Donald Trump

Glenn Greenwald on Wikileaks, Russian Hacking, and Distrusting Legacy Media and U.S. Intel (Reason Podcast)

The co-founder of The Intercept doesn't like Donald Trump but thinks the new president may just wake liberals up to reining in the government.


Senate testimony from James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election hasn't convinced Glenn Greenwald to believe that high-ranking officials in the Putin regime successfully "hacked" the American way of life.

The co-founder (with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras) of the investigative website The Intercept has no love for Putin, but he points out that the U.S. intelligence community has a checkered history at best of getting things right and telling the truth. In the newest Reason podcast, he notes that two of the most recent bombshell stories about Russian "hacks"—one about how Russians flooded the internet with "fake news" to tip the election to Donald Trump and one about Russians supposedly taking over Vermont's electrical grid—have already been thoroughly walked back and discredited.

A staunch opponent of the growth and abuse of presidential power, Greenwald is arguably the most consistent critic of government abuses of civil liberties, regardless of which party holds power. He's also a champion of whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, whose work he was central to making known to the broader public. In 2014, Reason gave Greenwald the Lanny Friedlander Prize, which is given to "an individual or group who has created a publication, medium, or distribution platform that vastly expands human freedom by increasing our ability to express ourselves, engage in debate, and generate new ways of understanding the power of 'Free Minds and Free Markets.'"

Though he identifies with the progressive left on many issues, his criticism of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama along with conservatives and Republicans has earned him enemies on all points of the spectrum. In this conversation with Nick Gillespie, he talks about how the concept of "fake news" obscures far more than it clarifies, explains what he doesn't like about Wikileaks' strategy for unredacted data dumps, and discusses how Obama swelled presidential power during his eight years in office. Greenwald, who spoke with Reason from his home in Brazil, also talked about the problems inherent in the government dictating more and more aspects of the economy and the health care industry, typically in the service of crony capitalism. No fan of Donald Trump and fearful of the power the billionaire president will inherit from his predecessor, Greenwald is nonetheless optimistic that a growing coalition of libertarians, liberals, and conservatives will begin to check the imbalance of power in Washington.

Produced by Ian Keyser.

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  1. So is he iconistic, inconsistent, or consistent as a critic on government abuse of civil liberties?

    1. No wonder this is unsigned.

  2. …Greenwald is arguably the most iconsistent critic of government abuses of civil liberties, regardless of which party holds power.

    Depending on whether that’s missing an n or has a superfluous i, he should either work on that or be praised for it.

    1. Context tells me it’s supposed to be consistent. Not sure where the i came from.
      His pieces do a great job of calling out the Fake News about Fake News.

    2. I say we deem “iconsistent” a word for 2017!

      1. iConsistent is a new Apple product.

        1. And iContinent?

      2. Cromulent to my interests.

    3. You missed this one:

      explains what his doesn’t like about Wikileaks’ strategy for unredacted data dumps

      Did the proofreader get fired?

      1. The proofreader got hacked. Just like the election.

      2. A few years ago. We’re not supposed to talk about it.

  3. If Hitler couldn’t wake up liberals when it comes to excessive government power, I doubt they’ll have any trouble sleeping through Trump’s term

    1. I want to disagree with this… but…

    2. “I doubt they’ll have any trouble sleeping through Trump’s term”

      I’m sure we’ll see even more marches and riots than during the Bush years, all decrying government power and overreach… Right up until the next dem gets elected.

  4. The co-founder of The Intercept doesn’t like Donald Trump but thinks the new president may just wake liberals up to reining in the government.

    If he can find a silver lining to Trump’s victory, then he is unquestionably a Donald Trump supporter.

    1. If he thinks the world is not going to end because Trump won the election, he is unquestionably a Donald Trump supporter.

