Terrorism Masquerading as Journalism is Still Terrorism (@Maddow)

Rachel Maddow, during her Greenwald worshiping rant on 8/19/13
Last night, Rachel Maddow used the first part of her show on MSNBC to go on an insane rant about Glenn Greenwald's boyfriend (as well as partner in crime) being detained by the British authorities at London's Heathrow airport. Maddow incessantly bellyached that Britain was abusing its anti-terrorism law to try to stop journalistic activity by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras in reporting on NSA activities - which, if Rachel believes is unconstitutional, she needs a crash course in the fourth amendment - disclosed to them by the American fugitive and Russian guest Edward Snowden. "Journalism is not terrorism," Rachel lamented over and over, in the process chiding the United States for not objecting to Miranda's interrogation despite having advanced knowledge of it.

In addition the hilarious juxtaposition of someone who generally despises the US government telling other countries what to do suddenly getting bent out of shape because the Americans didn't tell Great Britain what to do, in her cult-like worship of Glenn Greenwald, Maddow also decided to patently ignore the essential cornerstone of journalism herself - namely the idea that before going on righteous talk-radio style rants, one ought to wait for all the facts. All the facts about why Miranda may have been detained - that, as I pointed out, his activities of transporting stolen property (US and UK classified documents) may well have been a part of instigation of espionage by his partner and Poitras - and the facts about what terrorism is under UK and US laws.

Maddow said last night that terrorism is a real thing, immediately thereafter proving that she had no idea what that thing was in law. Let me educate Maddow on this, since she doesn't seem to either know or care. Under US law, this is how terrorism is defined - 18 USC § 2331:
(1) the term “international terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping;
Edward Snowden's revelations - and Glenn Greenwald's possible instigation of the revelations, which he himself hinted at, before backpedaling furiously - quite likely have caused danger to American lives as it gave away to terrorists our intelligence sources and methods. That's not all. Greenwald openly threatened the United States, saying that it better hope nothing happens to Snowden, or the things he would reveal would be the "worst nightmare" for the US government. And no one - not even Greenwald, Poitras or Maddow, even claims that these revelations weren't intended to influence the policy of one or more governments (namely the US and UK governments).

Under US law, it isn't even a question as to whether the Snowden leaks are an act of terrorism, and therefore so is its possible instigation under the veil of journalism.

UK laws define terrorism similarly. In the Terrorism Act of 2000, it defines terrorism as:
(1) In this Act "terrorism" means the use or threat of action where:
(a) the action falls within subsection (2),
(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public and
(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
(2) Action falls within this subsection if it:
(a) involves serious violence against a person,
(b) involves serious damage to property,
(c) endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public or
(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
Again, the Snowden leaks may well have endangered lives of intelligence personnel across the globe, made their jobs harder, and aided terrorists to develop a defense against western intelligence operations, and if it does turn out that Greenwald, Poitras and/or The Guardian aided, abetted or instigated those releases, there is little doubt that they too are accessory to terrorism. Greenwald just made a threat to the UK, and one more time, no one even questions whether the release aims to influence government. Greenwald has also made rather clear that he is pushing a libertarian ideological cause aligned with Rand and Ron Paul.

Whether one uses the US definition of terrorism or the UK one, Snowden's actions - and that of any of his possible instigators - fall within both definitions. Mr. Miranda (Greenwald's partner - both in life and in crime), assisting this operation not only can be the target of law enforcement for carrying these stolen documents, one would have to be extremely naive to assume that he wouldn't be. In fact, why wasn't Maddow asking the question as to why Greenwald himself didn't go, instead sending his boyfriend? Would that fact have intruded a little too much in her righteous poutrage?

We do not yet know the precise level of involvement Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and the funder of Mr. Miranda's trip, UK's The Guardian had in Snowden's espionage operations. But there has been more than reasonable indications - from Greenwald's own statements - that they may not have been innocent bystanders in whose lap information was dropped. American and British intelligence may well know more details, and be conducting investigations to learn more. That isn't an attack on journalism (to the extent that blowhards with their own agenda like Greenwald can be called journalists), it is proper due diligence by law enforcement against espionage and terrorism, as defined by the laws of the United Kingdom (as well as the United States).

Terrorism wearing the thin veil of journalism is still terrorism, Ms. Maddow.