Hard Drives and Hard Asses

In a thread a couple of days ago, some of y’all were parsing the ever-lovin’ shit out of Glenn Greenwald’s report on NSA surveillance of Muslim-Americans. I thought it was a stretch to accuse Greenwald of gunning for the Obama administration specifically in that report, which focused on surveillance that occurred during the Shrub’s time.

But no analytical acrobatics or grammatical goggles are required to spot Greenwald’s target in a post he published today. The topic is Obama administration officials’ emails obtained under the FOIA. The emails were related to the British governments’ destruction of hard drives at The Guardian that contained the Snowden docs.

In a news conference back then, when Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked if the administration knew about the hard drive destruction in advance, he said, “I’ve seen the published reports of those accusations, but I don’t have any information for you on that.”

When asked if he thought the US government would take a similar action against a US media company, he said, “It’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate.”

Emails just obtained by the AP show that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-NSA chief Keith Alexander did know about the hard drive destruction in advance and even exchanged muted electronic high-fives over it.

Here are some excerpts from Greenwald’s piece that are sure to leave swathes of the Balloon Juice commentariat burning with righteous indignation:

It’s hardly surprising that the Obama Administration was fully informed in advance: It’s virtually inconceivable that notoriously subservient London officials would ever take any meaningful action without the advance knowledge and permission of their Washington overseers.

And!

Now we have proof that Obama’s most senior officials were aware in advance of the very events that Obama’s spokesman pretended they knew nothing about. It’s possible, though unlikely in the extreme, that both Clapper and Alexander knew about this and neglected to tell anyone in the White House. Incredibly claiming that Obama was unaware of what his most senior national security officials get caught doing is this administration’s modus operandi…But that should raise the question—yet again—of whether these national security agencies are completely rogue and operating without any controls.

Más!

It’s worth noting that neither the destruction of The Guardian hard drives which U.S. officials were celebrating, nor the seizure of my partner’s electronic goods, had the slightest impact on our ability to report on these documents. There were, needless to say, multiple copies of these archives in multiple safe places around the world. They were thus celebrating something that imposed no impediment whatsoever on disclosure of these materials. As usual for the U.S. and U.K. security services, then, their behavior was as inept as it was thuggish.

Greenwald finds it hard to believe Earnest didn’t know the NSA people knew about the hard drive destruction. As a West Wing viewer, I don’t find that difficult to believe at all; President Bartlet frequently kept CJ in the dark about national security issues; whole episodes were crafted around that premise!

Plus, I’m not sure what difference it makes whether the US knew in advance or not. The laws on press freedom are different here. I don’t quite believe the UK security apparatus is our leashed poodle, but then I’m a naive, ignorant, Florida mombie, so what the hell do I know?

Anyway, let the donnybrook commence. Or conduct a reasoned discussion of Greenwald’s reportage. Or discuss any other topic — your choice!

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123 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m sorry, but this report contains the words “the” and/or “and”.
    Good luck escaping The Parsing Patrol ™ !

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    It’s hardly surprising that the Obama Administration was fully informed in advance: It’s virtually inconceivable that notoriously subservient London officials would ever take any meaningful action without the advance knowledge and permission of their Washington overseers.

    Yes, after the multiple embarrassing revelations that the Guardian printed specifically about British intelligence actions within Great Britain — including bugging internet cafes during one of the “G” summits — the British would have absolutely no motive to destroy those hard drives themselves. They must have been acting under orders of the US government. Everyone knows that the US government is all-powerful and other countries have no motives or interests of their own.

    (Did the British let the US know that they had destroyed the hard drives? If your friend’s asshole ex-boyfriend does something stupid in public, do you let her know so you can both laugh over it? Once again, Greenwald seems to have trouble understand how actual human beings interact with each other.)

  3. 3
    MattF says:

    As a matter of fact, physical destruction of a hard drive os the only method of ‘erasure’ that intelligence agencies consider acceptable. For fans of crunchiness;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd_O7-rqcHc

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You and I obviously have very different interpretations of the word “the.”

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    @Baud: I’m very liberal in that regard. I also include the word “teh”.
    Sorry if that disturbs you.