      (*please add more variations of this below)

      1. If he is not praying for a coup, he is unquestionably a Donald Trump supporter.

      2. If he has positive things to say about Julian Assange, he is unquestionably a Donald Trump supporter.

      3. If he is not fantasizing about a war between the Red States (allied with Russia, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, ISIS, and al-Qaida) and the Blue States (allied with Canada, Australia, and Europe), he is unquestionably a Donald Trump supporter.

        1. If he thinks “Pussy Grabbing” is funny to even talk about, he is most definitely a Trump supporter

      4. If he doesn’t add a comment about Trump that gets subpoenaed by the FBI, he’s clearly a Trump supported.

    2. The left is never interested in reigning in govt power. They are interested in reigning in the opposition and having unlimited power for themselves. Yeah, they are gonna bitch about DT, the same people that wanted Obama appointed emperor for life.

      1. I think the left is always interested in reigning in govt power. Though rarely in reining it in.

      2. “the same people that wanted Obama appointed emperor for life.”

        And these are also the same people who opined that the PATRIOT Act and other post-9/11 nonsense measures were just part of George W. Bush’s plan to install himself as dictator for life.

        But when Obama swoops into office and promptly expands, renews, or at least ignores these abuses of power, his supporters are dead silent.

  5. I was just linking to Greenwald in the PM links.

    He’s pretty much the only person out there consistently calling BS on the whole Russia narrative. I look forward to his dismantling the latest “intelligence report”, which includes exactly zero evidence in its piles of claims.

    1. the 13 page report? “Exactly zero” is being too generous.

      1. they alluded to the same events mentioned in the prior FBI report…. which itself contained very little evidence, and that evidence actually contradicted their headline assessments….

        e.g. they suggested the Russian “hacking” (phishing isn’t hacking) was targeted… and targeted at ‘the election’ as well….

        ….but then cited a email phishing campaign which to 1,000 people which included a wide variety of disparate targets, some governmental, some in the private sector, some individuals, some NGOs, and only a few members of the DNC.

        Additionally, the timings of those 2 phishing campaigns BOTH occurred at points before the primaries had even been completed.

        Its hard to insist that these efforts were sincere efforts at “undermining an election” when they weren’t even remotely sure who was going to be IN that election, or what the prospects of either’s chances for victory were.

        1. Phising is just a sub-category of social engineering, and as such it’s perfectly valid to describe as ‘hacking’ since it is an intrusion vector.

          I think the more important point is that the ‘hacked election’ rhetoric is designed to obfuscate the fact that the allegation is that hackers actually informed American votes of true emails showing Hillary & the DNC colluded to disenfranchise voters of their own party and subvert the democratic process.

          In other words, there IS proof of a ‘stolen’ election, but it was the Democratic primary and we have the hackers to thank for bringing it to light.

      2. The report’s only 13 pages? In most government reports I’ve seen 13 pages is just the front matter (title page, table of contents/ tables/ figures, etc.). So yeah, “exactly zero” is probably very generous.

        1. Meh, the latest one is longer… however the first eleventy thousand pages describe what Mr. Clapper was thinking while he stared longingly out the window in his Langley office.

    2. I agree. The whole affair smelled fishy from the start. Whoever was behind the “Russia” hack scheme also tried to hack the RNC and failed. The DNC didn’t bother to protect their stuff; considering HRC’s attitude toward security why would it? It was immediately reported that Podesta was the weak link in the DNC’s Blue Wall. Totally humiliated he had to make a mountain out of a mole hill hoping he to turn a crisis to his advantage to save face. It would not surprise me if the DNC hack was an inside job. Their are a lot of people in government who who pursue private games for private interests, their own.

  6. Why do journalists– and I’m hearing veteran, experience journalists use this term– keep saying “the election was hacked”?

    1. Because spreading the idea that the vote-count was undermined by a foreign government makes people pay attention to their dwindling influence, and serves to distract people from how unbelievably bad their coverage of that election was?

