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:
@jrs7000 I don't doubt Paypal cooperates with NSA – that this is in the docs that we've been paid to withhold are total lies.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 12, 2013
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.)