  6. 6
    Cassidy says:

    The liberaltarian bat signal has been lit!

  7. 7
    Corner Stone says:

    As a West Wing viewer, I don’t find that difficult to believe at all

    Betty, this is either superior style knife work, or so hilar as to blow right past the qualifier “totes”.

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    even exchanged muted electronic high-fives over it.

    Clapper: :-P

    Alexander: :-D

    Clapper: ;-)

  9. 9
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Hey, Glenn found a whole new bunch of ways to harrumph-lament that no reasonable person could think otherwise than how he thinks about things! That’s precious.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    Dupe

  11. 11
    Mnemosyne says:

    Actually, this is a really good illustration of what bugs the crap out of me about Greenwald’s coverage of this entire story. In his narrative, the US is all-powerful and forces poor, innocent Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, etc. to go along with what the US wants. Other countries never have motives or interests of their own, and they never have, say, massively destructive train bombings that might make them want to spy on their own populations. Nope, all of this spying happened because the Big Bad US forced everyone else to go along with it.

  12. 12
    Anoniminous says:

    Now we have proof that Obama’s most senior officials were aware in advance of the very events that Obama’s spokesman pretended they knew nothing about.

    Christ on a crutch Greenwald, grow the F up. People in the Executive Branch are not all parts of one big Martian Mind-Meld.

  13. 13
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    It’s virtually inconceivable that notoriously subservient London officials would ever take any meaningful action without the advance knowledge and permission of their Washington overseers.

    Fuck you Greenwald, Britain is a Sovereign nation and other than that time that Maggie was gobbling Ronnies dick (figuratively speaking) we take orders from no one. Including recently when we were told to back off from the Falklands issue. No. Ain’t going to happen.

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Are you sure there is not a random misuse of the pluperfect going on somewhere you need to police?

  15. 15
    snoey says:

    Learn to speak weasel:

    “I’ve seen the published reports of those accusations, but I don’t have any information for you on that.” The key phrase is “for you” – not a denial of knowledge, just knowledge to be shared.

    “It’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate.” But this is one.

  16. 16
    Corner Stone says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Shit. Fuck you and your poodle.

  17. 17
    Cassidy says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I wouldn’t be so quick to say it’s figurative.

  18. 18
    Corner Stone says:

    @Anoniminous: Hey, just like the US had no knowledge of EUR forcing down the plane with the president of Bolivia in it.

  19. 19
    Anoniminous says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Here: learn something.

  20. 20
    CTVoter says:

    Popcorn stock. Is there such a thing? I need it for this thread.

  21. 21
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Oh, for the days when any action the US took in foreign policy was the UK pulling the strings. If not for real (old boys took over the CIA from the plebes in the Army, went along with their old school chaps in MI5 or whateverthefuck) then at least in the active imaginations of every CIA target in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

  22. 22
    Cassidy says:

    Isn’t Glenn in a long term, committed relationship?

  23. 23
    kindness says:

    I used to respect Greenwald. Now….no, not really.

    He’s become a schtick of himself.

  24. 24
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Betty, if you can work the phrase “parsing the ever-lovin’ shit” into your looming speech, you have nothing to worry about.

  25. 25
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I’m sorry, I know it’s unfair to expect a journalist to understand how words and time work. But at least this minor gaffe transpired in an unimportant part of a long piece: the title and first sentence.

  26. 26
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Cassidy: He’s very committed to his hair, I’ll give you that much.

  27. 27
    Rex Everything says:

    I’m too tired for a donnybrook. It’s Friday and I’m going out & getting trashed. The West Wing line was pretty rad though

  28. 28
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Rex Everything: Way ahead of you, brah.

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    Who’s the colony now, England?

  30. 30
    Corner Stone says:

    @Anoniminous: You bastard. Don’t you try and educate me, you son of a bitch! How fucking dare you!

  31. 31
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Corner Stone: Well that was mature.

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    It’s a weird tic that a lot of people on the left seem to have. The US is to blame for everything, and any action that a foreign country takes must have been at the orders of the US, because other countries have no agency or motives of their own. It’s impossible that the UK destroyed the hard drives from their own motives and then let the US know because we’re close allies who are both pissed off at Greenwald et al.

