By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
A recent Wall Street Journal column carries the appropriate headline, “A Press Corps Full of Snowdenistas,” and describes the acolytes of National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden in the Western press as “utterly paranoid about their own governments, strangely trusting about the aims of the Kremlin.” It is written by Edward Lucas, a journalist who understands and exposes Russian intelligence and espionage operations. He wrote Deception. The Untold Story of East-West Espionage Today. His new book, The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster, is must reading.
Lacking definitive proof, Lucas does not charge that the Russian intelligence agency, the FSB, was directly behind Snowden from the get-go. Instead, he convincingly argues that Russian intelligence manipulated Snowden through third parties such as WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald. This does not mean, he emphasizes, that Snowden’s collaborators were “conscious agents” of Moscow. Instead, they operate in a certain “propaganda environment” in which “political movements in the West can serve the Kremlin’s purpose without hands-on control.”
Lucas doesn’t provide all of the necessary detail to understand what this current “political environment” is, although he accuses Snowden’s collaborators of having an “anti-American” bent. That is an understatement. We have documented that Greenwald had been a regular participant in communist conferences and spoke to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood front. The “Snowdenistas” in the media have failed to report on his pattern of associations with enemies or adversaries of the United States.
More recently, Greenwald talked to Al Jazeera America, the Arab-funded propaganda channel. Taking a predictable anti-American tone, the interview ran under the headline, “Greenwald: U.S. uses terrorism as an excuse to do almost everything.” A recipient of an award named in honor of Soviet agent and “journalist” I.F. Stone, Greenwald has openly stated that he seeks to weaken America globally.
We have also reported that a close associate of Snowden, who met with him in Moscow, did not deny that the FSB was in charge of his “asylum” in Moscow, and in fact defended such an arrangement as being “totally” proper.
These days, many anti-American forces are openly doing what the Soviets and the KGB used to do secretly. Al Jazeera and Moscow-funded RT (Russia Today) television are clearly part of this campaign. (WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange worked for a time for RT). Since it is out in the open, some journalists apparently think all of this is legitimate “journalism” and not tainted by any possible association with foreign intelligence services. Lucas, who believes foreign intelligence agencies also deserve to be investigated, is to be congratulated for breaking with the global media pack.
But more real investigative journalism is desperately needed. It is noteworthy that Greenwald has a new media venture, funded by billionaire eBay founder and French-born Iranian-American Pierre Omidyar. The website features flattering articles from such publications as Bloomberg, Columbia Journalism Review, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Reuters, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.
But where is the investigation of Omidyar? It seems that the media regard him as a great humanitarian and philanthropist, sort of like they view George Soros.
After Greenwald unveiled his new site, The Intercept, the U.S. media were in awe, and commented that:
- “Greenwald debuts Omidyar-backed The Intercept,” by USA Today.
- “Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept debuts with NSA stories,” by The Huffington Post.
The first story was about the use of NSA-collected data in targeting terrorists, as if this was a bad thing. The result of this kind of “journalism” is to alert terrorists to how the U.S. is tracking them, so they can survive and organize more anti-American attacks.
On the website of First Look Media, the news organization Omidyar created, an “About Us” segment insists that, “In all our work, we are committed to strict standards of accuracy and honesty, a willingness to report our own errors and inconsistencies as well as those of others, and a deep respect for the transformative power of true stories.”
What about starting with a story about Greenwald’s appearances at Marxist-Leninist conferences? We noted eight months ago that the International Socialist Organization (ISO), which hosted Greenwald, says, “We stand in the Marxist tradition, founded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and continued by V.I. Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky.”
At a time when freedom fighters are toppling statues of Lenin in Ukraine, in a bid for their nation to break free from Moscow, isn’t it fitting to question Greenwald about his association with such a group? And Omidyar, as well, for financing Greenwald-style reporting?
Michelle Van Cleave, who served as the head of U.S. counterintelligence under President George W. Bush, notes in an article defending the NSA in World Affairs Journal that “Today, there are more Russian intelligence personnel operating in the United States than there were at the height of the Cold War, and they are far from alone. By some counts, China is here in even greater numbers, and even more active against us through cyber means. Add to that the Cubans, the Iranians, and most of the rest of the world’s governments—plus some thirty-five suspected terrorist organizations—all here, taking advantage of the freedom of movement, access, and anonymity afforded by American society.”
She adds, “A long roll call of spies from Russia, China, Cuba, and other nations have targeted the essential secrets of U.S. intelligence capabilities in order to be able to defeat them. And now they have the Snowdens and the WikiLeakers of the world helping them out.”
This is happening right in front of our eyes, all of it in the name of “journalism,” and now they have the backing of a man worth as much as $8.5 billion.
In the face of this threat, Senator Rand Paul has finally followed through on his promise to sue the NSA, even enlisting conservative former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the legal campaign. (In a controversial move, Cuccinelli replaced attorney Bruce Fein, who had also represented Snowden’s father.) This development helps explain why Julian Assange recently stated he is a “big admirer” of the Republican senator from Kentucky.
When conservatives are joining with the far-left to beat up the NSA, you have to conclude that the Russian FSB officers in charge of Snowden must be extremely pleased—even laughing with delight—over how this operation is turning out. Moscow mostly stays out of the picture and doesn’t even have to put up many rubles to enable the operation.