Detaining David Miranda Ticked Off More Journalists Than Glenn Greenwald

Glenn GreenwaldGlenn GreenwaldIf British authorities thought that detaining and questioning David Miranda, high-profile journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner, would discourage further revelations about NSA surveillance of the world's communications, they miscalculated. Not only has Greenwald (pictured at right) vowed to be more aggressive than ever, but journalists elesewhere seem to be taking the implicit threat to heart, with a CNN correspondent asking on-air if he and his colleagues could expect similar treatment.

In his column for The Guardian, Greenwald wrote after Miranda was released:

If the UK and US governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded. If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further.

Away from his desk, Greenwald is more overtly pissed, telling reporters at the airport in Rio de Janeiro, where he met Miranda upon his return home:

I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I am going to publish things on England too. I have many documents on England's spy system. I think they will be sorry for what they did.

Ivan WatsonIvan Watson's Twitter feedBut Greenwald isn't the only one who got the message. As CNN reported today on the incident, correspondent Ivan Watson (that's him at right), filling in for Michael Holmes as co-anchor with Suzanne Malveaux, asked, "What happens if we publish leaks? Will our partners be detained?"

Writing for USA Today, columnist Rem Rieder, who is also a consultant for the American Journalism Review, pointed out:

The British government's outrageous nine-hour detention of David Miranda, a 28-year-old Brazilian, for nothing more than being the partner of Snowden saga journalist Glenn Greenwald, was an attempt at pure intimidation.

Rieder added, "As is so often the case with such ham-handed measures, Britain's action is likely to backfire."

No shit. There's an old saying about the lack of wisdom in picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel. Now that pixels have largely replaced ink, the potential risk in infuriating journalists with crude threats can only be magnified.

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  • Almanian!||

    I'd consider going gay for that handsome Ivan Watson.

    I MEEEEEAN...it's nice to see the Journolists waking up and supporting freedom.

  • Bobarian||

    "it's nice to see the Journolists waking up and supporting freedom."

    But only when it involves themselves...

    Fucking fucks.

  • ||

    ^This

    Journolists ought to be a protected class, because, you know, they get paid to be Journolists.

  • ||

    His teeth scare the bejeebus outta me.

  • Almanian!||

    Probably as Scot, eh?

  • fish||

    Nothing a little floss and some white paint won't fix.

  • jesse.in.mb||

    He's got some prominent canines on him.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Oh, so it's worth getting aggressive with the coverage once your ox is or might be gored.

    (Not referencing Greenwald.)

  • ||

    Who cares? I don't need their motivations to be pure, I need them to report and expose government malfeasance. If they're doing it because they're pissy that they got fucked with, that's fine with me. Just as long as they're doing it. In fact, I don't really expect 99% of them to ever have anything other than personal reasons. All I want is them covering the government, and with a hostile edge to it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    If only that were their one virtue--to distrust and expose government and its abuses.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Who cares? I don't need their motivations to be pure...

    I care. If it's just whatever shiny issue sporadically catches their eye then you can't count on the reporting ever happening in the first, you can't count on its not going away when they are mollified, and you almost certainly won't ever see it happen with icky things like guns and markets because they aren't interested in those things in the first place.

    Getting the right answer for the wrong reason is better than getting the wrong answer, but it's not as good as getting it for the right reason.

  • ||

    I think we're going to have to be satisfied with what we get. We get someone like Greenwald who is at least the rare moderately principled journalist. Then we get a whole bunch of preening scumbags who got pissed off but at least they're doing the right thing because of it.

    That's probably the best we can ask for.

  • R C Dean||

    Well, we're going to get what we get. that doesn't mean we have to be satisfied with it.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    It's better than nothing, but it's not a lot, if any, different from the KULTUR WAR you constantly deride. It just so happens that, in this instance, for now, some journalists' KULTUR WAR works to our advantage. They'll revert to their scorpion nature soon enough.

