Report: PayPal, Owned by Greenwald Partner Pierre Omidyar, Handed Over Customer Data to NSA

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Back in September, I documented some of the web bugs embedded within the pages of The Guardian, including bugs from companies that allegedly provided information to the National Security Agency’s PRISM database. Bugs from Google and Facebook, to name two, appeared on NSA articles by Glenn Greenwald and Bruce Schneier.

Last month, Greenwald published an article on The Huffington Post, featuring another document from Edward Snowden about how NSA exploited the internet porn habits of six suspected terrorists. The Huffington Post, of course, merged with AOL, another corporation accused of supplying data to PRISM.

And now we’ve learned through former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds that Pierre Omidyar’s PayPal also provided customer data to NSA. As has been widely reported, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras have partnered with Omidyar to form a $250 million news outfit.

An undisclosed retired NSA official apparently contacted Edmonds, who runs a news site called Boiling Frogs Post, and tipped her off that the documents stolen by Edward Snowden and handed over to Greenwald and Poitras contain information about PayPal’s cooperation with NSA surveillance and data collection.

Edmonds reports that two other former NSA officials turned whistleblowers, William Binney and Russ Tice, confirmed the PayPal/NSA connection.

And Greenwald himself tweeted the following half-confirmation yesterday:

So according to Greenwald, the story is at least half true. The question is this: can he really know what’s contained in every single one of the 50,000-plus Snowden documents? And why, until now, has he never once disclosed or acknowledged his relationships with these NSA-related companies?

For someone who routinely hectors others, demanding unequivocal ideological purity, Greenwald seems to be knee-deep in lucrative business relationships that run contrary to his lofty standards, and which also represent obvious conflicts of interest.

Indeed, Greenwald has accused anyone who merely voices an opinion about a few of the positive benefits of NSA signals intelligence and data collection — or how the law permits it and oversight supervises it — of being drooling shills for the vast and pernicious security state. Even if that opinion is prefaced with a desire to implement some reforms, it’s simply not good enough for Greenwald and his supporters.

But meanwhile he himself is taking money, a lot of money, from corporate entities who reportedly operate in direct conjunction with NSA SIGINT operations he claims to loathe.

(Full disclosure: I’ve been a Huff Post contributor since 2005 and a PayPal customer, also since 2005.)

  • Charles Davis

    I totally called this! Bob – if you recall, I e-mailed you a few weeks ago and told you that I had a really strong sense that someone was going to come forward with information that Snowden/Greenwald were involved in some sort of major international conspiracy-level shady business. I think Edmonds’ bombshell report is only the tip of the iceberg, and I predict that there is much, much more to come out about Greenwald/Snowden’s partnership, especially now that more and more people are beginning to question the integrity and validity of the whole story. It’s beginning to appear that we’ve all been majorly played, and people are going to be outraged if it is found out that Greenwald/Snowden cooked up this entire international scandal as a means to carrying out some sort of political agenda. And furthermore, if they are in fact in bed with our government concerning these “leaks”, then all of this hype and publicity surrounding Greenwald’s new venture, and all the millions in book and movie deals, and the new set of balls Greenwald’s suddenly gotten with regard to how he intends to report this stuff – is all for naught, because his credibility will be worthless and no one will ever believe a word out of his lying mouth, ever again.

  • Noodle Head

    So let me get this straight: the people that are NSA lapdogs, now report some news damaging to Greenwald? Riiiiiiight. Of course this couldn’t have anything to do with a smear campaign the Gov has been engaging since day 1 of the Snowden revelations. Nope, this is all legit criticism from the Clapper “army”. Oh yeah, another funny coincidence: after the Snowden leaks, the Smith-Mundt act was quietly repealed…. allowing the US Gov to engage in propaganda within the United States. Okay now I get it…

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      And what about the chemtrails? Never forget the chemtrails.

  • Pepe LaPP

    Just don’t post any of this tripe to the financial blogs and forums, or call for a boycott. Pierre could go broke in a flash, and we wouldn’t want that would we? Paypal is the worlds’ most loved payment system. No one can live without it.

