Glenn Greenwald is the Guardian journalist to whom Snowden came to expose the NSA’s widespread spying practices. Most of the mainstream media and Obama administration think that the only thing Snowden exposed was the fact that he’s a traitor. And in NBC’s David Gregory’s mind, Snowden isn’t the only traitor here. After all, Greenwald was the one “aiding and abetting” Snowden every step of the way. So Gregory asked Greenwald, “Why shouldn’t you…be charged with a crime?” This, coming from the guy who violated D.C. gun laws in his attempt to argue for more D.C.-type gun laws around the country. He got away with bringing a 30-round mag on his show, because he was “just trying to make a point.”
And now, Gregory’s trying to get Greenwald (and Snowden for that matter) on a technicality. Technically, the things that Snowden exposed aren’t illegal. Their practices are (allegedly) protected under the Patriot Act, and they’re (technically) not completely unwarranted, because they get secret FISA court approvals. So, Snowden can’t be said to be a true whistleblower. Therefore, he illegally revealed national security secrets. And Greenwald “aided and abetted” Snowden’s efforts.
Never mind the fact that just because something is illegal these days, doesn’t mean it’s unethical. And the converse is also true. Just because something is legal, doesn’t mean it must be ethical. The NSA shroud themselves in Patriot Act and FISA legalese, but their actions blatantly violate the 4th Amendment and are unethical to say the least.
So, here was Greenwald’s response to Gregory’s question about whether he should be charged with a crime:
“I think it’s pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence — the idea I’ve aided and abetted him in any way. The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the emails and records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory you just embraced — being a co-conspirator in felonies for working with sources. If you want to embrace that theory, it means every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources [and] receives classified information is a criminal. And it’s precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States. It’s why the New Yorker’s Jean Mayer said investigative reporting has come to a ‘standstill,’ her word, as a result of the theories you just referenced.”
Gregory went on to question what a journalist actually was and whether or not Greenwald fits that definition. It used to be that an investigative journalist’s job was to keep the government accountable and transparent, which I think is Greenwald’s and Snowden’s goal in this case.
But people say that journalism is dead now, because so many news organizations and reporters have become lapdogs whose job is to carry the water for the current administration and to give people the politically correct opinion. You know, like David Gregory.