According to the Atlantic, in a shocking development, Glenn Greenwald will pen a book disclosing revelations on the NSA's surveillance program. The book is already set for publication by Metropolitan Books in March, 2014.
This announcement of course, raises a few key issues. First, what impact will yesterday's testimony by NSA officials have on any revelations to be contained in the book. Has the NSA itself already stolen Greenwald's thunder? Second, why wait for a book next year? If Greenwald was made privy to these revelations through his work for the Guardian on the Snowden document theft, and the materials are so vital to the public interest, why wait another 8 months to reveal them for a price in another Greenwald book, instead of publishing them in the Guardian now? Did part of Greenwald's arrangement with Snowden include the right to withhold vital information on the NSA programs to be included only in a Greenwald book? Will Snowden reap any financial benefit from the book, too, or just Greenwald? And finally, in that vein, will the new book finally disclose what Greenwald's role was in the genesis of this story in the first place? Will he finally answer questions about whether Snowden approached him out of the blue, or whether he may have, in some fashion, assisted/facilitated/planned the document theft by Snowden in the first place? In other words, is Greenwald a mere conduit, or a criminal (now for profit)?
If I had to guess, I suspect Glenn's new tome will duck these questions with typical outrage at anyone who would dare to question his motives and with even more typical outrage at anyone who isn't as outraged as he purports to be about the NSA's programs. I also suspect that many on the left, particularly those of a Naderite persuasion, will continue to hail him as some sort of progressive hero, when he is anything but. I also suspect the book will be light on any actual new revelations but heavy on trying to lay the blame for any and all over-reach by the NSA programs at the feet of the current administration. [Be sure to check back in March for my full review.]
Until these questions are answered, though, I see no reason to conclude that Greenwald is anything other than what he has always been: A self-aggrandizing, anti-government Republican turned "libertarian" out of embarrassment, with a severe, chronic case of Obama Derangement Syndrome, seeking to profit (in this case, literally) by duping some on the left into thinking he cares one whit about progressive causes. So join me below the fold for more fun, revealing discussions about Greenwald, as he once again places himself at the center of the story, and for a profit, no less.
**EDIT: Responding to one fair criticism, there is no verification that his book will be the "next" in the series of revelations. To be fair, nothing in the brief Atlantic wire piece confirms that there won't be other articles in the Guardian in the meantime. Accordingly, I have removed the word "next" from the diary title/intro. The ethical and legal questions I have posed, however, remain unchanged, for even if they are not the "next" revelations, why wait until a book comes out? Why announce the book deal now, when the story is still so nascent, and the revelations at such an early stage? Was the book deal really what this was all about? Was there a deal with Snowden that certain revelations, supposedly of vital public interest, would be withheld solely for publication in a book by Greenwald? How much will Greenwald make? Will Snowden see any portion of it? Was this whole caper, therefore, motivated by profit? And, once again, most importantly, what was Greenwald's advance role in the theft of documents, if any? As previously stated, I don't expect any answers from Greenwald, so all we can do is speculate.
In one sense, there's nothing wrong with Grrenwald trying to make a buck off this story, of course, but it does open him up to criticism about his motives. The oddity is the announcement -- in the middle of the still-developing story, with so many supposedly outrageous components of the NSA's programs yet to be revealed -- that at least some further allegedly critical revelations regarding the scope of the NSA's programs will apparently not be disclosed for the benefit of the public's interest in protecting their rights as soon as possible through his paper, but instead will be held for later publication to benefit Greenwald's profit margin. Why now, when the story is so new? It seems . . . unseemly, no? Almost as if the book deal was done in advance of the story -- maybe even in advance of there even being a story?
So, until Greenwald offers explanations for the questions posed above, what, can we speculate, are Greenwald's true motives? Apart from a profit motive, his latest crusade seems to be in keeping with Greenwald's modus operandi -- undermining faith in all government generally and undermining the Obama administration specifically. Does that sound progressive? Far from being an actual champion of liberals, as he has been portrayed for some time now, it seems to me that the real Glenn Greenwald is something far less progressive, and far more anti-government. We've seen, just in the last few days, Greenwald attacking the few reliably liberal components of the media. Based on his recent comments, he's now seeing liberal media enemies lurking in every shadow and liberal media conspiracies forming in every whisper. All of his critics are liars, all who disagree with him are slaves to Obama's fascist state. Just this week, he's gone after Bernstein and MSNBC, accusing them of being propagandists for the government. Hmmm . . . what other political group says things like that? Wow -- how very progressive of him.