  • SugarFree||

    Just stick to quoting cartoon, Epi. It makes everyone uncomfortable when you try to be serious. Scamper for us, clownshoes. Scamper!

  • Almanian!||

    That kind of made me laugh out loud at work.

    THANKS A LOT, SACCHARIN MAN!

  • SugarFree||

    And then your workplace settled back into its tomblike quiet, broken only by the occasional desultory farting coming from cubicle 32.

  • ||

    Calm down, Hitler. You think Ron Howard just wished Willow was great? No, and yet it was.

  • Jefferson's Ghost||

    You can't expect everyone to completely get it. I'm appreciative of Greenwald's work. Until a LNN is started up this is the best we will get, indeed.

  • Brandybuck||

    They'll go back to fawning over their masters once they realize they could lose their access to their masters. This has been the unwritten rule for over a century, play by the rules are don't get invited to press briefings.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They should just walk away from "access." The lust for it has damaged the profession more than anything else.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Exactly. If they lose access, that should be a hint that it's time to find some insiders who can get dirt for exposes.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They'll get access, anyway, because there are plenty in government who will leak information for one reason or another. Besides, the Internet.

  • Invisible Finger||

    If a journalist is allowed access it's an indication that the journalist is of more use to the grantor of the access than the journalist is to the consumer of the journalism.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, I mean, look at ESPN.

  • Almanian!||

    +1 TO being interviewed while doing pushups in his driveway

  • Brett L||

    I don't understand. All they have to do is say simply: "No matter what you do, kill a baby, save the world, we will never run your name in our publication again. Period." And make one example. End of fight.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Because they are pussies who love the state, they'll do no such thing, by and large.

  • Brett L||

    Well, yeah. I mean, you don't make managing editor by telling the people your publisher sees at charity events to fuck off. But I can dream, can't I?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It will be interesting if they can resist the urge to go back to humping the leg that is ever poised to kick them.

  • John||

    No shit. There's an old saying about the lack of wisdom in picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel.

    Whatever JD. A few of them will write a few angry words to make themselves feel better and then go right back to shilling for the government and doing everything they can to protect Obama. And Obama knows that. He didn't pick a fight here.

  • Sevo||

    They'll point out that Bush started it, and Obama has to do it 'cause rethuglicans.

  • Finrod||

    Yep. Journalists in general are so far in the tank for Team Blue that they'll find excuses eventually.

  • Paul.||

    So, are journalists getting back into civil liberties? It's so hard to keep up with the fads...

  • ||

    +1 platform shoe

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I am going to publish things on England too. I have many documents on England's spy system. I think they will be sorry for what they did.

    Okay, this is a little over the top. Was he not going to do these things before this event?

  • John||

    The fact that he felt the need to even say that says no he wasn't. I am not sure which is more pathetic, these people or JD trying to pretend they mean anything they say.

  • Paul.||

    They mean it, John. For a while. But they'll take Big Government back... they love Big Government, they can change Big Government... journalists just walked in to a door... they're so clumsy sometimes.

  • Calidissident||

    I don't think Greenwald deserves to get lumped in with the others. And I think it's smart to not play all your cards at once

  • John||

    It is when the government plans to steal your cards. I wish Greenwald would just release everything he has and be done with it.

  • Calidissident||

    "It is when the government plans to steal your cards."

    It's risky either way. Giving up all your leverage is not a no-risk move.

    Or perhaps he's not doing it because Snowden has told him not to

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I wish Greenwald would just release everything he has and be done with it.

    Bad strategy.

    It damages the government much more to release it slowly, especially in a day and age when stupid shit can derail the press from reporting on not stupid shit.

    Plus it allows the government to stake out a position, only to be refuted by a later release of more information. Greenwald is playing the government masterfully. That's why they resorted to minor league intimidation by detaining his partner.

  • fish||

    It damages the government much more to release it slowly, especially in a day and age when stupid shit can derail the press from reporting on not stupid shit.

