First, there was Glenn Greenwald the earnest yet insufferable litigator-style blogger. Then there was Glenn Greenwald the world famous bombshell news reporter. And now there’s Glenn Greenwald the unhinged, conspiratorial enforcer-in-chief for Edward Snowden. Indeed Greenwald has become Snowden’s personal Luca Brasi: his fiercely loyal foot-soldier and de facto PR flack.
Even though Greenwald insists that Snowden shouldn’t be debated and discussed, he once again made Snowden The Story by issuing the following threat during an interview with La Nacion, an Argentinean newspaper:
“Snowden has enough information to cause harm to the U.S. government in a single minute than any other person has ever had,” […]
“The U.S. government should be on its knees every day begging that nothing happen to Snowden, because if something does happen to him, all the information will be revealed and it could be its worst nightmare.”
That’d be Greenwald jumping the shark. Maybe a fleet of sharks. So what does this tell us?
1) Greenwald still believes the U.S. government might try to assassinate Snowden. The question now, I suppose, is whether the government will use chemtrails, black helicopters or, perhaps, the government will manipulate some tornados to attack Snowden. (Watch for small planes or helicopters flying around a tornado, moving it in the direction of Moscow.) Later, in a post on The Guardian meant to clarify his remarks, Greenwald explained: “[T]he notion that a government that has spent the last decade invading, bombing, torturing, rendering, kidnapping, imprisoning without charges, droning, partnering with the worst dictators and murderers, and targeting its own citizens for assassination would be above such conduct is charmingly quaint.”
By the way, that one sentence? Greenwald’s Manifesto. If you need a snapshot of what he writes about every day and you don’t want to engage in the usual Bataan Death March through his bottomless prose, that sentence is all you need to know. Greenwald doesn’t like those things, and he’s going to tell you exactly why. Over and over. And over. With twelve roman-numeric updates. And the conclusion will always be the same: the United States and its government is pure evil and it’s coming for you.
So nevertheless, yes, Greenwald has nestled himself snugly in the ample bosom of Alex Jones. There’s no evidence of the U.S. government assassinating a leaker or “whistleblower.” If he has any such evidence, let’s see it. Until then, it’s purely Cuckoo’s Nest paranoia.
2) Greenwald has confirmed, twice, once in La Nacion and again in The Guardian, that Snowden has more documents and leaking them could harm the government. If Snowden is assassinated, Snowden’s nuclear bombshells (my phrase) would be released to the press… by someone, somehow. Greenwald noted, “I don’t have access to those ‘insurance’ documents and have no role in whatever dead man switch he’s arranged.” He might not have access, but he’s obviously aware of both the content of the documents (they’re our worst nightmare!) as well as Snowden’s plans to release them if he’s assassinated.
I’ve been thinking about this all weekend: what’s to keep Snowden from changing the terms of the threat? What if Snowden is apprehended by U.S. officials and they take away his beloved computer? What if he doesn’t like the ways he’s being treated in custody? This is a very paranoid guy under a lot of self-imposed stress, and he’s surrounded by a team of other paranoiacs. As far as I’m concerned just about anything could engage the “dead man switch.”
Last week, Der Spiegel reported that Snowden gave them documents that could harm NSA employees, and so the news outlet decided not to issue those details. So much for Greenwald’s insistence that Snowden has been discrete and urged reporters not to release anything that would “cause gratuitous harm.”
3) All of that said, the U.S. government has faced down Nazi Germany, the Japanese Empire, the British Empire and the Army of Northern Virginia. I think the government has seen its fair share of “worst nightmares,” extending far beyond the actions of an NSA hacker who’s not even courageous enough in his convictions to return to the U.S. and face charges like others have.
4) In his subsequent clarification post, Greenwald wrote, “The US government has acted with wild irrationality.” He continues by writing that the government has attempted to block Snowden from fleeing Russia. Yeah, totally irrational behavior in pursuit of a fugitive who claims to have “insurance documents” that could seriously harm the U.S. government. Clearly in all of Greenwald’s legal dealings he’s failed to learn anything about how fugitives are pursued. Same goes for Snowden.
5) It’s perpetually hilarious to hear Greenwald and his disciples complain about anyone who questions Snowden’s actions and motives. It’s a “distraction,” they say. Well, then, they shouldn’t have wheeled out Snowden with documentary footage and deified him as someone who’s “done far more for the world in the last 2 months than you have in your life.” And you know what? I half agree. Snowden is a distraction, and so is Greenwald.
Furthermore, Snowden and Greenwald are solely to blame for these distractions. They injected themselves into the eye of the story. If they had wanted the rest of us to focus exclusively on content (personally, I’ve done both) Snowden shouldn’t have leaked to Greenwald, with all of his baggage and vendettas. Likewise, Greenwald shouldn’t have unveiled Snowden in video and quoted form practically from day one. These two decisions represented the first and largest blunders in the roll-out of the NSA story. But no matter how hard they try, they can’t put Humpty together again. Snowden, Greenwald and the leaks themselves are now inseparable.
6) Greenwald insisted that his La Nacion remarks weren’t intended as a threat — just the “facts.” He also referred to the threat as “fiction.” Oh really? He should take a few minutes and research the definition of a “threat.” The rest of us know what it is, and this: “if something does happen to him, all the information will be revealed and it could be its worst nightmare” is totally a threat. Greenwald made it even worse by admitting that it’s the “facts.” His obvious threat is, indeed, factual.
The Argentinian newspaper simply asked Greenwald if Snowden had additional documents. The questioN: “Beyond the revelations about the spying system performance in general, what extra information has Snowden?” There’s nothing in that question about a potential assassination or “insurance documents” that could harm the U.S. government.
Greenwald volunteered the threatening language, not Snowden or Wikileaks or Assange. He did it in classic noir mob movie style: “Don’t nobody move, see, or the United States government gets it!”
Why did he do it? Either he intends to continue in his role as Snowden’s chief spokesman, or he made another phenomenal blunder and refuses to own up to it. Like always. After all, he’s still desperately clinging to “direct access,” so I wouldn’t hold your breath for a retraction on this one either.
Ultimately, this is the real Greenwald. This is the polemical, agenda-driven bully who tricked the world into believing he’s a hard news reporter. Taken with Snowden’s other role models, Assange and Ron Paul, and we’re getting a clear picture of Snowden’s agenda and therefore the spin that accompanies all of his so-called bombshells.