    • Andy

      Paypal is, in these days of most small online businesses having access to secure payment processing from regular banks, obsolete. Add to that the dubious tax dodging in the UK, the denial it is offering financial services (thus escaping the regulator) and the poor customer service when people have money stolen I fail to see why anyone would want to use it.

      • Edward Himsel

        Unfortunately, you don’t have much of a choice when it comes to buying and selling on eBay.

  • randomreader

    John Donahoe, the CEO of paypal’s parent corp ebay just got a presidential appointment. Coincidence?

  • mr_fn_obvious

    I can save you all some time.
    The question is what are you going to do about it?
    The answer is nothing.

    • That River Gal

      What are you going to do about global poverty? What are you going to do about child rape, AIDS, or millions finding death in curable diseases?

      Nothing.

      PERSPECTIVE. GET SOME.

    • Badgerite

      And what happens when the attack becomes a 9/11 attack or worse. Do you think the country will support doing ‘nothing’. It didn’t last time. Before 9/11, Poindexter’s computer programs were more or less a backwater in intelligence. Going on, but mostly hypothetical research. After 9/11 it became a focus of intelligence. And now it has almost supplanted the CIA. The world is a morally complex place and there are consequences to all actions, including the action of doing nothing. Bush got a lot of reports, pre 9/11 about possible attacks being planned on the mainland US and he did—-nothing. It didn’t work out that well.
      You act like none of that happened. But it did. And when the CIA got into the training camps that Al Qaeda had in Afghanistan pre 9/11 they found plans on the table involving dirty (radioactive) bombs, chemical attacks and things of that nature. Plans designed to kill an optimum number of people. As was the Mumbai attack. If a drone attack could have stopped the Mumbai attack before it occurred, would you have said, “Do nothing”?
      I understand they make errors. But the emphasis should be on telling them. “Don’t make them”. Get the intelligence right or don’t do it. But do nothing is simply an option that may make you feel morally sound but may have unsound and immoral consequences to you or other people later. It isn’t really an answer.

  • Richard_thunderbay

    Transparency for thee, but not for me.

    Of course, the real joke will be when folks wanting to read his NSA screeds end up having their data passed along to the NSA when the Greenwald/PalPal billionaire “news” site opens up.

    • Noodle Head

      The idea is to fight this via the law system. Right now the NSA can demand that data with letters that don’t allow public disclosure of the request.

  • Reilly

    …of being drooling shills for the vast and pernicious security state.

    Good lad. You were only warming up yesterday.
    When the sequel to the Greenwald movie comes out (because you just know the first one will be that good) I suggest they name it 2VAST, 2PERNICIOUS.

    • That River Gal

      Trademark that name, stat!

    • Jason

      hehe….Full points for “2VAST, 2PERNICIOUS”

  • formerlywhatithink

    Greenwald reminds of the con artist, mega church preachers. Make loads of money condemning the very thing you’re doing while wrapping themselves in a thin patina of self righteousness and use your pulpit, not as a tool for enlightenment or education, but as a weapon to bludgeon those who would dare point out the emperor has no clothes.

  • Jason

    Wow Bob. Second hand reporting of another sites non-story? That is weak sauce even for you.

    • Reilly

      Up until Snowden dumped his stolen trove into Greenwald’s lap , all Glenn ever did was second hand reporting of other sites stories — it’s called blogging. And would you care to elucidate on what constitutes a non-story?

      • Richard_thunderbay

        Anything that does not contribute to unquestioning Greenwald worship would be the answer to your question, I would imagine.

      • Badgerite

        To be fair, which Greenwald never is, Snowden dumped them into his lap because he agreed with his agenda and his manner of reporting. He picked Greenwald. Which is what sources often do, I suspect.
        I won’t bother with the movie as it will just make me vomit on my popcorn.

