Nice post from Kevin Gosztola on Jeffrey Toobin's past as Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald, except just for money:
Toobin’s campaign against Snowden and in defense of the government’s right to protect sensitive national security secrets is incredibly hypocritical, given his past history.The post continues with the irony dripping anecdote on how Toobin wrapped himself in the First Amendment to keep Lawrence Walsh from pursuing legal action against him and the publication of his book about the work of Walsh's office on Iran/Contra:
In journalist Michael Isikoff’s book, Uncovering Clinton: A Reporter’s Story, he described how Toobin was caught “having absconded with large loads of classified and grand-jury related documents from the office of Iran-Contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh” in 1991:Toobin, it turned out, had been using his tenure in Walsh’s office to secretly prepare a tell-all book about the Iran-contra case; the privileged documents, along with a meticulously kept private diary (in which the young Toobin, a sort of proto-Linda Tripp, had been documenting private conversations with his unsuspecting colleagues) were to become his prime bait to snare a book deal. Toobin’s conduct enraged his fellow lawyers in Walsh’s office, many of whom viewed his actions as an indefensible betrayal of the public trust. Walsh at one point even considered pressing for Toobin’s indictment.Toobin was “petrified” that he would have to face criminal charges for stealing information for a rather dubious book deal. And, according to Isikoff, he either “feared dismissal and disgrace, or simply wanted to move on,” and he “resigned from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn (where he had gone to work after Walsh) and abandoned the practice of law.”
Walsh’s memoir on the Iran-Contra investigation, Firewall, included more details on Toobin’s act:Finally the post recounts this story:
During our negotiations over the timing of the book’s publication, Toobin and his publisher surprised us with a preemptive suit to enjoin me from interfering with the publication or punishing Toobin for having stolen hundreds of documents, some of them classified, and for exposing privileged information and material related to the grand jury proceedings. I could understand a young lawyer wanting to keep copies of his own work, but not copying material from the general files or the personal files of others.[Emphasis supplied.]
In 1991, the New York Times published this editorial by John P. MacKenzie on Toobin’s book on the criminal investigation into Iran-Contra. It lambasted Toobin and the concluding paragraph was the following:Toobin does show great ability on one front, chutzpah.
Lawyers often write self-praising books, but they don’t usually betray clients and bosses or spill secrets that aren’t theirs to sell. Mr. Toobin is no First Amendment hero but an opportunistic practitioner who searched for contract loopholes while his colleagues focused on Iran-contra. One wonders whether Mr. Toobin, as a junior Federal prosecutor now or in practice later, will need an ironclad no-publish contract to win the trust of his witnesses, clients or superiors.