    +1000

    This "Death by 1000 cuts" strategy is the most effective way. Keeps things in the generally scatterbrained publics head better than any Friday data dump.....after all a Kardashian might do something and it would all be down the memory hole.

    Plus it allows the government to stake out a position, only to be refuted by a later release of more information.

    I wonder if General Alexander feels like going back to Black Hat anytime soon?

  • RG||

    I'm with mlg. My hope is they are slow playing their hand. Letting the politicians and their apologists in the media spin each and every new revelation, then finally playing their strongest card.

  • Paul.||

    Plus it allows the government to stake out a position, only to be refuted by a later release of more information.

    This with a Monkey in a funny hat juggling on it.

  • ||

    I wonder if he worked out a deal with Snowden to hold onto a bunch of stuff as security against Snowden's life.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I am not sure which is more pathetic, these people or JD trying to pretend they mean anything they say.

    Are you trying to suggest that Greenwald is some sort of pretender?

    That's absurd.

  • John||

    No. I am suggesting the journalists who have now decided that the UK went too far here are pretenders. They will be back to defending Obama on this before the week is out.

  • Troglodyte Rex||

    Agreed. 13 weeks ago the journalists were all pissy that Holder was spyingon them. 12 weeks ago they stopped caring.

  • kinnath||

    A legal question. So Snowden downloads tons of data from the NSA and releases it to the public. This makes Snowden a whistleblower right (that is his claim anyway).

    But if Snowden also captures data regarding another countries intelligence operations, does releasing that data to the public make Snowden a spy? In other words, does it affect Snowden's claim of being a whistleblower?

  • John||

    Releasing it at all puts him in violation of the statute. There is no "whistle blower" exception. But releasing it doesn't make him a spy. Espionage is a different statute. To be a spy, you have to do it for the benefit of another country or to damage the US. That is a specific intent crime. That was the crime Manning was acquitted of.

  • kinnath||

    I just wondered if it had any impact on his future defense if the public disclosure were limited to the US intelligence.

  • Paul.||

    Espionage is a different statute. To be a spy, you have to do it for the benefit of another country or to damage the US.

    Both can be argued in Snowden's case.

    The US was damaged because the US was damaged. /US Attorney

    He helped other countries because Al Qaeda benefited or stood to benefit. /US Attorney

  • John||

    You can argue anything. But that doesn't mean a jury or a judge will believe it. Once again, Manning was acquitted of espionage.

  • Steve G||

    My initial thoughts exactly. Not sure 'making it personal' is the right way to go here...

  • Dave Krueger||

    There's been a lot of commentary on this incident by various officials, watch dogs, and journalists. So far I haven't seen any demands that they return his stuff to him or that those who perpetrated this abuse of power be fired and prosecuted.

    So, after all the outrage, no one will be punished and this kind of thing will continue to happen until it becomes an accepted part of life.

    And Bobarian makes a good point: Why is it less of an outrage when this happens to someone who isn't a journalist or the partner of a journalist? And yet we hear about this kind of abuse all the time. Their mistake this time is that they picked on someone with a voice.

  • Paul.||

    This is England. Fired or prosecuted for what?

  • Dave Krueger||

    Oops. I forgot. They don't have any laws against abuse of power in England.

  • Paul.||

    Yeah, I wasn't being snarky, I was honestly curious. For instance, England can actually pass a law against a single person. Like:

    Bernard Wimbly shall not enter the 7-11 on Number 23 North Umbridge lane, A3, North Hampton.

    England has zero due process. At least in this country, we have it, but we ignore it.

  • fish||

    Shit Paul it's Wimbly, Bernard Wimbly!

    If anybody needed an individually tailored restrictive law applied to them it's Bernard Wimbly!

  • Paul.||

    This is why England is the envy of the civilized world.

  • croaker||

    The legal term you're reaching for is "Bill of Attainder". And yes, Parliament can pass a law making a specific individual a felon by name and sentence him to the Tower of London.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    No shit. There's an old saying about the lack of wisdom in picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel. Now that pixels have largely replaced ink, the potential risk in infuriating journalists with crude threats can only be magnified.

