Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 09, 2019

Whom Not To Trust - U.S. Government Indicts Another Intercept Source

Another source that provided government secrets to The Intercept has been uncovered and indicted by the U.S. government.

The Intercept was created to privatize the National Security Agency documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The online magazine is financed by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of Ebay, who's is known for many shady connection to Obama administration and for promoting various regime change efforts.

In June 2017 we wrote about the first case in which an Intercept source got burned:

Yesterday The Intercept published a leaked five page NSA analysis about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. Its reporting outed the leaker of the NSA documents. That person, R.L. Winner, has now been arrested and is likely to be jailed for years if not for the rest of her life.
FBI search (pdf) and arrest warrant (pdf) applications unveil irresponsible behavior by the Intercept's reporters and editors which neglected all operational security trade-craft that might have prevented the revealing of the source. It leaves one scratching one's head if this was intentional or just sheer incompetence. Either way - the incident confirms what skeptics had long determined: The Intercept is not a trustworthy outlet for leaking state secrets of public interests.

Our mistrust towards The Intercept get reinforced by the arrest of another of The Intercept's sources.

Today the Justice Department arrested and charged a former U.S. Airforce soldier, Daniel Everette Hale, 31, of Nashville, Tennessee, who had worked at the National Security Agency (NSA), as an intelligence analyst in Afghanistan, and at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGIA). The Justice Department alleges that Hale leaked several secret and top secret powerpoint presentations and papers to an online outlet:

According to allegations in the indictment, beginning in April 2013, while enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and assigned to the NSA, Hale began communicating with a reporter. Hale met with the reporter in person on multiple occasions, and, at times, communicated with the reporter via an encrypted messaging platform. Then, in February 2014, while working as a cleared defense contractor at NGA, Hale printed six classified documents unrelated to his work at NGA and soon after exchanged a series of messages with the reporter. Each of the six documents printed were later published by the reporter’s news outlet.

According to allegations in the indictment, while employed as a cleared defense contractor for NGA, Hale printed from his Top Secret computer 36 documents, including 23 documents unrelated to his work at NGA. Of the 23 documents unrelated to his work at NGA, Hale provided at least 17 to the reporter and/or the reporter’s online news outlet, which published the documents in whole or in part. Eleven of the published documents were classified as Top Secret or Secret and marked as such.

The indictment (pdf), filed on March 7 under seal, includes a list of the meetings and communications that Hale had with the reporter. The first one took place during the reporter's book tour in April 2013 in Washington DC. During that time frame Jeremy Scahill, one of the Intercept's founding editors, was on a national book tour promoting his book about Blackwater. Several stories written by Scalhill based on secret documents were published in the time frames given in the indictment.

The Associated Press notes of the case:

Court papers do not identify by name the reporter who allegedly received the leaks, but details in the indictment make clear that Jeremy Scahill, a founding editor of The Intercept, is the reporter who received the leaks.

The indictment states that many of the classified documents were disclosed in an October 2015 news article.

On October 15, 2015, Scahill published an article on The Intercept titled "The Assassination Complex" that relies on "a cache of secret slides that provides a window into the inner workings of the U.S. military's kill/capture operations at a key time in the evolution of the drone wars."

There are more documents that Scahill published about that fit the time frame and the descriptions in the indictment.

In July 23 2014 The Intercept published Blacklisted - The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

The piece was written by Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux.

In August 2014 The Intercept published the Watch Commander - Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers written by the same reporters:

Nearly half of the people on the U.S. government’s widely shared database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any known terrorist group, according to classified government documents obtained by The Intercept.

On April 17 2015 Scahill wrote a story about the use of a U.S. military base in Germany for drone strikes.

TOP-SECRET U.S. intelligence document obtained by The Intercept confirms that the sprawling U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany serves as the high-tech heart of America’s drone program.
The top-secret slide deck, dated July 2012, provides the most detailed blueprint seen to date of the technical architecture used to conduct strikes with Predator and Reaper drones.

All the above stories, and more, seem to fit to the descriptions in the indictment of the items Hale printed or copied while he worked for U.S. agencies.

The indictment says that documents Hale obtained and handed to a reporter were later published in a book by the same writer.

In 2016 Scahill coauthored the book The Assassination Complex : Inside the Government's Secret Drone Warfare Program

The indictment does not say how the government found out that Hale provided the documents to Scahill. But the two seem to have at times communicated openly via phone, email and through text messages. That should have been a no-no. The government recovered at least parts of those communications. Hale attended several of Scahill's book tour events. Beyond that Hale openly communicated with 'a confident' about his contacts with Scahill. Later Scahill and Hale used the encrypted chat tool Jabber. Hale also used Tails, a software package The Intercept recommends for leaking documents to it.

It is quite possible that the Justice Department will also file charges against Jeremy Scahill. The first contacts with Hale and the first leaks by Hale were in the first half of 2013, when Hale was still enlisted and worked at the NSA. In July Hale emailed a resume to Scahill which he wanted to use to find a job with a defense contractor who leases people with security clearances to other U.S. agencies. They seem to have discussed the resume by phone. Hale was later hired by such a contractor and worked at the NGIA. There he copied the secret and top secret documents and presentations that seem to be the objects of Scahill's later reporting.

That Scahill discussed Hale's resume with him could be construed as active help to gain access to secrets that would then be leaked to The Intercept. The U.S. currently seeks the extradition of Julian Assange from Britain under the allegation that Assange actively helped Chelsea Manning to escape scrutiny by using her access to secret documents under a different account than her own. Assange is the editor of Wikileaks.

While it is not known how the government found out that Hale leaked the documents in questions, its knowledge of phone and text contacts show that all open communication with any Intercept reporter will likely be intercepted by the relevant agencies.

It is laudable that Hale leaked the secret information about Obama's drone wars and assassination campaigns. It is laudable that The Intercept published those stories.

But that its founder made lots of money from government contracts while The Intercept reported on less than 5% of the Snowden papers and recently shut down access to the them leaves a very bad taste.

That R.L. Winner went to jail because an Intercept reporter, who was known to not be trustworthy, 'mishandled' the leak is terrible. That a second source is now under arrest after lengthy open communication with another Intercept writer only reinforces our recommendation:

Do not trust The Intercept.


Posted by b on May 9, 2019 at 18:42 UTC | Permalink


[Thanks for the correction - b.]

Posted by: Jay | May 9 2019 18:45 utc | 1

thanks b.. one must ultimately read a person, publication or work by it's fruit..

Posted by: james | May 9 2019 19:10 utc | 2

I realize that Glenn Greenwald isn't involved, or mentioned, in the circumstances of Hale's indictment. But I think his involvement with the Omidyar Group is relevant.

Although Glenn Greenwald has been, and remains, an astute analyst and commenter on (many) civil liberties and geopolitical issues, I found his exclusive acquisition of Edward Snowden's trove of classified US intelligence documents shady at best. Once GG was hired by the Omidyar Group, it became clear that the Snowden material had been absorbed and co-opted by a commercial enterprise.

Greenwald parlayed his dubious role as the sole and exclusive curator, or manager, of Edward Snowden's surreptitiously liberated trove of classified US intelligence documents into a lucrative career niche. His collaboration with the reactionary plutocrat Omidyar seems very much a "deal with the devil".

The Omidyar Group initiated a novel business enterprise: an independent "brand" in the new field of commercial whistleblower/hacker leak-broker; Greenwald had found a lucrative career niche "managing" information vital to the public interest, ostensibly to be released according to his preferences, biases, caprices, and whims.

Many months ago, I commented elsewhere that "even though I have no animus or grudge towards Greenwald, I absolutely do not trust his stewardship of the Snowden material; I'm convinced that, either willingly or as a result of external 'persuasion', his publication of (alleged) Snowden documents is fully overseen and determined by US/Western state-security services.

Greenwald and Omidyar have turned the Snowden trove into a commercialized 'modified limited hangout'".

Since writing that comment, the Omidyar Group has shut down the Snowden archive-- effectively dropping it into the Memory Hole; reportedly Greenwald and Scahill concurred with this decision.

Regardless of whether it's "playing its own game", or is a clandestine state-security apparatus asset, the Omidyar Group is definitely an institutional modified limited hangout operation.

I've reached the same conclusion that B. sets forth in appropriately bold text.

Posted by: Ort | May 9 2019 19:17 utc | 3

Thanks for calling out the Intercept and Omidyar b

I see the Intercept creation/growth as a perfect example of how the elite can get in front of the "information release train" to derail it for their own purposes along with minimizing the damage and creating a honeypot for nailing potential future do gooders.

I like Ort's description of the Intercept, "an institutional modified limited hangout operation."

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 9 2019 19:27 utc | 4

@Ort (3)

That's quite a smear of Glenn Greenwald.

Posted by: bjd | May 9 2019 19:29 utc | 5

Posted by: Ort | May 9, 2019 3:17:04 PM | 3

Nailed it and as a long time GG reader I'm sadden that it's about the $$$$$$$$ and not the story any more.

Posted by: jo6pac | May 9 2019 19:30 utc | 6

He's right though bjd; Greenwald has written many a great article but has shown himself to be not completely trustworthy.