    Nope, the only possible explanation is that the UK waits for orders from the US on everything, right down to what the prime minister orders for lunch.

  33. 33
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Are we sure this isn’t ulee or something other attention-seeking troll nym-jacking Corner Stone today? Usually he takes some warming up before getting into a prolonged discussion on the merits of pies, cakes, cookies….

  34. 34
    Corner Stone says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I appreciate you keeping that reply under 16 paragraphs.

  35. 35
    LAC says:

    Jesus Christ! A thread that starts with resident drunk corner stone? Yeah, nuanced discussions are gonna happen. Get ready for a evening of drunk “fuuuuuck you, greenwald hater! The gubbermint ish evil! Excush me, I spilled my drink…. Fuuuuuck youuuu !”

    Good times… Good times

  36. 36
    Poopyman says:

    Regarding that first quote Betty pulled:

    Hey Glenn!

  37. 37
    Cassidy says:

    @LAC: You forgot drones.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Did anyone check the kerning on the so-called “NSA Documents” that Snowden leaked?

    Words fail me when I attempt to describe how wonderful it makes me feel to see so many Democrats working hard to erase our party’s Reagan Gap. Now we have one of our very own and how grand is that? Information critical of the administration? Attack the fuck out of the messenger. If that fails, use your oracular abilities to discern the administration’s real and invariably benign intent.

    One of my great joys in being a Democratic voter for nearly fifty years has been the clear-eyed way we evaluated our politicians. Glad to see that some of us are willing and anxious to relieve themselves of that burden.

  40. 40
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh lord, especially very young lefties, they’re all in the thick of colonialism bad! us policy is colonialist! us foreign policy bad! and then leap to that classic logical fallacy that anyone who opposes the US must be good..

    I really love the anyone who shook hands with Hugo Chavez must be good fallacy.

    Nothing like really young people who mean well (and show up to all the justice and labor rallies!) getting into horrible fights on facebook because they’re pontificating about shit they know nothing about and oh look, a friend of a friend is from Venezuela or has family in Ukraine … or Syria … ruh roh.

    It’s Florida so the VZ threads were bilingual and my Spanish skills leave a lot to be desired but it’s a big reason I massively avoid facebook. It wasn’t the right wingers–it was the lefties who were killing me.

    They were killing me at SDS meetings supporting the worst kind of fascist reactionary movements because of oversimplified ideological reasons.

    Annnnnnd then there’s social justice tumblr. Fucking hell.

  41. 41
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So the short of it is, yet again Greenwald claims to be the only party in this capable of deciding what NSA information should be secret? I mean if they had merely dumped this all at once the British would have never been able to destroy those hard drives.

    I suppose I am fascists and an Obot for cynically thinking that Greenwald is just has hype and has nothing to show.

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    @Anoniminous:

    People in the Executive Branch are not all parts of one big Martian Mind-Meld.

    And no government official has ever given an evasive non-answer to a question. Impeach!

  43. 43
    AdamK says:

    @Baud: Depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.

  44. 44
    Cassidy says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Not just the young ones. Some overly dramatic histrionics right above you.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Rex Everything: The World Cup one is hilarious.

  46. 46
    LAC says:

    @Cassidy: oh yeah! “Dronzch!!! Glenn ish trying to saving us from them!! Shit, where’s the ice!! Fucking government surveillance took my ice!!!”

  47. 47
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    One of my great joys in being a Democratic voter for nearly fifty years has been the clear-eyed way we evaluated our politicians.

    Right, nobody ever kept that “Camelot” myth going for years or avoided discussion of the Kennedys’ weaknesses on civil rights in polite circles. LBJ’s gross oval office fornications and trouser orders and n-bomb dropping habit weren’t politely shielded from the public for 40 years. Massachusetts voters didn’t choose to overlook a negligent homicide because of every the “Lion” was doing for them, and major Dem coalition including feminist leaders didn’t overlook and minimize a bunch of behavior by the Groper in Chief because they needed someone who would help them defend Roe v Wade.