    • Kagemusha

      Questions:
      1. Is there any conflict of interest for Omidyar and/or Greenwald to go into business together, if PayPal has cooperated with the NSA exactly as corporations Greenwald has criticized – and Greenwald has control of the proof?
      2. Should Greenwald have exposed PayPal’s cooperation with NSA before another writer did?
      3. Should Greenwald have documented PayPal’s dismissive behavior towards whistleblowers, given his interest in civil rights?
      4. Is it ok for Greenwald to work with someone who flies in the face of so much that Greenwald has exposed, and opposed?
      5. Is it prudent for Greenwald to work with Hollywood on a movie of the Snowden events, given Assange’s extreme bitterness about his filmed character, and Greenwald’s own scathing criticism of the filmed version of Bin Laden’s killing?
      6. Why didn’t Greenwald back up Assange regarding his movie portrayal? Could Greenwald already have been in talks on his own movie?
      7. Given the above, should Greenwald be having second thoughts about his enormous venture with Omidyar? Shouldn’t Greenwald strive to find an independent, non-corporate news agency to associate with, to publish the rest of the NSA secrets?
      And lastly:
      8.Who would you like to see play Greenwald and Snowden in the movies?

    • Kagemusha

      PS: We know what Greenwald thinks of the Pope. What do you think the Pope thinks of Glenn?

      • Reilly

        In Greenwaldia there are only two possible answers to that: 1) The Pope admires Greenwald or 2) The Pope is meaningless and irrelevant.
        If the answer is 1) the Pope’s remarks will be linked to and tweeted approvingly. If the answer is 2) the Pope will be lambasted in a daylong twitter-orgy of anger and invective befitting his absolute irrelevance and lack of meaning.

        • Kagemusha

          And updated. Pope Francis, vast and pernicious, update 1,549.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      Have you ever read a blog before?

      • Jason

        yah, and blogging about an piece whose core element is a unsubstantiated claim from a single anonymous source just so you can indulge a point regarding paypals co-operation with the government. A point that GG admits is true and has been fairly moot since paypal blocked payments to wikileaks years ago.

        • Richard_thunderbay

          Snowden is an unsubstantiated source by your standard.

          • Jason

            I am not sure what standard you are applying.
            That you find Snowden an identified source that provided documentary evidence while the BFP source is anonymous and provided no evidence at all probably means you are working to a very different standard.

          • Richard_thunderbay

            Yours, asshole.

          • Jason

            Such a witty rejoinder, congratulations.

          • Richard_thunderbay

            Beyond your Greenwald/Snowden sycophancy, you’ve got nothing.

          • Jason

            And what would you be bringing to the party?

          • That River Gal

            I don’t know what the reply will be, but I will assume an intellectually honest reply…possibly some wit?

          • Richard_thunderbay

            Obviously, you forgot that Snowden started out as an unidentified source, that is, until his former employer figured out he was the person who became Greenwald’s meal ticket.

          • Jason

            And yet the documents were still there…and still are

          • Richard_thunderbay

            As are the documents showing that Greenwald’s new paymaster is a NSA collaborator. Not that Greenwald or Snowden will reveal anything that might impact their financial benefactors.

          • Jason

            paypal almost certainly has co-operated with the NSA, though there have been no documents stating this.

          • Richard_thunderbay

            Trying to play it both ways. Very Greenwaldian.

          • Jason

            I am not sure what else you need. You know who paypal is, you know the owner relationship to Greenwald and you know they likely co-operated with the NSA. And now you get to judge Greenwalds work with all that knowledge in hand.
            But for all the fuss you are making about it i doubt your attitude to Greenwald has changed one bit from that prior to the advent of this non-story.

          • Richard_thunderbay

            The “non-story” is that Greenwald is now being bankrolled by the very type of NSA collaborating company that he has vociferously condemned. Greenwald is a pathetic hypocrite, as are you.

          • Noodle Head

            Sure Richard – because we all know from your tone that you’re very anti-NSA and this just breaks your heart. It’s not like you’re towing a line that someone else mouthed off without checking. Oooookay now. Carry on oh master of ignorance.

          • Badgerite

            Yes, but we did not get those crucial facts from Greenwald. Paypal is a rather prominent company. Somehow, Greenwald left their cooperation with the NSA unreported while he went out of his way to report anybody and everybody else’s. And then, perhaps, the reason becomes evident ( under Greenwald standards of proof at least, see ‘NSA claimed’ statements ). Paypal will be bankrolling Greenwald. Under Greenwald standards, that is corrupt connection established. Under Greenwald’s new non standards of journalism, at least. Remember. We are doing away with all those ‘old restrictions’.

