It started for me this evening as I was watching the CBS Evening News.
CBS just hired former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell as a "security consultant" and commentator and he wasted no time today (with appearances both this morning and this evening on the network's news shows) hinting that the Russians had aided Edward Snowden in his obtaining and leaking NSA files.
This morning he prefaced his remarks by saying, "We just don't know..." but then added that there were "...a couple of classified reports which I can't discuss here which suggest that might have been the case."
Tailgunner Joe McCarthy: "I have here in my hand a list with the names of X known communists currently working in the State Department."In other words: "We don't know but I get to see classified material you can't, so trust me, there MIGHT be something to those charges." Mr. Morrell's tactics here are frankly the worst form of McCarthyism and CBS should be ashamed for giving him a forum to use them on their airwaves. It has no place in our democracy.
But in plain fact, I suddenly realized that Mr. Morrell's remarks are only part of what has suddenly begun....a full scale and clearly coordinated attack on Edward Snowden.....not with facts....but with massive inuendo. Follow me below the squiggle for more evidence.
I also happened to stop by one of my favorite watering holes....Charlie Pierce's Esquire Politics Blog for a check on "What the Gobshites are Saying", his regular Monday morning perusal of what happened on the Sunday talk shows and boy howdy was the Snowden assault suddenly in plain view.
PIERCE: Here, for example, is the increasingly useless Diane Feinstein, visiting with the Dancin' Master, (Note: Charlie's label for the ever clueless Dave Gregory) and dishing out some ironclad speculation about Comrade Snowden.Next Gregory moves on to Congressman Mike Rogers:
GREGORY: And do you agree with Chairman Rogers that he may have had help from the Russians?
FEINSTEIN: He may well have. We don't know at this stage. But I think to glorify this act is really to set sort of a new level of dishonor. And this goes to where this metadata goes. Because the N.S.A. are professionals. They are limited in number to 22 who have access to the data. Two of them are supervisors. They are vetted. They are carefully supervised. The data goes anywhere else. How do you provide that level of supervision?
PIERCE: Yes, m'lady, We don't know at this stage, but it may have happened. (It really is time for you to go give a speech in Wheeling, isn't it?) And, will o'god, as my old Irish grandmother used to say, the people with access to the data are so very carefully supervised that a second-level contractor -- who, I will bet something substantial, was not one of the 22 Initiates -- got in there, took everything except Keith Alexander's shorts, and got all the way to Moscow with his stash. There is losing the plot, and then there is leaving the plot out in the middle of the yard for the squirrels to pick at.
GREGORY: But how high level, do you think?Charlie then takes us to "This Week with the Clinton Guy Shocked by Blowjobs" at ABC and Congressman Mike McCaul:
ROGERS: Well, let me just say this. I believe there's a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB agent in Moscow. I don't think that's a coincidence, number one. Number two, and let me just talk about this. I think it's important.
DAVID GREGORY: You think the Russians helped Ed Snowden?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE ROGERS: I believe there's questions to be answered there. I don't think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB.
GREGORY: That's a significant development if it's true.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE ROGERS: Well, I said we have questions we have to answer. But as somebody who used to do investigations, some of the things we're finding we would call clues that certainly would indicate to me that he had some help and he stole things that had nothing to do with privacy
MCCAUL: Hey, listen, I don't think Snowden -- Mr. Snowden woke up one day and had the wherewithal to do this all by himself. I think he was helped by others.Young Americans wake up here because if you want a classic example of modern day McCarthyism, you can read it right here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Russians?
MCCAUL: You know, to say definitively, I can't -- I can't answer that. But I personally believe that he was cultivated by a foreign power to do what he did. And he -- I would submit, again, that he's not a hero by any stretch. He's a traitor. He -- he lives not very far down the street from where I am right now, enjoying probably less freedoms today here in Russia than he had in the United States of America.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's a pretty serious charge, sir. Which foreign power do you believe cultivated Edward Snowden?
MCCAUL: Again, I can't give a definitive statement on that. I -- but I've been given all the evidence, I know Mike Rogers has access to, you know, that I've seen that I don't think he was acting alone.
Do you think it is just a coincidence that politicians, security experts and "insiders" all suddenly appear in one morning and the following day, all mouthing the same messages? If you do, I urge you to go back to the days before our invasion of Iraq when Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell all appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows and all spouting the same line - We wouldn't want the smoking gun to be a nuclear cloud. It worked like a charm and we all know how well all THAT worked out. So read through the following carefully and look for hard facts and evidence:
I can't give a definitive statement...but I don't think he was acting alone. (Just my personal opinion, but I AM an expert.)Then go read a little history of the Russian gulags and see how the evidence was gathered and presented.
I believe (but I have absolutely no evidence) there's a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB agent in Moscow.
To say definitively, I can't answer that....but (I will anyway and you can draw your own conclusions.)
I've been given all the evidence Mike Rogers has access to (but you have to trust me.)
Hey, listen, I don't think Snowden -- Mr. Snowden woke up one day and had the wherewithal to do this all by himself. (No evidence....just what I think.)
I fear for American democracy.