Posted by: Ash | May 9 2019 19:43 utc | 7

@5 bjd

I think there are many people who would prefer Greenwald not to have become a dubious character - I am certainly one of them. I greatly admired his earlier constitutional work, and his acuity. But he has brought it upon himself. Because of his associations, his paycheck, and the disappearing of the Snowden materials, Greenwald is now at best impossible to trust. Would anyone place their life or liberty into his keeping nowadays?

What always strikes me is how actors get co-opted by the establishment, and corrupted, actually. It seems so easily done, it's a very cautionary story. People change, whether from money or pressure or simply from these malleable and relatively plastic minds that we all have, I can't say.

The question always remains, to be asked every day: who or what can one trust today?

Posted by: Grieved | May 9 2019 19:53 utc | 8

The trade war against China is escalating. Can you make an article on this, b?

Posted by: Passer by | May 9 2019 20:11 utc | 9

Frankly, it is seems to be very difficult to leak anything without leaving a trace.

That Scahill would be followed, watched, intercepted (no pun) is obvious.
Any printout, copy, download leaves a trace.

That the Intercept was founded to keep the leaks under control is obvious. That it is very hard to leak from any position without being found out has been proven by Gavin Williamson

People nowadays are hardwired to their smartphones, carrying the perfect surveillance tool wherever they go. They have forgotten how to communicate in any other way. All the traditional meeting places where you could trade information without being obvious are gone, people do it online.

You might just as well take a lawyer, talk to the political parties and publish the stuff yourself if you feel it is important. Which is what Daniel Ellsberg did with the Pentagon Papers.

Leaks for "transparency" are useless if they do not change policy.

Posted by: somebody | May 9 2019 20:48 utc | 10

Snowden should have secreted a copy to somewhere outside the US. He never should have trusted any media critters connected with US or UK networks, and Omidyar - that's over the top.

Even with what he saw inside the NSA he still partly believed in the West. Over and over again we see people in the West doing the same down and dirty. Enough is enough. My belief in the West has gone to zero.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | May 9 2019 20:56 utc | 11

Thanks to jo6pac, Ash, and Grieved for defending my putative "smear" of Glenn Greenwald.

Without rooting through my chaotic archive of saved comments to burden the thread with a history of my acquired skepticism, I'll just say that my history with GG is similar to yours. I was a relatively uncritical fan of his "Unclaimed Territory" blog, and a regular commenter on his Salon threads when he transferred his blog there.

But over time, I became put off by his occasional libertarian "excesses", e.g. defending the Citizens' United SCOTUS ruling. I also disagree with his generally "trutherphobic", Chomskyesque position about the still-mysterious events of 9/11/2001, and deplored his selective censorship of Salon comments on that topic in accordance with his bias.

Even so, I generally remained appreciative of his work; FWIW, during his Salon tenure we even occasionally exchanged e-mails.

But when Snowden made the naïve (?) decision to effectively turn over his downloaded material to GG's exclusive and absolute control, in spite of my inclination to think well of GG I began to have inconvenient doubts.

I'm not bothering to refresh my memory of the details, but GG's interlude with "The Guardian", and his overwrought spin when his partner was detained at Heathrow Airport, made my crap detectors buzz.

A friend once unsuccessfully tried to warn me off becoming involved with someone by repeating the expression "She's playing her own game." I still think a lot of GG's commentary is valid and worthwhile-- but after he took up with Omidyar and locked up the Snowden material I reluctantly but firmly concluded that Glenn is playing his own game.

Posted by: Ort | May 9 2019 21:42 utc | 12

@ AriusArmenian #11

Snowden should have secreted a copy to somewhere outside the US. He never should have trusted any media critters connected with US or UK networks, and Omidyar - that's over the top.

Even with what he saw inside the NSA he still partly believed in the West.

IMO Snowden didn't yet understand the power of unlimited money. To be fair, who of us would have done any better? The only person who may not have been corrupted is the woman Laura Poitras. I suspect she no longer has access to the Snowden files, and that's the main reason she is still alive.

Do not trust The Intercept.

Looking back, another reason the Intercept was set up may have been to create a fly-paper trap for future leakers. (two betrayals in a row causes people to become suspicious and paranoid - and that's probably the intent) So it comes down to the question of where DO you go if you have some dirt on evildoers? Wikileaks has been effectively destroyed, and the main figure there has been made an example of what happens if you buck Big Intelligence. Headline:

Trump Pardons Soldier Convicted of Murder As Julian Assange Rots in Prison for Journalism

Trump is a total tool. Somebody got him aside and drew a portrait of a heroic US soldier - the equivalent of a boy scout helping a little old lady across the street. I'm coming to suspect that even the impossibly awful Biden might look enough better than the Orange Oaf to defeat him in 2020.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 9 2019 21:56 utc | 13

I spent a lot of time at The Intercept. They had a constant stream of articles doing their part to promote the Russiagate coup against Trump, open borders for illegal immigrants and identity politics. Reading them was good exercise for sharpening discernment and also anger management.
Thank goodness for the comments section. I would not have stayed there so long except for the comments section, the comment section at The Intercept was clearly superior to the articles. At some point the articles became just too much. One identity politics article in particular "broke the camel's back" and I was done.

I believe in reading articles from a broad spectrum. I even read Reuters. But The Intercept?...done

Posted by: librul | May 9 2019 22:03 utc | 14

@ librulwh ended with
I believe in reading articles from a broad spectrum. I even read Reuters. But The Intercept?...done
Nicely summarized

I read Reuters as well. At least their propaganda is not smarmy like the Intercept

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 9 2019 22:19 utc | 15

With regard to GG and the Intercept, let's recall that it was Julian Assange and WikiLeaks who stepped in to give Snowden good advice before GG's careless behavior got Snowden locked away for good. Without Assange, Snowden never would have escaped the grasping hand of the US--it was no one's plan that he get stranded in Russia, but at least he was safe there.

Posted by: worldblee | May 9 2019 22:22 utc | 16

It's clear that where it comes to whistleblowers and "protected sources", the aptly-named Intercept is a provocateur outfit.

As for their leftish-libertarian content, it's standard sheepherding/gatekeeping.

Although I'd say the entire fixation on leaks and such is a form of sheep-herding. I can't think of any leak that told us anything that wasn't already out-front and obvious. The whole Greenwald-Snowden charade had two purposes: To set the limits of "proper" leaking, and to propagate the lie that the intelligence agencies are necessary and merely need to have some "abuses" reformed, when the truth is that they are worthless for all but malignant purposes and should be abolished completely.

Posted by: Russ | May 9 2019 22:27 utc | 17

BJD @ 5, Jo6pac @ 6, Ash @ 7, Grieved @ 8:

You guys may not have seen or heard half of Glenn Greenwald's hilariously shady past. I'll let New York's The Daily News tell it (or part of it):

"... Greenwald was enjoying a career as a litigator when friend Jason Buchtel offered him a partnership in his consulting company, Master Notions Inc., back in 2002.

Court papers show that one of the company's clients was then known as HJ — short for "Hairy Jocks" — and that Greenwald was the one who negotiated their deal.

Owner Peter Haas "had this pornographic company he wasn't able to maintain," Greenwald said.

Greenwald and Buchtel agreed to help Haas in return for 50% of the profits.

In the two months the companies worked together, "Haas made more money than he ever made before in his entire life," Master Notions' filings say.

But Haas refused to pay the company its share of the profits, which led to a nasty legal battle.

Haas said he called the deal off because Greenwald was "demanding changes to the content of the videos which were and are unacceptable." [Jen - What were these changes???]

He also accused Greenwald of having bullied him into signing the deal, citing several twisted emails that he said were from Greenwald, whose email address was, "DomMascHry31." In one, Greenwald allegedly called Haas "a little bitch" and "a good little whore."

Greenwald said those emails were "completely fabricated" and "not written by me."

After the business relationship soured, Haas also accused Greenwald and Master Notions of having swiped his client list to market their own videos on ""

"If you liked Hairy Jocks video, you will LOVE our new line of videos," the site said.

In court filings, Greenwald contended Haas didn't have a real client list to steal, and that Master Notions had assembled its own by "reviewing clubs, groups and chat rooms on the Internet and on America Online, which are geared toward those with an interest in adult videos."

The case was settled in 2004. In a post on The Guardian website Wednesday, Greenwald said the deal came after he "threatened to retain a forensic expert to prove that the emails were forgeries."

"The producer quickly settled the case by paying some substantial portion of what was owed, and granting the LLC the rights to use whatever it had obtained when consulting with him to start its own competing business," he wrote.

Greenwald told The News it was Buchtel's idea to press ahead with the competing site, and that Buchtel bought out his share in Master Notions after about six months.

"It was very short-lived," he said, adding he'd partnered with Buchtel because he's "very entrepreneurial" and he'd been looking for different things to do. ..."

I think at some point during his stoush with Peter Haas, Greenwald realised he probably really shouldn't be professionally involved in a company making and marketing gay porn videos.