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            Shilling for NSA collaborators.

            Loving the irony.

            psssstt………..you should go home now, Jason.

          • Noodle Head

            Wow – you people really love living in fantasy land.
            Nicole – none of your posts contain facts, only opinions.

            :)

          • Sabyen91

            Documents that show no law-breaking. Ooo, he should be person of the year!

          • That River Gal

            It was an intellectually honest response to your comments. What is wrong with you?

          • That River Gal

            YOUR STANDARD. Are you sane?

          • Badgerite

            Let’s cut to the chase, here. Do you or does Greenwald or does Paypal or does anyone dispute the truth of this post? It does not sound that way to me.

        • That River Gal

          Please link us to your own blog.

          • Jason

            I don’t have one, but by all means link me yours

          • That River Gal

            I made no comments about weak sauce bloggers. You lose, nozzle.

        • repugnicant

          Oh, NOW claims are unsubstantiated where Greenwald is concerned.

    • That River Gal

      Wow, (note the comma) Jason, another fact free post by you! Typical weak sauce for you.

    • dbtheonly

      Jason,

      Probably belongs over in the other thread but:

      You don’t like President Obama’s use of drones. Okay got it. But what’s your practical answer when:

      1. The President has substantial, creditable evidence
      2. Than a specific individual
      3. Is actively planning
      4. A creditable attack
      5. Against the US, its’ citizens, or Allies
      6. That individual is beyond the reach of traditional Law Enforcement.

      I’m not trying to gin up your negatives here. I’d really like an answer. ‘Cause I see only three choices.

      1. Do nothing & hope to deflect the attack at a later time
      2. Attack using drones
      3. Send in US Troops to capture or kill the individual

      Please enlighten me. Though comments about how we should never have gotten into this mess in the first place are as useless as they are accurate.

  • Arcnor

    One of Mr. Greenwald’s hobbies must be going out back and dismembering his own credibility with a hacksaw. He seems to do it often enough.

    • Reilly

      Emphasis on hack.

  • http://FreakoutNation.com/ Anomaly 100

    It’s hard to comment while laughing at Greenwald’s sycophants. I’ll come back when I pull myself together.

    • That River Gal

      ^This.

  • repugnicant

    Oh, snap.

  • Christopher Foxx

    I don’t doubt Paypal cooperates with NSA – that this is in the docs that we’ve been paid to withhold are total lies.

    Did Grunewald just admit he’s been paid to withhold documents?

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      I think he forgot an “and” in there, but yeah.

      • http://FreakoutNation.com/ Anomaly 100

        There are mistakes and then there are accidentally on purpose putting down what you really meant. Yes, I’m going with that.:-P

    • S in DC

      One of the funniest things about this entire fiasco is that Greenwald doesn’t seem to understand the documents he has. To be more exact, Greenwald doesn’t know his ass from his elbow about IT. Nor does he have any experience in how classification and security clearances work.

      Having held various security clearances at various points in my career, and being a current IT professional the best thing for Greenwald would be to have someone who knows what the fuck they are talking about vet the material and explain it to him. Because right now it seems he’s just publishing documents for shock value, financial gain, and to tar entities he dislikes without understand what it means… with (as of this article) a side portion of not publishing things that threaten his sugar daddy and financial gains.

      He reminds me of the typical MBA manager screaming and yelling at the IT department about some crazy thing he read on a website and just what are we doing about it. While everybody just rolls their eyeballs and realizes that the MBA has a vendetta against company XYZ, and yet worships company ABC because the Wall Street Journal said something about stock prices.

      • Christopher Foxx

        Because right now it seems he’s just publishing documents for shock value, financial gain, and to tar entities he dislikes

        In other words, doing exactly what he always intended.

  • S in DC

    Going by Glenn’s own standards… since he knew and he didn’t report it first he’s guilty of conspiracy in this and also condones the practice.

    • Badgerite

      Greenwald never applies Greenwald’s own standards to Greenwald. What were you thinking?

  • Jon Fox

    I think that the only reasonable next move here is for Greenwald to open up all his emails and texts for us to see. I mean, if he has nothing to hide…

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      LOL!