government’s crimes as you just spent airing out my closet, maybe you’d be notable journalists, too?

  11. 11
    kyoseki

    I’ve heard he likes setting fire to kittens and drinks milk straight out of the carton!

  12. 12
    petemoulton

    “…this ‘information’ from Greenwald’s past isn’t even relevant to that question!”

    Right you are, Chiroptera. It’s just one long ad hominem, with some extortion thrown in for good measure.

  13. 13
    filethirteen

    Quite.

    As an aside though, and pardon me for my pedantry, but it troubles me slightly that some people might not get the reference. So, and only for those that aren’t familiar with it, here’s a recap of how you put in a link:
    <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question”>Have you stopped beating your wife?</a>
    comes out as
    Have you stopped beating your wife?

  14. 14
    Pierce R. Butler

    For the record: I for one have led a spotless life of blameless and unceasing virtue.

    Howsomever, certain other persons have in varying ways spread uncouth rumors of unseemly words or deeds on my part. This forces me to oppose the actions of the Bush-Obama NSA, not because I have anything to hide, but to protect these other individuals’ private communications in case they might (fallaciously, I tell you!) discuss me.

  15. 15
    slc1

    The pile of dire on Nixon supposedly involved events prior prior to Watergate. Hoover allegedly blackmailed Nixon, as he had Kennedy and Johnson before him into keeping him on as FBI director, despite evidence of senility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite="" class=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>