Posted by: Jen | May 9 2019 22:34 utc | 18

Omidyar also funds Rappler, a 'progressive' online news source in the Philippines. The public face of that organization is Maria Ressa. Both are despised and disparaged by ordinary Filipinos, but are adored by everyone within the neoliberal controlled media(domestic and international). Rappler also works with Facebook there to help identify "fake news". The collaboration between oligarhic interests and media narrative toward suppressing popular aspirations could not be more obvious.

Posted by: The Headless Prophet | May 9 2019 22:34 utc | 19

For me there have long been questions around Glenn Greenwald's authenticity.

There's just something about the tone of what he says about certain subjects.

After all, the security services have long employed a range of assistance "out there" in the the left or independent or general publications.

Everything from complete frauds to willing helpers.

I'm glad to see others share my suspicions.

I'm just sorry Snowden entrusted him with so much material, but even really smart people can be fooled.

Posted by: JOHN CHUCKMAN | May 9 2019 22:42 utc | 20

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 9, 2019 6:19:46 PM | 15

"I read Reuters as well. At least their propaganda is not smarmy like the Intercept."

You must not be familiar with their paid infomercials for Monsanto masquerading as "reportage", and their long-standing vendatta against the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) ever since it declared glyphosate a probable cancer agent. It's as smarmy as it gets.

To not be completely off topic, I'll add regarding Greenwald's record that he not only fought hard for the speech rights of neo-Nazis but says it's one of the things he's most proud of in his career. Now I'm against any state or corporate censorship, but anyone who wanted to fight for free speech could find hundreds of worthy speech causes and never reach the first Nazi. It's odd how free speech purists like Greenwald or the ACLU always seem to prefer the company of Nazis.

Posted by: Russ | May 9 2019 22:50 utc | 21

From here: Why The Intercept Really Closed the Snowden Archive - A Tale in Five Leaked Documents

3 days ago by Barrett_Brown

[–]themeanbeaver -1 points 3 days ago*

So we were all right about the limited hangout controlled opposition of Glenn Greenwald,Snowden, Omidyar-- and wait for it, Assange! Shocking!!!

You know what? It'a not that we don't know or care. We grow tired of predictable bullshit.

permalinkembedsaveparentreportgive awardreply

[–]Barrett_Brown[S] 26 points 3 days ago

Like most people who use multiple explanation points, no, you're wrong. Omidyar has a very public history with U.S. intel community. Assange is not believed to be any sort of "controlled opposition" by anyone who's educated on the subject, or has dealt with him and Wikileaks, etc. Likewise with Snowden. Greenwald I can't vouch for although I've dealt directly with him on and off for ten years, but there's no reason why he would have to be knowingly involved with U.S. for U.S. to have manipulated him; he's just kind of obtuse.

Or GG is just corrupt ...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 9 2019 22:51 utc | 22

Sorry, left this out...

Why The Intercept Really Closed the Snowden Archive

Murray, finally weighs in...

And this: The Real Muellergate Scandal

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 9 2019 22:58 utc | 23

@ Uncle $cam #23

Thank you for the Murray link. It was devastating!

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 9 2019 23:42 utc | 24

i'll just inquire about why the constitution of the USA authorizes 527 persons to operate the USA government in two tiers:
a domestic government for domestic affairs<= operated by Article I folks (450 members of the house and 100 senators) .. populate vote determines their election.. and
a domestic government for foreign affairs<= operated by Article II folks ( 2 in number) ..electoral college determines their election..

Article II folks are commanders and chiefs of the Army, Navy and Militia of the several States, awae makers of all Treaties and the appointers of .. the diplomats.

Hence, from the start, activities in the Article II side of government were designed to be kept secret from the masses and even from the Article I folks. Limiting and controlling (gating non art II person) access to foreign governments explains much of the mystery as to why Americans are allowed to know so little about their government and its activities over seas. Controlling contacts with, and dealings with, foreign governments and their behind the scene activities was so important that in 1799 the Logan Act was was passed to criminalize unauthorized contacts by non Art II authorized Americans with foreign governments, In other words, no part of the foreign activities of the USA were supposed to be revealed to the governed Americans and the constitution envisioned keeping the governed Americans in the dark. No one could influence the dealings or talks with foreign officials unless they had Art II permission. Do I have it right? Is this the source of state secrets? If so, does it also explain why fake news is so effective .. no one is allowed to verify what has happened or what has been negotiated with foreign governments outside of the USA unless that person is first authorized by an Art II official.

This it seems to me, is the hole in the side of ship that allows and invites corruption? Expectation on the part of the farmers, that Article II persons would engage in, and at least help a select few to engage in corruption is the only reason I can think of to write the constitution in this fashion. Keeping Article governmental activities secret explains why the constitution was designed to deny Americans the facts about overseas activities and it explains why the public is not allowed to learn from whistle blowers the corrupt secrets of the Article II governments.

Posted by: snake | May 9 2019 23:43 utc | 25

First, there is a lot of similarity between leaking data today and bootlegging yesterday. In both cases there are lots of very sophisticated and well resourced forces and resources deployed against you. There are armies of agents who are paid to look for evidences of your activities, to track those, and if they cast suspicion toward you, to track you, looking for anything confirming. It is more a marvel when a source (of either commodity) is not caught than when one is.

Serial leaking, like 'regular' (continuous) moonshining is far more likely to draw a raid, and indictment, than one off, and in serial leaking, and continuous moonshining, the longer the series continues (of data leaks, or 'shine' deliveries, the greater the likelihood of being found out. The increase in likelihood, escalating to certainty, increases exponentially.

Even in the most careful operations, in both activities, it takes only a single error, carelessness, moment of thoughtlessness, or decision to "just once" shortcut or "combine a trip" to draw attention and then observation.

In the Hale case there are several points that would likely have drawn attention and initiated investigation. One, obvious error, or carelessness, was the use of telephone for communication, since phone calls are logged and recallable from data-base and so available from telecom records. Another was Hale's continuation of leaking activity, from his new location, on transfer to another similar position. Simple comparison of pattern from present to similar past incidents, essentially basic detective work, can establish degrees of probability that point to what more to look for to indictably confirm.

Yes, The Intercept is careless. Hale was, too, and Scahill, who appears to have slid into a Judas Goat role for his enthusiasm to roll on his (leaks fed) topic. "One more for the road" is not a popular refrain from a song, it is a popular refrain that was used in a song, and it has long been a classic refrain in explanations of everything from getting caught to getting hurt to blowing everything up. You see it in Donald Trump's foreign policy as well as Hale's and Scahill's soar n wings of leak-o-mania to, so far, Hale's shoot-down and crash-landing.

As for Greenwald and other purveyors of information, read them for their information, not for yearning for a Messiah. Everyone is uneven, everyone has wonky spots. In writing and in reading. Look for your own as well as those of who you are reading, even when they are writing what you want to believe. You will be a better reader. You might even become able to read stuff you totally disagree with, or at least skim it, and derive information, maybe even understanding; you might end up broadening your own spectrum of perspective, and fall into the intellectual trap of becoming an actual thinker... [WARNING: Doing the last can screw up a lot of favored and favorite opinions, and turn others into, like, stepping-stones, some of them sometimes wobbly, so you can't stop on them but have to keep on jumping.]

Posted by: Evangelista | May 9 2019 23:46 utc | 26

Don’t forget FBI agent Terry Albury. He’s also doing time after leaking to Intercept.

Posted by: Margaret Kimberley | May 9 2019 23:46 utc | 27

Welcome Zachary Smith...

Only thing I'd add is that Crowdstrike has a history of lying ...


Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 10 2019 0:12 utc | 28

@Russ (21)

Do you also complain when lawyers defend (gasp!) criminals or is that twisted logic reserved for the ACLU? Defending freedom of expression is part of their job and they're better placed than anyone to know that any move to stifle it will eventually be used to silence dissenters. To suggest that they (or Greenwald) "prefer the company of nazis" is a smear, period. There's valid reasons to criticize GG no need to make up any.

Posted by: odysseus | May 10 2019 0:43 utc | 29

Zachary Smith @24: It was devastating!

If you liked Murray's analysis then you should love what I wrote 20 days earlier (April 10th). My short(er) analysis includes a few things that Murray missed.

With that said, Murray's post is also good.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 10 2019 1:02 utc | 30

I warned people of Scahill years ago. When Scahill refused to attend a conference just because a catholic nun from Syria would attend, my suspicions of this slimy eel were triggered, and confirmed ever after.

Posted by: Steffen | May 10 2019 1:08 utc | 31

Jackrabbit @30,

The most interesting part of Murray's post was the bit at the end about Seth Rich. As I read those final couple paragraphs, Murray is essentially confirming that Seth Rich *was* the source for the DNC leak without actually saying so explicitly. While lots of people have suspected this, obviously, I think nobody as close to the situation as Murray is has implied this as strongly as he just did. (Larry Johnson has stated that an FBI-linked source of his has confirmed as much, but this is only second-hand knowledge; Murray's knowledge is first-hand.) I hope that Murray is being very careful. Lots of very nasty people do not want this knowledge being mainstreamed.

Posted by: WJ | May 10 2019 1:34 utc | 32

Here are the relevant paragraphs by Murray. Am I over-reading them? I don't think I am.