    Anyone who believes the pen is inherently mightier than sword should try stabbing themselves in the hand with a pen, then with a sword, and see which draws more blood.

  • Voros McCracken||

    I was very critical of someone once, and then borrowed their shoes. After walking about a mile in the shoes, I still felt that my initial criticisms were accurate, and that my walk really had no bearing on that opinion.

  • Paul.||

    But you had their shoes!

  • Sidd Finch||

    “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”

  • ||

    I never even knew Greenwald was gay.

    Interesting that despite being a progressive liberal, he doesn't make a big deal out of it and doesn't throw it around as being the center of his identity. He's a dude who just happens to be gay.

  • squarooticus||

  • ||

    Sorry, can't watch that at work. Can you give me the summary?

  • SugarFree||

    It's two gay guys going at it while a court reporter sketches the action.

  • ||

    I prefer this explanation and will hold that image in my head.

  • Ted S.||

    You like watching gay guys go at each other?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's George Carlin on the phrases "happens to be" and "openly" in describing minorities.

    The phrase "happens to be black" is mocked, as if were some kind of "accident."

    The term "openly" applies to gays, and rarely to blacks (exceptions duly noted).

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    (add obscenity, stir as needed)

  • ||

    Hmm. When I say "happens to be", I mean somebody doesn't make their group affiliation the end-all be-all of their existence and how they interact with the outside world.

    IOW, they aren't showing off their major in Aggrieved Minority Studies. I mean it as a compliment.

  • ||

    Aggrieved Minority Victimization Studies

  • jesse.in.mb||

    It's George Carlin making fun of the terms "happens to be" and "openly" when talking about minorities.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Detaining Miranda was Busch League level intimidation. It was incredibly stupid, and clearly was thought out by a fucking joke.

  • jesse.in.mb||

    I'd be curious to know whether this was a direct from the top event or if the guy's name was flagged because of his relationship to Greenwald and local agents thought they had a big fish. I'm not sure I'd be surprised by either the malice or the incompetence at this point.

  • np||

    A late update to yesterday's article explains it:

    UPDATE II: According to the New York Times, the targeting of Miranda--while still having nothing whatever to do with terrorism investigations, remember--was not random harassment either. They apparently knew that Miranda had Snowden-related documents on a thumb drive on his person, which they stole, ones that documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras had given him to bring to Greenwald.
  • Brandybuck||

    NYT defending the thugs. What else is new?

  • CE||

    Maybe they figured they didn't have to Mirandize him.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Even John Ashcroft wasn't that fucking stupid, and even Dick Cheney wasn't that fascistic.

  • Steve G||

    Good thing we're getting that definition of journalist worked out. Want to make sure who the combatants are in this war

  • Sevo||

    "Good thing we're getting that definition of journalist worked out. Want to make sure who the combatants are in this war"

    Yeah, when they jam Joe Doaks in the cell, no one bothers to say a word.

  • JW||

    No shit. There's an old saying about the lack of wisdom in picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel.

    That's only true under the presumption that the other side is playing fair and will abide by the rules.

    I wouldn't be too surprised if Greenwald and his partner, woke up in a pool of their own blood, one morning. Hey, it's Brazil, a country notorious for violent crime and organ theft.

  • CE||

    The mask slips a little more, exposing their true nature.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What I saw of Morning Joke featured a simpering love poem to Mayor Bloomberg; no mention of Miranda.

    Good little boys and girls stay on the plantation, wrapped safely in the arms of their betters.

  • Westmiller||

    Good article. EVERY journalist should be totally pissed.
    Greenwald has corrected one mistranslation: he didn't say (in Spanish) that "they will be sorry for what they did," but rather that they will regret this action and the response to it ... from others.

  • ClarkAspen||

    New rule: Whatever you do, never, *ever* retain without charges anyone named Miranda.

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