But of course, this is the guy who, according to a liberal blogger he attacked for criticizing him, once reportedly wrote 53 consecutive blog entries (during Obama's presidency) without criticizing the GOP once. Of the 53 entries, 5 were reportedly completely non-political matters. Of the remaining 48, ALL 48 reportedly blasted Obama. Every single one. According to the account, not one offered any criticism of the GOP. Not one. My, my -- how progressive.
This is also the guy who was a highly-paid keynote speaker at a big-donor event for the Koch-founded and Koch-funded Cato Institute, for whom he also wrote articles, including at least one major policy paper. Again, how progressive of him. Why, that's what all those dedicated to progressive causes do, right? They spend their time at the Cato Institute, yeah? Why, Glenn's ties to the Koch/Cato machine just screams progressive, doesn't it?
Oh, and it would be unfair to Glenn not to thank him for his rousing defenses of Citizens United and other Koch-favored positions. Why, I'm sure Glenn's stirring defense of Citizens United and other Koch efforts like their anti-government, astro-turf campaign against the TSA are all pure coincidence and not at all indicative of his true ideology. Because he's really so progressive, you see.
This is also the guy who has written scathing attacks on undocumented immigrants, calling their presence evil and destructive to the country and to its economy and culture. You know, like a good progressive would. Oh, but Glenn assures us, his views on immigration have quickly evolved -- he now wants credit for no longer explicitly calling immigrants "evil," even as he happily shifts his rhetoric to "border security" and the "rule of law." You know -- just like the typical Republi -- er, I mean, just like a "progressive" would.
Oh, and let us not fail to give Glenn his full measure of due for so vigorously defending Ron Paul and his statements over the years, and for praising Rand Paul for his heroics in taking on the Obama administration through a filibuster against a non-existent drone strike. You know, defending and praising the Pauls like any good progressive would.
And lest we forget, Greenwald supported Bush and his national security actions after 9/11, including the the Iraq war (and implicitly, though not explicitly, the Patriot Act), because, he argued, as the country's leader, Bush was entitled to his "loyalty" and "deference" on maters of national security. Of course, he now claims that he later "changed his mind." And how lucky for the rest of us that he had his Saul-like conversion (almost on the road to Damascus, even) just in time so that he could spend the last 5 years blasting Obama for the very same things for which he had given Bush his unfettered, unconditional "loyalty" and "trust." Fealty to Bush switches to outrage against Obama. Convenient, no? And so very, very progressive of him.
Oh, and we don't want to leave out Glenn's fine history of Obama-bashing at our very own Daily Kos. Because that's what all good progressives do, am I right or am I right? "Worse than Bush!" -- that's the progressive mantra, right?
Why, if one didn't know any better, a cynic might suggest that Greenwald isn't much of a progressive at all, that he's really just another Bush Republican turned "libertarian" out of embarrassment, and that he's now cynically posing as a "progressive" to make a few bucks and dupe a few saps into his anti-government agenda. Boy, it's a good thing we know how progressive he really is, huh? Or else one might be tempted to suggest that his latest (now for-profit) adventure with Snowden fits nicely with his long pattern of an anti-government agenda, huh? Seriously, good thing he's such a progressive, am I right?
Speaking of dupes, it's been widely reported that Snowden was shopping his little crime spree around before he ever even took the defense contractor job. It seems to me this raises some serious ethical questions for Greenwald and others if (and admittedly, it's only if) they may have supported/assisted/facilitated his little adventure, no? I mean, it seems to me there's a major ethical (and possibly legal) distinction between someone coming to you and saying, "Hey, I work for X, and I have access to documents showing illegal surveillance by the government; will you run my story if I can show you the proof of illegal conduct?" versus someone coming to you and saying, "Hey, I share your political ideology, and I have a plan. I can get a job at X, and steal EVERYTHING that I can get my hands on, and some of it may show that there's an expansive surveillance program going on that I don't like and that will undermine trust in government and in the current administration. I don't know if it's actually illegal, and I don't know what other, unrelated documents I will be stealing, too, but if you run with this, then I will go get this job and steal all these documents, and together, we can sort it out later. Oh, and we can make some serious money off of it, too!"
One makes you a reporter, a conduit for a whistle-blower. The other makes you . . . what, exactly? A progressive?
But I'm sure Greenwald will have answers to all of this . . . for $34.99, maybe? Will I have to register at his blog to get the answers? Hmmm . . . I think maybe I'll wait for the paperback. Or maybe I'll just see what Ralph Nader is up to these days . . .