      1. And it seems to be working. Some poll by The Economist showed ~50% of HRC voters believed Russians hacked and altered the vote tallies.

        1. The same people, no doubt, that think Sadam Hussein attacked us on 9-11.

          1. That’s ridiculous, clearly that was the other 50%.

    2. For some, I’m sure, it’s just the only way they can wrap their pretty little heads around the election’s outcome. For the more calculated, it’s an attempt to delegitimate the incoming republican majority and preempt any ‘mandate’ rhetoric that might be used to drive policies like repeal of obamacare.

  7. Posted in a dead thread earlier, reposting now.

    Sleet and snow here. Hunkering down with a fire, a pot of cowboy stew and vodka. I don’t plan on going anywhere until tuesday.

    Cowboy stew (the chop suey of chili ):

    One medium onion, one medium bell pepper (four lobed bells are sweeter than three in case you didn’t know) chopped finely.

    One pound of ground beef browned and drained.

    Combine and cook over medium heat until onions are clear and the bell pepper is soft.

    Mix in garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and paprika until meat is strongly spiced.

    Add in one can of whole kernel corn, one can of unseasoned black beans, two cans of diced tomatoes (if you like spicy add rotel tomatoes), and two cups of beef broth (or two cubes of beef bouillon) 1/2 cup of red wine and a tablespoon of sugar (or splenda)

    Stir in clamato juice until the consistency is that of a thick soup. Add one half capful of zataran’s liquid crab boil (a wonderful addition to anything with beans, chili, spaghetti sauce or anything with tomatoes really)

    Cook over a low boil for an hour, stir occasionally. Serve in a bowl over corn chips and sprinkle generous amounts of sharp cheddar over the top. Guaranteed to keep you warm on a cold day. Try not to over-eat, I dare you.

    1. 1/2 cup of red wine

      Well la-dee-da, cowboy!

      I probably should’ve planned to make chili this weekend (not that I’ll be snowed in, but it is below freezing the next few days), but I’ve got about a quart of turkey stock made from Christmas leftovers, so some kind of turkey soup or stew is on the menu anyway.

      1. Turkey…ok, white wine. And a little sugar. You cant miss with that. If you have turkey meat left over put that in with the stock, one two-cup bag of seasoning mix (onion, bell pepper, celery) and some egg noodles. Simple, fast, delicious.

        When you pour the wine in make sure you point your pinky finger just so.

        1. What if you’re a real cowboy and all you have on hand is whiskey?

          1. Whip up the recipe as stated while you toss the whiskey out of a shot glass.

      1. Thank you, but no worries. I have two weeks worth of canned food, toilet paper, firewood, propane, and a fancy propane stove. And vodka. Down here it is either hurricanes or ice storms. In either case I am prepared.

    2. Sugar? Corn? Clamato juice? The rest is OK, though.

  8. If Hitler couldn’t wake up liberals when it comes to excessive government power

    They have no meaningful objection to the whip; merely the hand which holds it.

    1. “They have no meaningful objection to the whip; merely the hand which holds it.”


      This is why I come here. I am stealing that.

  9. may just wake liberals up to reining in the government.

    I lol’d.

    The left’s biggest fear is that Trump will shrink the rate of growth of government.

  10. I wonder how Facebook looks…

  11. Poor Greenwald has had the left go haywire on him for criticizing the prevailing Russian narrative. Snowden being in Russia gives them all the evidence they need to say he’s a Russian agent, nevermind how much sense he makes

  12. In Soviet Russia, Emails hack you.

  13. “Greenwald is arguably the most consistent critic of government abuses of civil liberties, regardless of which party holds power.”

    Except for United Russia, of course.

  14. Putin’s influence was minimal. Hillary did herself in by not keeping secure communications and Comey put the nails in the coffin with his off the cuff announcement about his Wiener investigations and finding “more emails”

    1. Why not just take the social justice warriors’ word for it?
      how big is the universe

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