As we’ve seen time and time again, government officials try to discount evidence leaked by Edward Snowden. They claim that journalists – or we, the people – do not fully understand what we’re looking at. To which I say, “uh huh.”
Glenn Greenwald has written a detailed response to some recent denials by the government that I recommend you read, as it’s as much a condemnation of gullible journalists as those who lie to us. He begins his post thusly:
SA Director Gen. Keith Alexander asserted yesterday that two “Boundless Informant” slides we published – one in Le Monde and the other in El Mundo – were misunderstood and misinterpreted. The NSA then dispatched various officials tothe Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post to make the same claim, and were (needless to say) given anonymity by those papers to spout off without accountability. Several US journalists (also needless to say) instantly treated the NSA’s claims as gospel even though they (a) are accompanied by no evidence, (b) come in the middle of a major scandal for the agency at home and abroad and (c) are from officials with a history of lying to Congress and the media.
That is the deeply authoritarian and government-subservient strain of American political and media culture personified: if a US national security official says something, then it shall mindlessly be deemed tantamount to truth, with no evidence required and without regard to how much those officials have misled in the past. EFF’s Trevor Timm last night summarizedthis bizarre mentality as follows: “Oh, NSA says a story about them is wrong? Well, that settles that! Thankfully, they never lie, obfuscate, mislead, misdirect, or misinform!”
Over the last five months, Laura Poitras and I have published dozens and dozens of articles reporting on NSA documents around the world: with newspapers and a team of editors and other reporters in the US, UK, Germany, Brazil, India, France and Spain. Not a single one of those articles bears even a trivial correction, let alone a substantive one, because we have been meticulous in the reporting, worked on every article with teams of highly experienced editors and reporters, and, most importantly, have published the evidence in the form of NSA documents that prove the reporting true.
Read the rest of the post with more detailed responses here.