"Mueller gives no evidence whatsoever to back up his simple statement that Seth Rich was not the source of the DNC leak. He accuses Julian Assange of “dissembling” by referring to Seth Rich’s murder. It is an interesting fact that the US security services have shown precisely the same level of interest in examining Seth Rich’s computers that they have shown in examining the DNC servers. It is also interesting that this murder features in a report of historic consequences like that of Mueller, yet has had virtually no serious resource put into finding the killer.

Mueller’s condemnation of Julian Assange for allegedly exploiting the death of Seth Rich, would be infinitely more convincing if the official answer to the question “who murdered Seth Rich?” was not “who cares?”."

Posted by: WJ | May 10 2019 1:37 utc | 33

I just can’t wrap my head around Snowden not having made a copy of the leaks. He is much smarter than to surrender everything to GG having to have trusted him under pressure. That is his bargaining chip.

Same with Assange.

Posted by: Alpi57 | May 10 2019 2:19 utc | 34

Trump floats proposal to cancel 2020 elections:

On Sunday, Donald Trump re-tweeted a post by the arch-reactionary evangelical preacher and prominent Trump confidant Jerry Falwell, Jr. calling for the president to extend his term from the constitutionally mandated four years to six.

Referring to the Democratic Party-led effort to label Trump a Russian collaborator, the tweet read: “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.”

By re-tweeting this proposal, Trump is, in effect, threatening to cancel the 2020 elections and declare himself above the law. Article II of the US Constitution states that the president “shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years.”

Posted by: John Doe | May 10 2019 2:54 utc | 35

@34, Alpi57,

Snowden has nothing to bargain with and no one to bargain with.

He's fortunate that Putin saved his ass and gives him room to speak out to the world and sleep well at night (with his girl friend who was allowed to stay with him).

He thought he could make it all public, the Truth would set him free.
He should have taken it to Assange.
He got in with Liberals who are the least trustworthy characters in the Media-sphere.

They have sold him out, and the leverage of total exposure of all he took has been killed.
He's out on a limb and one day the tree will fall or someone will shoot him off the limb.

He had a moment of courage. We thank him.
He had no plan that would protect him. Sad.

Most of all, his plan did not guarantee full publication of all he took. That is truly a tragedy.

Snowden, Greenwald, et al are not worth our concern. They screwed up, for whatever reasons.

Omidyar is an oligarch in service to the Fascist Deep State. He fancies himself as the next George Soros.

The Intercept is 99% utterly worthless.

Posted by: Red Ryder | May 10 2019 2:56 utc | 36

@ Alpi57 with the questions about why not more leaks by Snowden and Assange

Two different answers but related

Snowden currently lives under the protection of Russia. He earns that protection by staying out of the game being played at the nation geo-political level that some of his data may expose.

Assange has data related to the game being played at a "lower level" in the power structure than the top, so the containment and prosecution of the leaker is different. Assange has also been held in asylum within the empire circus. He and his remaining cohorts are probably keeping their powder dry at this point given that the nation states China/Russia/FUKUSi/EU seem to be taking on each other without needing more incentive.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 10 2019 3:02 utc | 37

Having read the previous comments, may I add that Greenwald once concurred with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now that "there's no doubt" that Assad was responsible for several high-profile chemical incidents in Syria. While Assad is no boy scout, in this categorical form the statement is a definite falsehood. For someone as versed in these matters as Greenwald is, that means it's a deliberate lie. For a small refresher, the best available evidence says that last year's E Ghouta incident was a complete hoax: people on the ground confirmed that there had been no chemical attack from any side; while for the 2013 sarin attack, the official US Govt position (as opposed to the political rhetoric from both the Obama and Trump administrations) is that there is no evidence of Assad's culpability, and that the moderates from the opposition also have a chemical capability. It's a bit ugly to say, but in GG's case one is tempted to think that jews just will be jews.

@Alpi57, #34: Snowden didn't want to, and couldn't, retain a physical copy of the classified materials and take it with him to Russia. He's always observed the fine line that his purpose was to inform the US (and wider western) public--not rival governments. This is a fundamental difference with say Alexandr Litvinenko, who cashed in on his FSB past by taking up a paid gig with MI6.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | May 10 2019 3:19 utc | 38

Shouldn't the Intercept_ be better named The Capture_and_Killer_ ?

Posted by: aaaa | May 10 2019 3:50 utc | 39

Chelsea Manning Has Been Released From Jail

Chelsea Manning was released today from the Virginia jail where she spent 62 days for refusing to testify about her past ties to WikiLeaks before a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Attorneys for Manning said the release came after the grand jury’s term expired on Thursday. Her legal team has already been served another subpoena. It demands she appear before a different grand jury on May 17. Manning has vowed not to answer any questions and, therefore, could be returned to custody as early as next week.

“Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions, and will use every available legal defense to prove to District Judge Trenga that she has just cause for her refusal to give testimony,” her lawyers said.

Maybe asylum in Iceland or somewhere civilized?? But of course, they will probably have an ankle bracelet on her.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 10 2019 3:56 utc | 40

I don't perceive that Snowden failed in what he hoped to achieve, or even that he was sold short. The five percent of his material that got out into the public mind was transmitted through the Guardian and the Washington Post - it flashed around the world through all of the public media. It changed the perception of perhaps hundreds of millions of people, simply because it came through the mainstream channels. Glenn Greenwald, whom I have described as no longer trustworthy, helped to create that event - and honorably at that time, in my personal view.

Snowden gave up ownership - better, we should call it trusteeship - of that material as soon as he knew it had been responsibly handed over. He never wanted to keep it. He didn't actually consider it his. He trusted the media people to use it with the skills that they had and which he didn't have. They used it better than he ever could have. Snowden's action changed the world. It's already succeeded. Yes, we would like to see the 95% that remains, but this is another story, not the Snowden story.


People say that no whistleblower information ever presents anything new, that they knew it all along anyway, because it was always obvious. Well, candidly, I admire those who knew those things before whistleblowers made them public. But personally, I'm a little naive, and I've always needed the whistleblowers to reveal their truths, which I note they always do at tremendous cost to their formerly comfortable lives.

Snowden's revelations altered my sense of the scale at which the corrupt national state of the US would act. This is truly what we mean by a paradigm change. Once that paradigm had shifted, it became necessary for me to examine other theories of conspiracy that I had previously discounted. I suspect that this has happened to many other people.

Bottom line, I say Snowden's five percent did the job, and I praise him for it. As to the Intercept and the missing info, that's a crime on their sheet that happened after the Snowden event. I repeat my conviction that Snowden succeeded by going to journalists in ways that he would not have succeeded by going to Wikileaks. I honor Wikileaks far above those journalistic outlets, but I'm looking at the rare media coup that occurred.

Posted by: Grieved | May 10 2019 4:47 utc | 41

Absolutely the Intercept is a shit news outlet. It is 'fake left'. Check out the, they did a 3 part in depth biography of Omidyar. Here is one of them-

There are some really, really bad "journalists" at The Intercept. I think its implicit mission is to brainwash lefties. Greenwald is okay, but even he is a 'gatekeeper' for the fake left, in a way that Chomsky also is. The Intercept's comments section is also filled with sock puppets and hasbara trolls. Blech.

Posted by: Deschutes | May 10 2019 6:35 utc | 42

Twitter thread further explaining how Hale could have been compromised

Posted by: Isaac | May 10 2019 7:52 utc | 43

>>>>>: Red Ryder | May 9, 2019 10:56:39 PM | 36

Snowden, Greenwald, et al are not worth our concern. They screwed up, for whatever reasons.

Given the impact Snowden and Greenwald have had on this world, they deserve our concern and respect. If you'd had 1% of the impact both have had, you'd be doing very well indeed but since you haven't perhaps you should dismount that high horse.

As for Hale, Snowden and Greenwald had nothing to do with it and if you read Rob Graham's comment about the Hale indictment (see Isaac's comment @ 43 above), you'll understand that Jeremy Schill and The Intercept didn't screw up either. It was Hale in his naivety who screwed up by not understanding what $86 billion buys these days.

As for Greenwald's comments about Assad and chemical weapons, who really cares. We live in a world where there is an accepted narrative (Washington's) and if you work too far outside that narrative, you'll never be accepted onto the MSM and get exposure for stories that are important. For example, how many people have ever seen Vanessa Beeley on TV (not YouTube)? BTW, I have respect for Vanessa Beeley's reporting.

The Intercept is 99% utterly worthless.

Nah, I'd say it's worth more than all the MSM put together and more than Mint Press and when you include their nuttier fringe stuff.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | May 10 2019 9:30 utc | 44

"As for Greenwald's comments about Assad and chemical weapons, who really cares."

@Ghost Ship:

I care:) What I don't care about is Glenn Greenwald giving us no information beyond common sense. Greenwald was against russiagate, but russiagate is obvious propaganda. Greenwald lying about about chemical weapons in the Syria coup is a red flag since it's the propaganda used by intelligence agencies. There is more to not trusting Greenwald and others, like Scahill, at the Intercept--not just mishandling of important documents, but also being themselves assets for the intelligence agencies;)

Posted by: SharonM | May 10 2019 10:22 utc | 45

Lots of talk about the impact the Greenwald-Snowden show has had. For the life of me I can't see what that impact has been.

odysseus 29

Go back and read again what I said.