    Yup, being “clear-eyed” is all about using half-truths, newly discovered “principles”, just fell off the turnip truck naivite and unceasing shrill well-poisoning commentary to tear down even incremental change because if we play the game and weigh our options and grit our teeth and keep doggedly advocating for our interests instead of masturbating to presidential swimsuit pix and thinking politics is over with one election WE’LL TURN SOFT and WE’LL LET THEM get away with something PAY ATTENTION PAY ATTENTION TO ME! DAAAAAADDDYYYYYYY!

  48. 48
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Are you suggesting politics and national policy can’t be done with simple black and white morality and must be nuanced?

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    Here’s the Guardian article I was thinking of:

    GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians’ communications at G20 summits
    Exclusive: phones were monitored and fake internet cafes set up to gather information from allies in London in 2009

    But it was the US that insisted that Greenwald’s partner be intercepted and his hard drives destroyed. After all, there’s no way that the British equivalent of the NSA would be pissed off at having their actions exposed. Nope, they meekly went to the US and asked what they should do. If not for the US, Great Britain wouldn’t have taken any action at all against the person carrying information for the reporter of that story.

  50. 50
    Donut says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    You must be a PUMA and a Firebagger, because only haterz and dude-bros say anything critical about Obama and argle-bargle-coo-coo-ca-choo-a-peep-a-meep.

  51. 51
    burnspbesq says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Christ on a crutch Greenwald, grow the F up

    That’s precious. Narcissism and martyr complexes don’t allow for that.

  52. 52
    Linnaeus says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Oh lord, especially very young lefties, they’re all in the thick of colonialism bad! us policy is colonialist! us foreign policy bad! and then leap to that classic logical fallacy that anyone who opposes the US must be good..

    Well, colonialism does have its, shall we say, drawbacks.

    But seriously, while I’m not of the school of thought that posits that everything the US does is bad, I find that relatively few people, even on the left, actually believe that. That said, I’m somewhat more forgiving of those inclined to be critical of US foreign policy because I think that tendency is a necessary counterweight to the much stronger tendency in US culture to regard everything it does as 1) advancing the cause of freedom or whatever, 2) if #1 fails, it was still motivated by “good intentions”, and 3) it doesn’t really matter anyway because we’re America, man.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    I mean if they had merely dumped this all at once the British would have never been able to destroy those hard drives.

    And if it had all been dumped at once you would be decrying the WikiLeaksization of this material.
    Or just about anything else.

  54. 54
    Corner Stone says:

    @Linnaeus:

    to the much stronger tendency in US culture to regard everything it does as 1) advancing the cause of freedom or whatever, 2) if #1 fails, it was still motivated by “good intentions”, and 3) it doesn’t really matter anyway because we’re America, man.

    Same drivers are in play when GWB was president as they are for President Obama. Just nominally different people, in some cases.

  55. 55
    Emma says:

    @Mnemosyne: This is why I don’t even bother anymore. To the rightwingers America is the spotless hero; to the leftwingers, the uber-villain. To both of them, no other country is real. They are all players in America’s drama.

  56. 56
    Donut says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    You might try posting something marginally coherent next time. WTF are you going on about? All presidents – all post WWII, to be specific – are basically bastards and tools of the deep security state. It’s just a matter of to what degree, and then how much do they actually give a shit about average people. I happen to think Barack Obama actively and actually gives a shit about the average American – but he’s still an American president and still a bastard. Better than most, but still a bastard.

    Anyway…Have a nice day.

  57. 57
    Hill Dweller says:

    Didn’t The Guardian give all their stuff from Snowden to Even The Liberal New York Times because it was easier to publish in the US?

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    I get some of the foreign policy complaints about the US — it’s the pretending that none of our allies have their own foreign (or even domestic) policies that gets my goat. London has video cameras on just about every corner of every public street and does way more (legal) domestic surveillance than the US does, but the US controls the UK’s every action when it comes to the Snowden stories? Really?

  59. 59
    Donut says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Nuance? WTF? Can’t have that. NO WAY. Unacceptable. Obviously you are a dude-bro-bagged-uma-ca-ca-doo-doo-pee-pee. Aw yeah. And drunk! FUUUUUUCK.

