So what is going to happen? There was a lot of anger expressed by many in the US government over their role in helping disseminate the Edward Snowden revelations and a major freak-out by those who became unhinged and have been calling for the arrest of anyone who has assisted Snowden or helped in the dissemination of the spying documents.
In January, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper suggested that journalists reporting on the NSA documents were acting as Snowden’s “accomplices.” The following month, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, claimed that Greenwald was selling stolen goods by reporting stories on the NSA documents with news organizations around the world. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has called for Greenwald to be prosecuted.
So will they be arrested?
The problem is that by Greenwald and Poitras judiciously farming out the documents to mainstream publications around the globe and within the US, including solidly establishment papers like the Washington Post and having even the New York Times do stories, the government and the justice department will find it hard to justify the arrest of Greenwald and Poitras alone.
Of course, inconsistency and hypocrisy has not stopped the government in the past. But they may be fearful of a full media uproar if they arrest the pair when they are here to receive a journalistic award. But at the same time, if they allow them to leave again unharassed, they will be seen as paper tigers.
This should be interesting to watch.