BTW the ACLU also supports the "Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act", and both Greenwald and the ACLU support animal torture porn. Is that enough for you to understand their vileness?

Oh, and let's not forget their support for corporate speech "rights".

Posted by: Russ | May 10 2019 10:49 utc | 46

Problem is that if you leak to a source outside of the US you risk getting sentenced for espionage like Chelsea Manning.

It is not possible not to leave a trace with present day surveillance if you don't take the outdated method of going for a walk and talking.

This here is Seymour Hersh on protecting sources

Let’s talk about why you wrote the memoir in the first place: The book about Dick Cheney you were contracted to write was put on hold because you believed, with good reason, that you couldn’t protect your sources. I couldn’t do it. I was giving my sources chapters—which I do, not all the time, but stuff that’s relevant, sensitive—and they thought Cheney would figure out who was talking. They were worried. ... I signed a contract in about ’11 and I started working full-time—scads of interviews—and I was told within two months not to put anything in the computer by somebody who was still inside working for Cheney. And I said, “Oh, god.” I said, “Don’t worry about it. I’m not going to connect it to the internet.” He says, “You’re not listening to me.” I said, “No. Fucking. Kidding.” The guy said I couldn’t protect him. ... If you had a good story, you had to see five or six different people with bullshit to mask the one guy that told you something important. ... But I was just somebody who knew the war sucked. I learned by just going to lunch with these guys. ... I take notes and I go over them. I have a good memory and use a lot of shorthand. All those little adjectives and adverbs, I’ve got a little dash for or something. I just write the keywords. My handwriting is bad, which is good. I understand it and nobody else does. Then I immediately annotate. I sit down, sometimes in the car if I’m on the road. I never tape anything. ... I don’t publish that stuff. A lot of guys would just go with it. I want to know why. First of all, I don’t know anything about what happened. The suggestion, obviously, is somehow some people were hurt or put away, but I don’t know that, either. And I was worried about getting the source of all that exposed. I don’t know if that was a memo written to five people or four or six or seven. And I can’t be sure if there’s some designator in it. You know, they’re very sophisticated now in tracing papers.

If we could return to the Cheney book for a moment: You didn’t want to publish the book because of threats to your sources, and the risk to their careers?

Prosecution! Obama’s prosecuting. Remember the guy that went to jail? Risen’s source? I don’t know the inside story, but what the hell? He’s prosecuting people left, right, and center.

The whole memoir is interesting. Baseline is that Seymour Hersh always knew what the politics of his publishing were and he always made sure he protected his sources.

Posted by: somebody | May 10 2019 11:13 utc | 47


Greenwald was against russiagate, but russiagate is obvious propaganda.

To start with Russiagate wasn't propaganda, it was a pathetic BS excuse to cover up Hillary Clinton's complete and utter failure against Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential elections. Nothing more, nothing less. Later on certain parts of the US government latched on to it as a propaganda/political warfare tool for their own purposes.

As for Syria, Greenwald is a journalist who AFAIK has never visited Syria and doesn't pretend to be an expert on Syria's war, so who is even interested on what he says about Syria. Liz Sly (WaPo) and Anne Barnard (NYT) are also allegedly journalists and pretend to be experts on Syria but I have even less interest in what they say about Syria than what Greenwald says because of their way of gathering information.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | May 10 2019 11:37 utc | 48

Several years ago a lesser known anonymous leak site posted the following regarding tips to increase your chances of staying anonymous. He was pretty pessimistic about it then, and that was 7 years ago. I'd say it's even more difficult now.
A asks:
How to submit material to Cryptome anonymously?
To send material to Cryptome anonymously:
1. Consider that the odds are very high that Cryptome or any other disclosure initiative (anonymizer, leak site, paste, doc-drop, torrent) is a deception operation, witting or unwitting, and avoid their use.
2. Protect yourself and never trust any method proposed by a receiver of your material. Never believe assurances of privacy and security for it is customary to deceive about them, witting or unwitting, and inevitable failures are never fully admitted.
3. Presume there are no secure means to anonymously transmit online due to the basic design of the Internet to minutely track transmitted data despite illusory promises of anonymizing, cloaking and hiding services.
4. Presume undisclosed sysadmin surveillance throughout the online transmittal path.
5. Presume there are no fully secure means to encrypt digital material due to the unbridgeable gap between programming limitations of digital data and the engineering indequacies of analog devices to handle it.
6. Presume every program, device and system has a traceable embedded unique ID or electromagnetic performance signature.
7. If a host is used, run a series of test submssions of provocative but benign material to see what happens. Place "dye markers" in the material to trace its movement. Expect tampering, ruse, subterfuge, false assurance.
8. "Not traceable to you," repeated below, is the hardest part only you can do.
However, if you wish to take a risk with Cryptome (or any other), a few suggestions:
If material is digital:
1. Encrypt to our PGP public key on with a one-time-use PK. Encrypt again with a different one-time-use PK. The encrypting device should not be yours nor traceable to you.
2. Wear surgical gloves and surgical mask for step 2 and 3. (Best is a bio-hazard suit.)
3. Burn data to disk from a one-time use device. The burning device should not be yours nor traceable to you.
4. Package in a container untouched by your bare body. Package in a second container. Packages should not be traceable to you.
5. Mail or ship to our postal address on from a location distant from your usual location, from a separate country if possible by way of a forwarding service not traceable to you.
If hardcopy 1:
1. Wear surgical gloves and surgical mask for step 2 and 3. (Best is a bio-hazard suit.)
2. Make a copy at a location away from your usual location.
3. Package in a container untouched by your bare body. Package in a second container. Packages should not be traceable to you.
4. Mail or ship to our postal address on from a location distant from your usual location, from a separate country if possible by way of a forwarding service not traceable to you.
If hardcopy 2:
1. Wear surgical gloves and surgical mask for step 2 - 4. (Best is a bio-hazard suit.)
2. Scan hardcopy to make images or PDFs. The scanning device should not be yours nor traceable to you.
3. Encrypt to our PGP public key on with a one-time-use PK. Encrypt again with a different one-time-use PK. The encrypting device should not be yours nor traceable to you.
4. Burn data to disk from a one-time use device. The burning device should not be yours nor traceable to you.
5. Package in a container untouched by your bare body. Package in a second container. Packages should not be traceable to you.
6. Mail or ship to our postal address on from a location distant from your usual location, from a separate country if possible by way of a forwarding service not traceable to you.
Best, be creative, imagine a means to triumph over the advice given here. Don't brag about it.

Posted by: J Swift | May 10 2019 15:25 utc | 49

There is no mainstream liberal media. Mainstream media is pro-war and pro-regime change; pro-Capitalist; anti-Communist; Christian; pro-Global Terror War; pro- Israel Apartheid State; pro-billionaire; pro-growth; rape and pillage.

These are not liberal positions.

Snowden and Greenwald as limited hangout purveyors. Nothing new was revealed, except keystroke, perhaps. Reinforced mentality , "If I'm not doing anything wrong, I've got nothing to hide."

Where is Snowden now?

Any bigish players called for the arrest of Clapper? That should be low hanging fruit.

Posted by: fastfreddy | May 10 2019 15:40 utc | 50

Others who have followed Greenwald, Scahill, and the Intercept to a far greater extent than I, have done a fine job of laying out their faults. However, I think many here are committing the error of attempting to deify these people and institutions. People are humans, institutions groups of humans and humans are unfortunately far from perfect. Some less so than others but all with their own shortcomings. As someone posted above, if you're looking for a Messiah in journalism, you'll be looking a long, long time.
Greenwald and Scahill have done fantastic work; they've also been fantastically wrong at times. Personally I've never put much "faith" in the Intercept as they've put out considerable amounts of junk journalism. But that doesn't mean they've not published very worthy material as well. I personally wouldn't leak something to them but IMO blanket statements have little value in this world.
The idea that journalism merely seeks to inform is incomplete, and as such, is inaccurate. One informs in order to convince, there will never be a clean break between those concepts, informing will always blend into convincing and vice versa. Therefore any and all journalism will have an editorial line, an agenda, a convincing of some kind, behind it. I'm not saying this is good or bad, it is merely a description of our reality. Of course this isn't to say there isn't more objective and less objective journalism but the idea of purely objective journalism is a fairytale in the same vein as purely objective reality. As humans, we simply don't live in that realm. It is up to us, as consumers of information to be convinced or not.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | May 10 2019 15:54 utc | 51

silly question... quote from ew - "Hale is represented by Abbe Lowell who, along with being Jared Kushner’s lawyer, is also one of the best lawyers in the country on defending leak cases." is it possible Pierre Omidyar would pay for his legal council?

Posted by: james | May 10 2019 16:25 utc | 52


"Referring to the Democratic Party-led effort to label Trump a Russian collaborator, the tweet read: “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.”

By re-tweeting this proposal, Trump is, in effect, threatening to cancel the 2020 elections and declare himself above the law. Article II of the US Constitution states that the president “shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years.”

I don't like Trump either, but I think that tweet was not meant to be taken literally. Just another a way of saying that he feels two years were wasted on Russia-gate.

