Whenever whistleblower reveals government actions, especially those that seriously embarrass the government, their reaction is that they are angry because the leaks have endangered nation al security and/or put people’s lives at risk. This was dutifully picked up by the lapdog media and trumpeted far and wide. This was the charge made against Chelsea Manning and then against Edward Snowden. But at Manning’s trial, the prosecution could not make the case that her revelations had actually put people’s lives at risk.
Well, today there was an article in the British newspaper The Independent that reveals information about the British government’s intelligence gathering methods in the Middle East. What is interesting is that the authors of the article state that this was part of the Snowden documents but do not directly state that he gave it to them. The article says that “information on its activities was contained in the leaked documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden…. Information about the project was contained in 50,000 GCHQ documents that Mr Snowden downloaded during 2012.” Snowden has flatly denied giving them any information.
Glenn Greenwald speculates that the UK government might have leaked the material in order to make the case that the leaks were damaging and to distract attention from their own high-handed actions and to distract attention from the embarrassment suffered by the UK government over its treatment of David Miranda. As he says:
This is the first time the Independent has published any revelations purportedly from the NSA documents, and it’s the type of disclosure which journalists working directly with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have thus far avoided.
[R]ight as there is a major scandal over the UK’s abusive and lawless exploitation of its Terrorism Act – with public opinion against the use of the Terrorism law to detain David Miranda – and right as the UK government is trying to tell a court that there are serious dangers to the public safety from these documents, there suddenly appears exactly the type of disclosure the UK government wants but that has never happened before. That is why Snowden is making clear: despite the Independent’s attempt to make it appears that it is so, he is not their source for that disclosure. Who, then, is?
The US government itself has constantly used this tactic: aggressively targeting those who disclose embarrassing or incriminating information about the government in the name of protecting the sanctity of classified information, while simultaneously leaking classified information prolifically when doing so advances their political interest
Greenwald flatly denies the implication in the article that any restraints have been placed on his reporting by the British government.
So who leaked this material to The Independent?