By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
How did the Islamic State go from being a jayvee team to an imminent threat to America in just a short time? The headline in last Friday’s Washington Times said it all: “Islamic State using leaked Snowden info to evade U.S. intelligence.” Rowan Scarborough points the finger at former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, now living in Russia under the protection of Vladimir Putin’s secret police.
Scarborough says Snowden’s “top-secret disclosures” are the key to making the Islamic State killers “harder to find because they know how to avoid detection.”
But while the source of the story was identified as NSA’s former deputy director Chris Inglis, we also have a major study showing how Snowden has helped the Islamists. And the story was broken by National Public Radio!
“Just months after the Snowden documents were released, al-Qaida dramatically changed the way its operatives interacted online,” noted NPR reporter Dina Temple-Raston.
She cited a study done by the firm Recorded Future, which said that “Following the June 2013 Edward Snowden leaks we observe an increased pace of innovation, specifically new competing jihadist platforms and three major new encryption tools from three (3) different organizations—GIMF, Al-Fajr Technical Committee, and ISIS—within a three to five-month time frame of the leaks.”
ISIS is the Islamic State.
Snowden’s mouthpiece, Glenn Greenwald, was quick to accuse NPR of ignoring the firm’s connections to the U.S. intelligence community. For Greenwald, it is shameful to want to help the U.S. defend its citizens against foreign threats.
Greenwald has not seemed bothered in the least by Snowden’s collaboration with the FSB, the successor to the old Soviet KGB.
Yet, while Attorney General Eric Holder will open a probe of the Ferguson police over how they handle thugs and rioters, he has permitted Snowden’s collaborator Greenwald to return to the U.S. to sell his book, No Place to Hide, and accept various journalism prizes.
We called them Pulitzer Prizes for espionage.
The immediate question is whether Holder will get serious about holding Greenwald accountable for facilitating Snowden’s espionage activities on behalf of Russia and the Islamic State. Indeed, the evidence already shows that Snowden’s disclosures helped Russia invade Ukraine. Now we see the emergence of the Islamic State, directly following Snowden’s disclosures helping terrorist groups.
For Congress, which Obama wants to approve a military campaign against the Islamic State, the question is why this has suddenly become a big issue now, at a time when Russia is moving militarily through Ukraine. And why is Russia not being held accountable for its naked aggression against Ukraine and continued coddling of the traitor Snowden? Obama rules out defensive heavy weapons for Ukraine, instead sending bottled water and meals ready to eat.
Meanwhile, as Vladimir Putin threatens nuclear war, some of our more responsible media outlets scratch their heads over the lack of a coherent response to Russian aggression and threats.
But if the media are having second thoughts about playing into Greenwald’s hands, as Politico implied, then it is time to investigate his billionaire financial backer, the French-born Iranian American entrepreneur and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Greenwald now gripes that the American people have been worked into a frenzy by the media over military retaliation against the Islamic State.
The real issue is whether Obama’s military campaign against the Islamic State will become another no-win war, in the same way that Obama and Holder have failed to deal with the anti-American espionage activities of Snowden and Greenwald, not to mention former Moscow TV host and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. No espionage indictment has ever been filed against Assange, to our knowledge. His biggest fear seems to be the sex crimes charges against him in Sweden.
The Obama/Holder administration could have arrested Greenwald for violating the espionage act. It chose not to act against him.
His supporters say Greenwald is just being a journalist. But he was never a journalist by training. He was a lawyer who started a gay pornography business and then wrote about legalizing drugs for the Cato Institute back in 2009.
Now considered a leftist, one can argue that he began his career as a libertarian.
Whatever the state of his current ideology, he has made it his mission to undermine U.S. national security by cooperating with America’s adversaries and enemies. This isn’t journalism. It is espionage masquerading as journalism.
This may finally be starting to dawn on the media. As Politico’s Michael Hersh put it, “…the international environment has changed dramatically for the worse since the first Snowden revelations. The horrifying rise of what may be al Qaeda’s even more barbaric successor, the Islamic State, along with new threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin and others, has reoriented discussion back toward the perils that the NSA programs were intended to thwart in the first place.”
The obvious flaw in this story is the failure to connect the dots—from Snowden’s disclosures to the foreign threats and problems being discussed.
Do our media want to pretend that all of this is just an accident?
Are journalists really this dumb? Or are they just trying to pretend that this kind of journalism has “peaked,” as they try to desperately protect themselves from the inevitable charges that will result if the Islamic State terrorists reach American soil and start blowing our fellow Americans to bits?
The record is clear: our media made Snowden and his handler Greenwald into journalistic heroes. They gave Greenwald honors and awards. They made this dangerous world more dangerous.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org