Surely even he realizes, lacking a constitutional amendment, it's not possible to alter the presidential term. And even if you did get a constitutional amendment -- a long drawn out process that requires approval by 2/3 of both houses of congress and ratification by 3/4 of the states, either by a vote of the legislature or ratifying conventions; or two thirds of the state legislatures calling for a constitutional convention with ratification of the amendment by 3/4 of the states, either by a vote of the legislature or ratifying conventions -- it surely couldn't be applied retroactively to include his term. It's absurd to think that, no matter how unhinged he may get, he would even try this much less everyone else just passively going along with it.

Another rumor going around (not to be conflated with the above notion of extending the presidential term by fiat for 2 years) is that he just may not honor the vote if he loses in 2020 -- and just hunker down for another 4 years.. But here again, it goes without saying, he wouldn't have a legal leg to stand on. And here again, I can't possibly conceive of people just passively going along with it. The only way possible he could pull it off is if maybe a faction of the military broke off and sided with him, in which case we'd probably be looking at civil war. Or possibly carry out a false flag and declare a state of emergency, but even then he'd have a hard time rationalizing annulling the election results on that basis -- and again, I don't see people passively acquiescing to that scenario either.

For the people who are making these claims, unless they can describe some kind of scenario where he could possibly pull it off, I can't take it seriously.

He's got to have the power base behind him in order to do something like that. And he doesn't have it. It would be analogous to the situation in Venezuela. The only way One (Juan) Random Guy-do could possibly pull off (bypassing legal process and) carrying out a coup is if he had military backing (which thankfully he doesn't). When you try to circumvent legal process and arbitrarily enforce your will, it goes without saying you have to have the power to do it. It just comes down to raw power. If you don’t have it you can’t do it. Otherwise, you wind up just another bad joke with egg on your face.

Posted by: Steverino | May 10 2019 16:41 utc | 53

I would guess that few commentators here have read or remember the considerable body of work by Herbert Marcusa. He described in detail how an established power reaches out and absorbs its opposition. Greenwald and the creation of the Intercept is a graduate seminar on how that is done.

Now, Greenwald is pretending to be independent from even the publication he holds power over with Omidyar as his generous benefactor, but the damage is done. 95% of the Snowden archive will likely never, or not for a very long time, be public now.

Greenwald now goes around polishing his reputation as a "good annalist" by doing what all propagandists do - tell the truth gain a reputation then feed in the distortions and lies (eg the thin and disingenuous crap about fairness in hireing Risen). Omidyar does his job by paying the hansom bribes which Greenwald worked hard to get by suppressing the Snowden archive.

Why is Omidyar different from Bazos or Murdoch or Sulzberger? He is not and what Greenwald gets paid for is to serve the interests of the global power elite.

Greenwald, in his own way, is supporting imperial slaughter in Yemen and across the world.

Because of what Greenwald and his little fiefdom do tow people are in jail, but even worse is the propaganda they put out every day.

Because of Greenwald, slaughter around the world is conducted with impunity.

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 10 2019 17:38 utc | 54

Posted by: james | May 10, 2019 12:25:00 PM | 52

Why did they wait five years with the arrest?

This is emptywheel's account you quote.

My suspicion is that the drone war leaks were embarrassing to Obama and the democrats, and that is why they come up again before election.

Glenn Greenwald seems to have found a new home at Fox News.

And the Intercept very much part of the Democratic Party election campaign

So, no, I don't think Omydiar is paying but maybe Trumps are sharing a lawyer.

Posted by: somebody | May 10 2019 19:46 utc | 55

@55 somebody.. yes - ew - emptywheel... thanks for the update and your thoughts on my question..

Posted by: james | May 10 2019 20:49 utc | 56

The Intercept. Nomen est omen.

Posted by: Symen Danziger | May 10 2019 21:04 utc | 57

"That's quite a smear of Glenn Greenwald."

I don't think it is a "smear." It is the truth.
Big difference.
GG has brought it on himself.
And it looks as though GG and Omidyar have caused enough grief to genuine whislelblowers so that GG certainly cannot be termed a, or the, victim in the scene.

Very disappointed to read this about GG and his gig with Omidyar (that is, of course I knew of his gig but didn't understand the terms that b has set forth). It is low-down and craven verging on criminal for him to use Snowden has he had done.
What does Snowden say about GG's taking ownership of the mateiral that Snowden at great risk to himself freed from NSA computers?
The bottom line seems to be that Snowden trusted Greenwald and Poitras and they screwed him.
How's about using some of the $$$ to set up a foundation for the benefit of Snowden? Not to mention, other organizations and whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning and Wikileaks. Will Omidyar-GG help Assange and Manning with their legal fees? Will they make public statements in defense of those individuals to whom they owe so much? Do GG and Poitras have any sense of honor? Last I knew GG was planning to write about animal rights in Brazil . . .

Perhaps GG will step up to the plate to defend himself in this forum. Remember, Glenn, silence = consent.

Posted by: Really? | May 10 2019 22:51 utc | 58

"Now I'm against any state or corporate censorship, but anyone who wanted to fight for free speech could find hundreds of worthy speech causes and never reach the first Nazi. "

I can't agree with this. I don't know how "proud" or not GG was about defending the free speech rights of Nazis, but the bottom line is that the point of free speech rights, as all rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights, is not a popularity contest. Au contraire, the less popular the views, the more decisively free speech rights must be defended and applied. That is why they are there. not to defend speech about motherhood and apple pie. That should really be obvious to anyone posting comments here. Free speech rights, like the baby that Solomon saved from being cut in half by the false mother, are indivisible.

Posted by: Really? | May 10 2019 23:04 utc | 59

Check out MintPress headline. Big write up on Intercept. Getting traction.

b, you’ve done It again.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | May 10 2019 23:24 utc | 60

mint press article uncle jon refers to...

Posted by: james | May 11 2019 1:25 utc | 61

Posted by: Really? | May 10, 2019 7:04:15 PM | 59

"Now I'm against any state or corporate censorship, but anyone who wanted to fight for free speech could find hundreds of worthy speech causes and never reach the first Nazi. "

I can't agree with speech rights, as all rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights, is not a popularity contest.

You think anti-capitalist demonstrators, anti-war demonstrators, anti-ecocide demonstrators, anyone wanting to preserve speech rights at the workplace, or to protect speech rights vs. the threat of being fired for their expression, just to name a few of the beleaguered who aren't Nazis, are winning "popularity contests"? What world are you living in?

My point stands - one could dedicate one's entire career to the above and never reach the first Nazi.

Posted by: Russ | May 11 2019 4:31 utc | 62

This is my first comment on MofA after years of lurking. Can any of the hundreds of braniacs here confirm my remote memory of Putin, after the Snowden leaks, ordering typewriters back into service in some of the Russian bureaucracies? Particularly their 'intelligence' services?

Seems to me the only reliable means of transmitting information nowadays is a face-to-face meeting in a remote setting, either by word of mouth, manuscript and/or typescript.

Posted by: Dubs | May 11 2019 12:40 utc | 63

Posted by: Dubs | May 11, 2019 8:40:02 AM | 63

That's what it comes down to. You also have to ensure that your partners do not take their smartphones.

Problem is that without a smartphone you really stand out in a crowd.

That's probably the reason, why today's information is hidden in a lot of fake news.

Posted by: somebody | May 11 2019 13:10 utc | 64

@63 Dubs

Here you go


Posted by: b4real | May 11 2019 18:18 utc | 65

Russ: "My point stands - one could dedicate one's entire career to the above and never reach the first Nazi."

It's easy to defend speech of causes one agrees with. The real test and indication of whether one is serious about free speech and not a hypocrite is defending speech one finds repulsive. It's also easy to display bias passively in only accepting free speech cases where YES, relatively "popular" stances are at threat. If your concern is about content of the speech rather than the threat it faces then you're a fair-weather subjective jackass.

Posted by: Soft Asylum | May 12 2019 0:24 utc | 66

Laura Poitras is 100% ethical and was left in the dark about the Intercept closing the Snowden archive, and once she knew about it very active in criticizing that decision and trying to get it reversed. Please don't tar her with Intercept's dirt. Read more:

Posted by: Dawn | May 12 2019 5:48 utc | 67

@ 66

You can spin it any way you like, nazi sympathizer. If I were a free speech activist then Yes I'd use my very limited resources to choose speech cases where the persecuted speech was what I judged worthwhile in the first place. As would you (since you can't do everything, any more than Greenwald can), and we see where your sympathies lie, just like I said at the outset.

News flash: I'd also fight for BDS speech rights, and not for anti-BDS speech!!! That must really blow your mind.

By your logic, we should flip a coin each day to decide whether to support the Palestinians or the Zionists.

Posted by: Russ | May 12 2019 9:40 utc | 68

Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” ― Rosa Luxemburg

Some people were free to kill her. To fight for abstract freedom is suicidal.

Posted by: somebody | May 12 2019 10:58 utc | 69

b4real @ 65


Posted by: donkeytale | May 12 2019 13:51 utc | 70


Well stated.