  60. 60
  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Donut:

    You have no idea how funny it is for the guy who insists that every president is secretly controlled by the “deep security state” to claim that he understands nuance, do you?

  62. 62
    Corner Stone says:

    @Donut: It’s actually Khaka Peü Peü . It’s a family name that translates to “the strong fist” or “that strong fist.”

  63. 63
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: Are you claiming that I have said that about the “deep security state”, or that Donut has said something about that in the past and is now referencing me?

  64. 64
    Donut says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yes, dearie, I know that Barack Obama is very different from every other president, ever. Because…he is. That’s why. He’s very unique and special in every way, especially when it comes to national security and foreign policy matters.

    I’ll wait for you to list all of those reasons he is so, so special and so, so unlike his predecessors.

    Let’s get started:

    1. He’s African-American
    2.

  65. 65
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: Donut used that phrase a few comments up.

    ETA: whoops, you knew that, never mind. I don’t think Mnem is referencing you, but instead sparring with Donut.

  66. 66
    Donut says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Shut UP, little man.

  67. 67
    Donut says:

    @Donut:

    When it comes to foreign policy and national security, I said.

    Stay on point, people.

  68. 68
    Baud says:

    @Donut:

    Hey, everyone. It’s Brian Schweizer. How ya doin’, governor?

  69. 69
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I lost track of the pronoun “he” in her comment.
    Where were you then, asshole? Where the fuck were you then?

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Donut:

    He’s very unique and special in every way, especially when it comes to national security and foreign policy matters.

    Yes, that’s why we currently have thousands of American troops on the ground in Iran, Libya, and Syria — because Obama=Bush and you just can’t see any foreign policy differences between them. Nuance!

  71. 71
    Corner Stone says:

    @Donut: I…uhh…I’m sorry?
    Oh, wait. Amm schorry mishter! Got changeish for a hundo for tha jukeshboxsh?

  72. 72
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    so…. Barack Obama is Control?

  73. 73
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: This case is getting too hairy for me. I’m calling for backup. Couple of guys I know. Veterans of the Composition 101 squad. The Fightin’ Ironic Apostrophes.

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: As long as it’s not the Comma Commandos. Those guys. The worst.

  75. 75
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: Dude, that was a good line. Have a nice night, I’m outski.

  76. 76
    Poopyman says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Are you calling in the Air Quotes for a strike?

  77. 77
    Ramalama says:

    What a great poking of the bear!

    Let’s see if the comments beat 400.

  78. 78
    Sly says:

    In a news conference back then, when Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked if the administration knew about the hard drive destruction in advance, he said, “I’ve seen the published reports of those accusations, but I don’t have any information for you on that.”

    When asked if he thought the US government would take a similar action against a US media company, he said, “It’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate.”

    Emails just obtained by the AP show that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-NSA chief Keith Alexander did know about the hard drive destruction in advance and even exchanged muted electronic high-fives over it.

    I’m trying to figure out when this stopped being about actual national security policy and started being about silly, nonsensical, soap opera bullshit.

  79. 79
    Heliopause says:

    Greenwald finds it hard to believe Earnest didn’t know the NSA people knew about the hard drive destruction. As a West Wing viewer, I don’t find that difficult to believe at all

    This Josh Earnest guy sounds like a complete dipshit. Can you imagine telling the press a blatant falsehood out of ignorance? Sheesh, what a dope. Whatever happened to him? Busted down to the mailroom?

  80. 80
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s not either/or (the fallacy of bifurcation). Obama is a good guy capable of making a whole list of decisions that are orders of magnitude better than the last chief executive..

    And he can also invest in the conventional thinking that has been such a trap for so many in the executive branch. His efforts at transparency and reigning is the corruptions of the security state have been underwhelming and less than he promised.

    There is still time for that to improve. I hope he tries.

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith G:

    It’s not either/or (the fallacy of bifurcation). Obama is a good guy capable of making a whole list of decisions that are orders of magnitude better than the last chief executive..

