I am someone that has deliberately stayed away from the entire NSA debate and specifically the Greenwald angle of it on this site. That doesn't mean I haven't been reading the stories and diaries and comments on here, far from it. I just haven't commented, until now.
Before you go any further let me say a few things: I was mildly, but not overly familiar with Glenn Greenwald before his NSA stories, I knew who he was, but didn't search out his work. I am unequivocally in favor of our civil rights being respected and not trounced by the Patriot Act, and the domestic electronic surveillance set up pre and post 9/11.
I'm not sure what prompted me exactly to write all this, but it came out. If you follow me below, you will be richly rewarded, or bored, or maybe somewhere in between.
I wish there was someone to root for in this whole Glen Greenwald story about his husband being detained at Heathrow Airport. Obviously they were trying to intimidate Glenn, but they also apparently seized some documents his husband was smuggling illegally, something Greenwald conveniently neglected to mention in his grandstanding over this.
Greenwald makes for a poor martyr in this story since for one, it's pretty obvious the guy is a grandstander of the highest order and he has a rather cavalier attitude towards telling the whole story when it helps his cause to hide something.
Secondly, the fact that we are talking about a man's male spouse just adds to it. Someone that is predisposed to homophobia will automatically tune Greenwald out on this issue. Even for me, someone that likes to think of himself as pretty progressive socially and someone in accordance with the prevailing attitudes of my own generation (Millennial) felt odd typing that part out. Also, the fact that he wants to be some champion of American democracy while living a whole CONTINENT away due to American laws regarding same sex partnership seems a bit hypocritical or just off. On one hand I certainly can't blame him for moving somewhere he feels he can lead his life the way he wishes, but it seems disingenuous to me to dismiss this critique of him out of hand. Dr. Martin Luther King didn't do his work from a less discriminatory place for Dr. King, like say England or France.
Thirdly, from my own observations it seems to me that Greenwald has a fetish for being the guy that "takes down" a President regardless of what the issue is or whom the President is.
On another note, these NSA revelations from Greenwald seem to me to be analogous to having the crime lab confirm the caliber of the bullet used was consistent with the weapon recovered from the suspect when he was apprehended at the scene, with blood and gunpowder all over him, and a very obvious motive to having the victim die. Basically we all knew what was going on and this just confirms it for me.
This does not mean I'm condoning in any way the big brother society we already are in, far from it. From the Occupy movement to the feds infiltrating Quaker meeting houses since they were anti war, to them using counter terrorism infrastructure to glean information to funnel secretly to the DEA, it is blatantly obvious we are being spied upon illegally. And this has already had terrible consequences and will have a more corrosive effect upon the people it was sold to under the auspices of keeping them safe.
Also, it is important that this kind of probing investigative journalism is not persecuted out of existence. It is probably more important, and more difficult now than ever.
So in summary, if it only hadn't been Glenn Greenwald to have been the one to get to Snowden or vice versa, or however they happened to have teamed up. Maybe we could have been talking about the substantive issues of domestic surveillance. On second thought, this is the country that brought you the Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo, so, probably not.