Greenwald now goes around polishing his reputation as a "good annalist" by doing what all propagandists do - tell the truth gain a reputation then feed in the distortions and lies (eg the thin and disingenuous crap about fairness in hireing Risen).

[emphasis mine]

Greenwald and Assange are hugely egotistical attention whores. This fact doesn't obviate their good work at all (I don't believe Assange should be extradited and I believe Wikileaks is a journalistic enterprise) because those attributes are job requirements for anyone willing to take the risks and do what they have done...and only the most hypocritical purity trolls among us would condemn GG or JA or anyone else for being "human, all too human."

However, at the end of the day it cannot be denied both became fascist tools, whether wittingly (Greenwald) or usefully idiotic (Assange).

If Assange didn't know the Russians duped him he should simply swallow his immense pride and say "I don't know" who hacked/leaked. Or keep his mouth shut. If he has proof the emails were leaked by insiders and not hacked then he should disclose his evidence. That's, uhm, what he's supposed to be all about: full disclosure, let the chips fall where they may.

And there are some I'm sure who believe he's holding onto all this evidence waiting until his day in court (4th dimensional chess of course!). My question is what would he gain by holding out? Besides being earth shattering, conventional narrative exploding news if indeed Seth Rich leaked the emails and was then murdered, this information would still be just as powerful as evidence if and when Assange ends up in a US court. Which for the record I don't think he will, unless Nigel Farage somehow becomes PM and hands him over to the GOP in a display of fascist solidarity with Trumpism.

But if Assange is dissembling about Seth Rich merely to protect his reputation than he's a pure clown subsisting at the lowest level of typical blogger disinformation.

And I say all this while defending Assange as a journalist. He should not be extradited to the US under any circumstances.

FWIW, IMHO, Barrett Brown comes closer to being an honest arbiter of information than either Greenwald or Assange.

Posted by: donkeytale | May 12 2019 14:40 utc | 71

@ Russ | May 12, 2019 5:40:08 AM | 68

”By your logic, we should flip a coin each day to decide whether to support the Palestinians or the Zionists.”

That's not what he's saying at all. He's saying we must not pass laws forbidding anyone to practice his or her free speech rights.

Here's an analogy for you; we can forbid persons with deadly, highly communicable diseases from deliberately blowing their breath on other persons, and we can refuse to associate with them, but we must never even think of forbidding them to breathe.

Posted by: AntiSpin | May 12 2019 14:51 utc | 72

On Greenwald, whatever his financial motivations and priorities as an alleged gatekeeper for the Left, try finding a more in-depth interview with a presidential candidate:

Posted by: Chris | May 12 2019 15:09 utc | 73

Too many secrets. (from the movie Sneakers)
Further proof our govt does so much that it is unaccountable to the people. And it scrambles to defend itself by attacking whistleblowers.
This story reminded me of how we found out about CIA's Operation Merlin. There was no direct proof that Sterling gave Risen the information later published. But the fact that Sterling had access to the information, was a disgruntled employee, and had meetings with Risen was enough for conviction. Reporter Risen was not charged.

Posted by: Curtis | May 12 2019 15:58 utc | 74

AntiSpin 72

If that's what he was saying he has abysmal reading comprehension. I explicitly said I oppose state censorship. Then I said that where it comes to speech rights activists like Greenwald, who have very limited resources and must pick and choose their cases, the choices they make can tell a lot about them. To say for the third and last time since this is getting boring, one could devote a career to defending the speech rights of environmental activists, animal rights activists, anti-war activists, workers vs. their censorious employers, BDS advocates etc. and never reach the first Nazi. One must preferentially choose to defend Nazis.

Posted by: Russ | May 12 2019 19:24 utc | 75

@ Russ | May 12, 2019 3:24:39 PM | 75

One must preferentially choose to defend Nazis.

You have used a logical fallacy -- posing a false dichotomy. One does not have to choose between sources of speech, nor does one have to conduct the defense of speech from individual sources seriatim – one can choose to defend speech from all sources.

Posted by: AntiSpin | May 12 2019 21:08 utc | 76

From Monika Schaefer's blog:

“Over a year ago, before being kept for 10 months in Germany as a political prisoner, I had started to gather these passages out of some of my correspondences.

They are responses to questions or concerns from friends and relatives about the difficult and controversial subject of our (falsely-taught) history. Although these are older conversations, they are completely relevant still, and so I am finally publishing these extracts. Names have been removed to respect privacy.

One extract:

“And then there is the holocaust of the German women and children in cities such as Dresden, Hamburg, Cologne, and hundreds more. Dresden was really really bad. It was perhaps one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe, and had not a single military installation.

It had been spared for most of the war, and hence it was full of refugees, the injured, the old, and women and children. The people believed it would continue to be spared because they could not imagine that anyone, even in wartime, would be so depraved as to target a city of such beauty, with zero military. 

Then on Feb 11, 1945, the Allies, (or ALL Lies as some call them), unleashed a firestorm on Dresden. It was pure hatred and revenge. The Allies knew that Dresden was full of civilians, and they set the city on fire. Then they paused, to allow survivors who hadn’t been boiled alive to emerge from bunkers, and then they unleashed another round of firebombing, watching as the fleeing people got stuck in molten asphalt and spontaneously erupted into flames.

[…snip…] I would guess that some of the British soldiers doing those bombings committed suicide, after seeing what they had just done.”

another extract:

Dear ______,

Your take on 9/11 sounds pretty much identical to gate-keeper Noam Chomsky. Maybe he is your hero. He was my hero too and I had many of his books. It took me months to come to terms with his role as a major collaborator in the cover-up of what actually happened on 9/11.

I kept on thinking that maybe he is just senile. A little piece of information on him: he comes out of Tavistock. In short, that is a place that specializes in mind-control and how to induce masses of people into support for going to war [or other agendas].

We citizens are apparently too stupid to figure anything out, without having a phD.

[According to you] we can put aside our own abilities to look at something and ask ourselves how much sense something makes, etc. because we are not physicists, so we should not trust our observational and analytical skills either. Okay fine, let’s just talk about coincidences.

– The fact that such steel-building collapses like the three that happened on 9/11 never happened before or since, unless they were, in fact, controlled demolitions. But three happened that day.

– The fact that the BBC announced that WTC7 had collapsed, 20 minutes before it actually collapsed. Oops. Wrong timing on the script?

– The fact that Ehud Barak happened to be in the BBC studios in London while 9/11 was happening, and planted the narrative about Osama Bin Laden, and that America should go to war in Afghanistan. Ehud Barak just happened to be a top-dog in Israel’s military, and he had been Prime Minister of Israel. Just coincidence that he was there?

– The fact that drills were taking place the day of 9/11, simulating pretty much the same scene that then went live.

There are quite a few more coincidences, but I could just ask: are you a “coincidence theorist”?

(please note: the Katana17 blog that Monika links to above has already been suspended by Wordpress.

And just in the last 48 hours, Wordpress has banned two other dissident blogs: Chateau Heartiste (probably banned for anti-semitism) and The Ugly Truth, an alternative blog founded by Mark Glenn, was banned because it focused on exposing Zionist crimes across the world, in history and the present time.

read more:

Posted by: Free Speech Monika | May 13 2019 1:46 utc | 77

@ 76

Glad to hear you have infinite time and resources. No one else does, and anyone else must make choices. We're not talking about typing out throwaway internet comments which can easily toss out vast abstractions. We're talking about a flesh-and-blood lawyer existing in real time who must choose a handful from among the hundreds of cases he could potentially take on.

The fact that free speech fundamentalists tend to prefer neo-nazis and "corporate persons" (Greenwald's emphatic about corporate speech "rights") to activists, leftists, workers, tribal peoples etc. is eloquent testimony to the fundamentally bourgeois liberal character of these kinds of "rights", and of those who make a fetish of them instead of viewing them in purely tactical way. Sort of like those for whom elections and voting is a religion rather than a purely strategic-tactical element.

Posted by: Russ | May 13 2019 5:31 utc | 78

Posted by: Russ | May 13, 2019 1:31:57 AM | 78

Might be having to make a living? That is not really a liberal bourgeois trait.

Posted by: somebody | May 13 2019 8:45 utc | 79



Thanks. (From one smart ass to another!)


Posted by: Dubs | May 13 2019 13:21 utc | 80

@ Russ | May 13, 2019 1:31:57 AM | 78

Remember – so-called “free speech fundamentalists” will also defend the right of anti-vaxxers to peddle their own dangerous nonsense. Otherwise, by your preference, they'd go to the back of the line along with the Nazis.