    Yes, that’s a good example of nuance. Saying that, “All presidents – all post WWII, to be specific – are basically bastards and tools of the deep security state”? Not a good example of nuance. Pretty much the opposite, really.

    Which is why I thought it was funny that Donut, of all people, would complain that’s there’s not enough nuance when it comes to discussions of Greenwald.

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Heliopause:

    I hear tell that someone else who held that job before Earnest had never heard of the Cuban Missile Crisis. True story.

  83. 83
    Cacti says:

    Once again, world’s greatest legal mind GG is astounded to learn that the United Kingdom has different laws than those of the US, blames Obama.

  84. 84
    different-church-lady says:

    You know what? The internet is starting to get too dumb for me.

  85. 85
    Baud says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Oh, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  86. 86
    burnspbesq says:

    @Sly:

    I’m trying to figure out when this stopped being about actual national security policy and started being about silly, nonsensical, soap opera bullshit.

    At the very beginning.

  87. 87
    Cervantes says:

    It’s possible, though unlikely in the extreme, that both Clapper and Alexander knew about this and neglected to tell anyone in the White House. Incredibly claiming that Obama was unaware of what his most senior national security officials get caught doing is this administration’s modus operandi…But that should raise the question—yet again—of whether these national security agencies are completely rogue and operating without any controls.

    Not “unlikely in the extreme.” Plausible deniability is a useful tool.

    “Rogue”? They have been in the past. And again, plausible deniability is a useful tool.

  88. 88
    skerry says:

    I don’t see the problem. The hard drives contained stolen material and should have been destroyed (after making a copy, of course).

  89. 89
    Cervantes says:

    They were thus celebrating something that imposed no impediment whatsoever on disclosure of these materials. As usual for the U.S. and U.K. security services, then, their behavior was as inept as it was thuggish.

    Inept? Maybe. Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, has tried to think about why the episode occurred:

    But back to the basement of The Guardian and the hot, messy work of destroying a computer. Why were we there?

    A plausible answer is the one that the government advanced: that it was not safe for The Guardian to be examining highly secret documents in a newspaper office, no matter what precautions we took. We were, in fact, sympathetic to this argument: we were not keen on accidental leakage either. The government officials who lectured us appeared blissfully blind to the irony (another one!) that the only organization that had provably lost control of the data was not a newspaper, but the NSA. One official rolled his eyes at the thought of 850,000 people having access to it.

    But one has to ask why, if this was of such overwhelming importance, it took the state’s best security people five weeks to arrive at The Guardian’s offices. And why—nearly three months later—no one from the official world has “made safe” the New York Times cache of documents obtained from The Guardian, never mind contacting Greenwald, Poitras, ProPublica, or The Guardian’s New York office.

    A more plausible answer is that the British intelligence services simply find it extremely difficult to deal with journalists. Which, in itself, is illustrative of the wider problem of balancing surveillance with civil liberties. How on earth do you reconcile something that must be secret with something that begs to be discussed?

  90. 90
    Cervantes says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Embarrassing to watch, I agree.

    Understandable as a response to trauma, maybe, but otherwise … ?

  91. 91
    JGabriel says:

    Betty Cracker:

    Greenwald finds it hard to believe Earnest didn’t know the NSA people knew about the hard drive destruction. As a West Wing viewer, I don’t find that difficult to believe at all; President Bartlet frequently kept CJ in the dark about national security issues; whole episodes were crafted around that premise!

    Heh. I know you’re joking, but it is doubtful that the administration would share classified intel with their public mouthpiece. Why would any administration share classified info with their press secretary unless they were ready to have it released or leaked?

    Whatever anyone else knew in the White House, I have no problem believing that Josh Ernest would be kept out of the loop. If Glenn is arguing otherwise, he needs to rethink that premise.

  92. 92
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne: You added the “secretly.” Does it help?

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    I assumed that “secretly” was implied by the “deep security state” part. There’s no reason for security to be deep if it’s not a secret. YMMV, of course.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    But one has to ask why, if this was of such overwhelming importance, it took the state’s best security people five weeks to arrive at The Guardian’s offices. And why—nearly three months later—no one from the official world has “made safe” the New York Times cache of documents obtained from The Guardian, never mind contacting Greenwald, Poitras, ProPublica, or The Guardian’s New York office.

