Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian reporter who broke the story about the National Security Agency’s phone and Internet surveillance programs, kicked back at what he called a “sustained demonization campaign” against leaker Edward Snowden in an editorial in his paper on Friday.
“The predictable personality assaults on Snowden have begun in full force from official Washington and their media spokespeople,” Greenwald wrote. “They are only going to intensify. There is nobody who political officials and their supine media class hate more than those who meaningfully dissent from their institutional orthodoxies and shine light on what they do. The hatred for such individuals is boundless.”
Others have accused him of lying. After a hearing this week with NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the senior Democrat on the panel, said Snowden was never in a position to know as much about the NSA programs as he’s claimed.
Snowden has also been criticized for fleeing to Hong Kong before the stories went to print, for going to a media outlet instead of seeking whistle-blower protection, and for exaggerating his salary while at Booz Allen.
Greenwald cited former NSA officials who gave interviews calling Snowden “brave” and his allegations true.
“Listen to actual experts and patriots — people who have spent their careers inside the NSA and/or who risked their liberty for the good of the country — and the truth of Snowden's claims and the justifiability of his acts become manifest,” he wrote.
The journalist also lashed out at Democrats, whom he says have led the charge in defending the NSA, calling them hypocritical for railing against similar policies under former President George W. Bush.
“The most vocal media critics of our NSA reporting, and the most vehement defenders of NSA surveillance, have been, by far, Democratic (especially Obama-loyal) pundits,” he continued. “As I've written many times, one of the most significant aspects of the Obama legacy has been the transformation of Democrats from pretend-opponents of the Bush War on Terror and National Security State into their biggest proponents.”
Greenwald said Democrats have tried to distinguish between the NSA scandal and the 2006 revelations of warrantless wire-tapping under the Bush administration, by saying the NSA’s current programs don’t involve that level of illegal spying. He quoted Vice President Biden, who said at the time:
“I don't have to listen to your phone calls to know what you're doing. If I know every single phone call you made, I'm able to determine every single person you talked to. I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. ... If it's true that 200 million Americans' phone calls were monitored — in terms of not listening to what they said, but to whom they spoke and who spoke to them — I don't know, the Congress should investigative this.”
“Is collecting everyone's phone records not ‘very intrusive’ when Democrats are doing it?,” Greenwald asked.