The Day After The Snowden Interview

May 29, 2014 by

The Day After The Snowden Interview

Like many Americans, I watched the NBC hourlong show about Brian Williams‘ interview of Edward J. Snowden from last week in Moscow with great intrigue. For almost a year now, we’ve heard him being defined by others (In public relations and political campaigns that’s something you never want to let happen) but last night’s interview basically amounted to this–he handed President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the NSA, White House officials and members of Congress who have tried to characterize him in whatever bad ways they could their asses.

I remember years go listening to Rush Limbaugh and him talking about the shock that Ross Perot had from doing a network interview and thinking it was going to be fair going and coming out on the other side with Perot’s ass being handed to him. Before watching last night, I wondered if the same thing wasn’t about to happen to 30-year-old Snowden.

Remarkably, however, he got almost an hour of prime time to say what he wanted to say, and calmly, collectively, dissecting what’s been said about him and then launching an all out offensive attack on those who have sought to demonize him. And you could tell, what he said affected Brian Williams and the confidence of Snowden in the interview I have no doubt affected how NBC portrayed it last night. In other words, Snowden gave them little opportunity to tear him down with what he said. He was holding court and all the cards.

Secretary of State John Kerry telling Edward Snowden to Man Up and come home and face the music.

Secretary of State John Kerry telling Edward Snowden to Man Up and come home and face the music.

John Kerry

I saw the huff and puff interview that Secretary of State Kerry gave about how Kerry should come home and “face the music.”  NBC chief political reporter Chuck Todd said he was “Angry.”  If you think about it, it plays like President Bennett, played by Donald Mofatt in Tom Clancy‘s movie Clear and Present Danger telling Jack Ryan “How dare you come into this office and bark at me like some little junkyard dog? I am the President of the United States!” Mr. Kerry’s comments almost sounded the same way, same voice, same words. Except to me, if Mr. Kerry is angry, he needs to step up the intensity of it.

The Problem In Deciding Who Is Right

Here’s where I’m presently with all of this.

The government says that Snowden has jeopardized all sorts of assets, systems and people because of what he’s done. Yet Catch 22 says they can’t say exactly what because it’d further compromise national security, but then again, would it?  We just don’t know.  We can’t know.

Snowden says the government can do things like turn your phone on when it’s off and listen to and watch what you’re doing thru the microphone and camera on it. But he hasn’t cited any examples, (at least none have been released) that they’re actually doing that on any regular basis to random citizens. There are accounts where the FBI has done this in drug and conspiracy cases, but that’s different than saying they can do it to anyone. If I own a gun I can shoot someone with it, too. That doesn’t mean that’s what I’m doing with it day in and day out.

Response In Washington

I noticed that The New York Times buried the story about Williams and Snowden way down on their front web page today. CNN is back to MH 370.  The Washington Post has a photo of Snowden and Williams and a story, but it’s not lead. The LA Times is worried about greenhouse omissions. The Dallas Morning News‘ website’s top story today is a column and a story about when a man should pay when going on a date.

So either the White House has launched a highly successful suppression campaign, other networks don’t want to hype what happened on NBC and not their air, or the Snowden story isn’t that important.

And that’s a shame because this is something that has an impact on all of us. And we all know Washington politicians aren’t going to do a darned thing unless their phones start ringing.

Glenn Greenwald

The other thing I was glad about last night is that the focus didn’t get to be about Glenn Greenwald and just his book. Can you imagine how he must feel, ego aside, he flew again all the way to Moscow to be on TV for 20-30 seconds, maybe a minute.  That’s not a great use of time to be running around selling his book….

 

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Glenn Greenwald Is Violating What He Said In His Own Words

May 24, 2014 by

Glenn Greenwald recently published his book, No Place To Hide, on how he was contacted by Edward J. Snowden and went to Hong Kong to have 10 days of face-to-face meetings with him about the NSA files he allegedly amassed while working in the US intelligence community. The book offers many insights, some which I feel like I’ve read a dozen times on the Internet already over the past 12 months, but there is new information contained therein. Greenwald goes to great lengths to lay out in the book why he participated, and the personal observations about motive in Snowden and himself. Problem is, less than three weeks after the book went on sale, he’s violating the premises he established in 240-plus pages, which is making me wonder what else he’s willing to compromise.

NBC to air exclusive with Edward Snowden May 28, 2014 even though Greenwald says in his book, they have fought off this very behavior.

NBC to air exclusive with Edward Snowden May 28, 2014 even though Greenwald says in his book, they have fought off this very behavior.

I’m confused.  In the book Greenwald dedicates an entire chapter attacking many in the Fourth Estate and their efforts to demonize himself and Snowden.  He then counters arguments about how leaking the top secret materials wasn’t being done to inflate the egos of either Snowden or Greenwald among the two paragraphs that follow:

“…Snowden was determined to disappear from sight, as he said, to do no interviews. He understood that the media love to personalize every story, and he wanted to keep the focus on NSA surveillance, not on him. True to his word, Snowden refused all media invitations. Brian Williams dispatched several different representatives to make his case. Snowden could have spent all day and night on the most influential television shows, with the world watching him, had he wanted to do that.

 “But he was unmovable. I conveyed the requests and he declined them, to avoid taking attention away from the revelations. Strange behavior for a fame-seeking narcissist.” (Pages 222-223)

So here’s the thing. Brian Williams, three weeks after the release of the Greenwald book, is advertising that this past week he flew to Moscow and met several hours with Edward Snowden and has interviewed Greenwald.

In an effort to not be critical or demonize Greenwald, as he so carefully sets up in the book that he doesn’t want anyone to do, that he, Snowden et al have worked hard NOT to be the story, then how come so closely after the release of the book, are they doing the very things in the book that they said they have stood steadfastly against doing?

To me this amazingly weakens many of the contentions that Greenwald seeks so hard to establish in No Place To Hide. He’s the defender of the concept that Snowden is not seeking press attention, and now NBC is harping about their exclusive with both men for a May 28th exclusive to run 10 Eastern/9 p.m. Central.

Yes, this is a marketing ploy to sell more books, but it runs contrary to the very points established in the book. Mr. Greenwald, if you want to have credibility about why you participated in the leaks, shouldn’t you remain true to ALL of the arguments you’ve laid out in the book and not just the ones now that are going to help you sell more?

Me thinks denial of personal ambition and ego should be made of sterner stuff….

 

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