Posted by: AntiSpin | May 13 2019 15:07 utc | 81

Not rumor but first hand experience. I was in Baghdad in the run up to the 2003 bombing with an antiwar group that Scahill and his colleague at the time, Jackie, were part of. The group was repeatedly told not to randomly photograph without a minders permission, as Iraq security could be threatened. All agreed to comply. At that time, Iraq was still under heavy intl sanctions and the city shut down after dark. No cars, no public transport, no music or partying by the Tigris. So dead quiet at night that coyotes would run down the deserted streets howling. Totally eery. But what did Scahill do? One night a couple weeks before US troops invaded, Scahill and an "ex- US Army photographer" Joel Preston Smith, snuck out in the dead of night with cameras, tripods and lights to take 'tourist shots'. Muckbarat caught them after the midnight hours outside filming the Oil Ministry, Baath Party HQ, Republican Guards bases, the Information Ministry and other "routine tourist sites." Rather than jail them and risk an intl incident, the Iraq govt expelled them as spies. Scahill gave those pix to whom? What the hell was he doing?? I said to a fellow peacenik: "Jeremy just assured himself Big career success once he gets back to the states. Look for him to shoot to the top." Funny he got a contract soon after to do an expose on Blackwater. How? After Abu Ghraib, the pressure was on to investigate the perps who tortured and interrogated alot of those prisoners. Having Arabic language skills and Palestinian 'experience', alot of the brutal sessions were executed by Israeli exIDF /Mossad working for Israel contractors CACI & Titan. They needed to divert attention off Israel's crimes in Ghraib. So Blackwater became the lightning rod instead, with Jeremy contracted to do the book. Was Scahill told of his obfuscatory role for Israel? I doubt it, probably just offered it as a great book deal and didnt know how he was used. But in Baghdad? He well knew exactly what he did.
None of Scahill's career as phony opposition has relieved the impression that he is an agent. His treatment of Mother Agnes and Syria clinched the deal. Scahill is a fraud and probably worse. Only a fool would trust this snake with his life. Which is what these naive whistleblowers did. How unfortunate honest whistleblowers ended up in jail because of this opportunist.

Posted by: K2 | May 13 2019 18:00 utc | 82

Thanks for this k2. No 82.

Explains a lot.

Posted by: Typingperson | May 14 2019 6:19 utc | 83

@65 b4real... hey, that was cute!!

@82 k2.. thanks.. informative and fascinating..

Posted by: james | May 14 2019 6:41 utc | 84


Thanks for that first-hand view with loads of info.

It's comments like yours that demonstrate how important citizen journalism is.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 7:29 utc | 85

Posted by: K2 | May 13, 2019 2:00:31 PM | 82

I checked the part of your story I could check and that part was disinformation.

CACI and TITAN have certainly ties to the Israeli military complex the way all of the US military complex have but they are US American. The torture was US American.

Main thing: Contractors played a role but not the leading role - that role was played by US military intelligence.

And the US are known to have used Arab secret services for torture - rendition was not done via Israel.

Egypt has always been the worst. If Abu Ghraib torture was similar to anything it was to what was known from Egypt - including the dogs.

So whatever the Blackwater book was intended to deflect from, it was not Israel.

For the rest of your story, I am intrigued how people highly critical of main stream media believe anonymous posters if it suits their prejudice.

Posted by: somebody | May 14 2019 9:39 utc | 86

Posted by: somebody | May 13, 2019 4:45:20 AM | 79

"Might be having to make a living? That is not really a liberal bourgeois trait."

I suppose I'd have to look it up to be 100% sure, but I'm pretty sure we're talking about pro bono work here. Certainly in the case of the ACLU.

Posted by: Russ | May 14 2019 10:02 utc | 87

@ 81

So far as I've seen that particular anti-corporate civil disobedience group gets little or no help from the free speech industrial complex. Unlike your beloved nazis.

By contrast, the governments and corporations systematically eradicating antibiotics as an effective treatment would never have to worry about their "rights" being infringed at all. Certainly the boot-licking pro-corporate likes of you never utter a peep about that.

Posted by: Russ | May 14 2019 10:08 utc | 88

Question for those arguing with me (or anyone else who cares to answer).

Do you consider the journalists and commentators at the likes of the NYT, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC etc., not to mention the de jure corporate and government PR flacks, to be exercising their rightful speech rights, or do you consider them criminal propagandists who should be hanged on the same grounds Julius Streicher was at Nuremburg? Was Streicher wrongly convicted?

Posted by: Russ | May 14 2019 10:54 utc | 89

Posted by: Russ | May 14, 2019 6:02:56 AM | 87

No lawyer works for a fund raising charity pro bono. Lawyers have to live.

They have a yearly income of some 140 million

Posted by: somebody | May 14 2019 11:48 utc | 90

Posted by: Russ | May 14, 2019 6:54:32 AM | 89
The Nurenberg prosecutor did.

His career as a writer closed as it began, on Nuremberg, however; and, surprisingly, he recanted his previous view that Nazi Jew-baiter Julius Streicher, Gauleiter (regional leader) of Nuremberg and Franconia and editor of the anti-Semitic newspaper Der Sturmer (The Stormer) should have been both convicted and hanged.

In the “politically correct” climate of the 1990s, the general concluded that Streicher and Nazi philosopher Alfred Rosenberg had both been unjustifiably convicted and hanged, largely because of the unpopularity of their political views, speeches, and writings.

"Hate" should not be part of free speech. But there is a perspective when you compare negative feelings to acts.

Posted by: somebody | May 14 2019 12:02 utc | 91

@ 90

Sigh. We weren't talking about the ACLU's funding or the salary of its staff. We were talking about what clients pay, which I believe is zero. Are you just going to keep contorting to avoid the fact that speech activists pick and choose their cases based on personal preference and nothing else?


I couldn't care less what the Nuremburg prosecutor later thought. I asked what you think - are the warmongering hacks at the NYT and WaPo exercising protected speech, or are they committing the crimes tried at Nuremburg such as conspiracy to wage aggressive warfare? I want to see how far you have the courage or your convictions.

(As for me, I don't consider speech sacred any more than I do voting. Both are tactical tools, nothing more. I oppose state and corporate censorship because I oppose the corporate state.)

Posted by: Russ | May 14 2019 23:31 utc | 92

#86 Wrong. CACI was owned by dual national Israeli Americans so, yes it technically could be considered an Israeli co of sorts.
Certainly it was dominated by Israeli interrogators and many of its interpreters in Iraq were trained in ISRAEL or Israeli themselves. Blackwater took the focus off all that by playing the fall guy that took the spotlight off the Israeli angle. Wider exposure would have exposed this, since most worked for CACI-Titan, not Blackwater as linguist/torturers in the prisons. (thats not to excuse Blackwater's crimes).

Posted by: Husseini | May 15 2019 21:23 utc | 93

Confirms the essence of my point? Too few Americans went to jail for the crimes. But as usual- NO Israelis. Americans again took the fall for them

Posted by: Husseini | May 15 2019 22:00 utc | 94

More indictments.

Amnesty International: “Israel allows the use of ‘moderate physical pressure’ – which is defined in detail in secret guidelines – during interrogations. This includes sleep deprivation for prolonged periods while being tied in painful positions, hooding with filthy sacks, being forced to squat like a frog for hours and violent shaking (which has caused the death of one detainee).”

CACI’s links to Israel are well-documented. CACI CEO J.P. “Jack” London was awarded the Albert Einstein Technology Award by the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah, presented by Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz this January. CACI’s website crowed:

“CACI was honored as a provider of information technologies for helping to fight the war on terrorism and transform the Middle East from a source of global instability into a peaceful, stable region.”

According to the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, CACI is the recipient of grants allocated by the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), a joint U.S.-Israeli government program supposedly engaged in promoting “non-defense” research and development. London visited Israel earlier this year with a delegation of corporate executives, politicians and government officials for a homeland security conference.

As Seymour Hersh has pointed out, the U.S.-Israeli alliance has been taking covert shape in the course of this war:“Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq. Israeli commandos are expected to serve as ad-hoc advisers – again, in secret – when full-field operations begin.”

The Guardian confirms and expands on Hersh’s account, citing “two sources” that “Israeli military ‘consultants’ have also visited Iraq.” “Israel Trains Assassination Squads in Iraq” averred the headline, and the story, published last December, cited “a former senior U.S. intelligence official” who predicted disaster:

“‘This is basically an assassination program. That is what is being conceptualized here. This is a hunter-killer team,’ said a former senior U.S. intelligence official, who added that he feared the new tactics and enhanced cooperation with Israel would only inflame a volatile situation in the Middle East. ‘It is bonkers, insane. Here we are – we’re already being compared to Sharon in the Arab world, and we’ve just confirmed it by bringing in the Israelis and setting up assassination teams.'”

The Guardian also quoted “a well-informed intelligence source in Washington,” who said:“They are being trained by Israelis in Fort Bragg. Some Israelis went to Iraq as well, not to do training, but for providing consultations.”

What better cover for Israeli “consultants” than as employees of a “private” contractor such as CACI?
“We had military intelligence, we had all kinds of other government agencies, FBI, CIA … All those that I didn’t even know or recognize.”
Check out what might be called the Diary of a Torturer – it’s the daily journal of one of the interrogators at Abu Ghraib, Joe Ryan, a habitual caller at station KSTP, a Minneapolis talk radio station in Minneapolis. KSTP was posting his diary on their web site, but recently deleted it. However, thanks to Google, the cache is preserved (so far), and several people have already archived it in their hard drives.
“Work is continuing to be brutally time consuming,” writes Ryan.

Here’s an interesting tidbit from Ryan’s account of his training:
"I went through the DOD Strategic Debriefer Course, Israeli Interrogation Course, and the SCAN Course."

Posted by: Quid | May 15 2019 22:29 utc | 95

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