    Um, maybe because the laws are different in the US than they are in Great Britain and the US government doesn’t have the power to interfere with the press that the British government does?

  95. 95
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: She’s really just an unrepentant liar.

  96. 96
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I hear tell that someone else who held that job before Earnest had never heard of the Cuban Missile Crisis. True story.

    Not exactly. Perino did not say she had never heard of it. During a news conference in 2007, she rejected a historical comparison that Putin had tried to make. Later, on an NPR comedy program, where people were laughing about how young she was (“You were seven during the Carter Administration?”), she related the Missile Crisis question in the form of a “canned tale of self-deprecation” (as the NYT put it). She also made fun of her boss (G.W. Bush).

    People who heard her and criticize her remarks have no sense of humor whatsoever — which is still slightly better than criticizing her remarks without having heard them or putting them in context.

  97. 97
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne: In that case I think you misunderstand the phrase.

  98. 98
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne: Maybe, but it does not answer Rusbridger’s first question (about the five weeks).

  99. 99
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    the US government doesn’t have the power to interfere with the press that the British government does

    Ask James Risen about that.

    (Inter alia.)

  100. 100
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    I guess it makes me a terrible person to say that now Risen understands a little of how Wen Ho Lee felt when Risen and Jeff Gerth claimed Lee was a Chinese spy.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    I know, it’s so weird how women don’t find jokes about how dumb women are to be funny, even when it’s a woman making the joke about what an idiot she is and how she had to ask her husband for help because she’s just such a dumb blonde. Chicks just don’t have a sense of humor, amirite?

  102. 102
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne: Not interested.

    If you had a woman-to-woman complaint about Perino’s self-deprecating humor on a comedy show, you could have stated it instead of mis-stating what she said and then mocking her for that.

  103. 103
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne: Can’t make out your point, sorry. Perhaps the morning will bring clarity.

  104. 104

    Plus, I’m not sure what difference it makes whether the US knew in advance or not.

    Well, it’s just more evidence that Greenwald needs to prove that the United States is the worst government in the world and we’d all be better off under a Rand Paul administration with the Articles of Confederation back in place. .

  105. 105
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Well, it’s just more evidence that Greenwald needs to prove that the United States is the worst government in the world and we’d all be better off under a Rand Paul administration with the Articles of Confederation back in place. .

    Agreed.
    To the walls boys!!

  106. 106

    @Corner Stone: Well, I could either engage in a calm, nuanced debate about Glenzilla trends towards a viewpoint that is hypercritical of the United States and thus tends to see evil in everything it does that diverges from his preferred policies and how I genuinely appreciate knowing what my government is doing with regards to surveillance, the insinuations he makes and his lack of perspective on how other nation states operate really bugs the hell out of me and I think does his genuine revelations a great disservice and how the libertarian perspective’s absolutism doesn’t differ all that much from religious fundamentalism in casting all actions as black and white, or I can engage in sarcastic hyperbole.

    I choose the later.

    So, you know, I’m just saying none of this would have happened if we only voted for Paul Ryan.

  107. 107
    Rex Everything says:

    Maybe it’s just the 90-odd Beefeaters & tonics talking, but I find it impossible to be mad at any of you anymore, even Mnemosyne. \\\

  108. 108
    Rex Everything says:

    Dude … just … dude.

  109. 109
    Allan says:

    Reading is fundamental.

    “I’ve seen the published reports of those accusations, but I don’t have any information for you on that.”

    Is not a denial of the accusations.

    It’s too bad Glenn’s not a lawyer, or he’d know that. Oh wait…

  110. 110
    Barry says:

    @MattF: “As a matter of fact, physical destruction of a hard drive os the only method of ‘erasure’ that intelligence agencies consider acceptable. For fans of crunchiness;”

    I know that others will pile on, but it’s so fun:

    Matt, the point is that the data on the hard drive was ‘copied’ to other hard drives, many of which were not even in the same room.

    Apparently, through ‘crystal synchronization’, multiple hard drives can be magically caused to hold the same data. If the crystals are then purified, destroying one drive can no longer act on the others, because the karmic links have been reset.

    Or something like that.

  111. 111
    Barry says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: “Fuck you Greenwald, Britain is a Sovereign nation and other than that time that Maggie was gobbling Ronnies dick (figuratively speaking) we take orders from no one. Including recently when we were told to back off from the Falklands issue. No. Ain’t going to happen.”

    ‘Sovereign nation’? Perhaps you’ve been in a coma, but I remember the previous decade :)

  112. 112
    Barry says:

    @Emma: “This is why I don’t even bother anymore. To the rightwingers America is the spotless hero; to the leftwingers, the uber-villain. To both of them, no other country is real. They are all players in America’s drama.”

    Bull.

  113. 113
    Cervantes says:

    @Barry: You work for Seagate, don’t you?

  114. 114
    Cervantes says:

    @Barry:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: “Fuck you Greenwald, Britain is a Sovereign nation and other than that time that Maggie was gobbling Ronnies dick (figuratively speaking) we take orders from no one. Including recently when we were told to back off from the Falklands issue. No. Ain’t going to happen.”

    ‘Sovereign nation’? Perhaps you’ve been in a coma, but I remember the previous decade :)

    It’s possible that Jim Naughtie did not actually write a book to explain how Tony Blair, “swept to power by a party once avowedly socialist came to make common cause with American neo-conservatives” — but I doubt it.

  115. 115
    Cervantes says:

    @Cervantes: PS: It didn’t.

  116. 116
    different-church-lady says:

    @Barry:

    Matt, the point is that the data on the hard drive was ‘copied’ to other hard drives, many of which were not even in the same room.

    You have a hard drive. It has data on it. The data is also on two other hard drives.

    By destroying the hard drive you have, the odds of someone getting their hands on THAT hard drive and stealing the data are reduced by what percent?

    Think….

  117. 117
    different-church-lady says:

    “Hey folks, I just found an Asian Long-Horned Beetle on this maple tree!”

    “Oh. Well, no point in killing it because there will still be other Asian Long-Horned Beetles in the world.”

    This is how it would go if certain BJ’ers were arborists.

  118. 118
    cleek says:

    on the bright side, this thread has prompted me to make some much-needed updates to the pie filter.

  119. 119
    LAC says:

    @different-church-lady: lol! I think you may have a series on this. Sort of a “WWJD” , only passive aggressive and sanctimonious.

  120. 120
    different-church-lady says:

    @LAC: Maybe more sort of “WWJTWVB”: Who would Jesus think wasn’t very bright?

    @cleek: Could you maybe do a version that just automatically pies everyone, including the front pagers? Because that’s kind of what it’s starting to get down to.

  121. 121
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @different-church-lady: Too much pie isn’t good for you.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  122. 122
    LAC says:

    @different-church-lady: lol!!! To both comments. It will be “balloon juice-recipes, cat pictures, garden updates” at that point. I like keeping track of the kray kray, myself. But I understand.

  123. 123
    Crouchback says:

    OK, let me predict the future.

    1. As the 2016 presidential election hoves into view, it will become increasingly obvious that the next president will be very likely to appoint multiple Supreme Court members. Therefore the choice will be to either elect the Democratic candidate (whoever that may be) or throw women’s rights under the bus. Plus labor unions, etc.

    2. Greenwald will inevitably back Rand Paul or some other non-Democrat who passes Greenwald’s civil liberties criteria. In practice this means Greenwald is willing to throw women’s rights under the bus for the sake of his concerns.

    Therefore, because of this most of Greenwald’s fans including our host John Cole will abandon him before the 2016 race. Doesn’t mean Greenwald’s wrong about Snowden or the NSA, it just means there are other priorities. No one wants another Nader. Well, the GOP does but that’s to be expected.

    Incidentally, if Clinton is the nominee the conservatives will attack her in such vicious and vile ways that even those of us who are lukewarm about her (like yours truly) will wind up voting for her enthusiastically just for the joy of punishing the opposition. So it goes.

Comments are closed.