On his MSNBC show last night, Chris Hayes committed journalistic fraud. In a segment titled "Drones, metadata, and "Dirty Wars," Hayes interviewed Jeremy Scahill, the author of an article in a new online magazine called "The Intercept" that purported to outline NSA's use of cell phone metadata to perform targeted drone strikes. While the source of Scahill's article remains anonymous, in the segment, Hayes and Scahill used propaganda tactics that would make Roger Ailes blush.
If the names sound familiar, it is because Greenwald and Poitras are the primary conduits through which the fugitive Edward Snowden has conducted his indiscriminatory dump of sensitive documents and his dumping on the American legal system. Interestingly, Greenwald, Poitras, Scahill and Snowden are all on the Board of a Snowden front-group "Freedom of the Press Foundation" - whose sole job seems to be to protect Edward Snowden and attack the US government and not breathe a word about the fact that their darling is hiding out in a country with a despicable record on the very freedom they are pretending to fight for.
One problem, he explains, is that targets are increasingly aware of the NSA’s reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic. Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system. Others, unaware that their mobile phone is being targeted, lend their phone, with the SIM card in it, to friends, children, spouses and family members.So... umm, just how did these Taliban leaders find out about NSA's methods? How did the targets find out that the NSA was using metadata? Oh, right. Someone leaked and someone published a gazillion documents on the metadata program as well as other NSA programs targeting terrorists. The leaker is Edward Snowden, and the publisher? Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.
Some top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA’s targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers. “They would do things like go to meetings, take all their SIM cards out, put them in a bag, mix them up, and everybody gets a different SIM card when they leave,” the former drone operator says. “That’s how they confuse us.”
The conclusion could not be clearer. If innocent people are dying because of NSA's targeted drone strikes, they are dying partly because Glenn Greenwald and Ed Snowden gave America's enemies the sources and methods of America's intelligence operations. To the extent that, as Scahill and Greenwald's own source says, terrorists' knowledge of NSA's operations have helped them and hurt innocent people, the blood of those innocent people is on the hands of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald may claim that he's only a reporter, but Snowden is now even more clearly guilty of aiding and abetting America's enemies. That is, to the extent that Scahill and Greenwald stands by their reporting, of course.
Since the very inception of the Snowden leaks, Obama administration officials have insisted exactly this: that revealing NSA's methods in this way would let terrorists escape attacks from the United States, and make it more difficult to kill or capture them. Matthew Olsen, the Director of Counterterrorism Center in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence outlined exactly this threat in his testimony to Congress back in November of 2013:
"There is no doubt that those disclosures have made our job harder. We've seen that terrorists or adversaries are seeking to learn about the ways that we collect intelligence and seeking to adapt and change the ways that they communicate," he told a congressional hearing on Thursday.Congratulations to Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill for confirming that exact point.
I suppose it is no surprise that Chris Hayes and Jeremy Scahill would want to bury the lead (actually, they just eliminated it) in favor of their intergalactic crush Ed Snowden. But for the longest time, Snowden's supporters have berated those who oppose his callous actions by saying that no evidence exists that his revelations either hurt the United States, helped its enemies, or hurt innocent people. Now, however, that evidence is presented by their own hero figures, though inadvertently.
Does this have implications for the NSA? Of course. However the terrorists found out about our tactics, we have a responsibility to protect innocent lives by changing those tactics once they are found out. Fortunately, that is exactly what the intelligence operations are doing, though having a hard time of it.
Though Scahill and Greenwald tried to bury the section explaining just why NSA's methods may be less effective and hoped that no one notices the absolutely stunning implication it has for Snowden's actions, some of us still possess active reading and critical thinking skills. For us, what Edward Snowden has done to harm the interests of the United States, help its enemies, and as is now clear, thereby putting more innocent lives at risk is not heroic. It is self-serving and and careless at best, and treasonous at worst. That he still hides out in Russia is not evidence of his sacrifice but his cowardice.
And that media personalities claiming to be progressive and reporters claiming to give us "just the facts" continue to shield his crimes means only one thing: that they too are participating in Snowden's assistance of America's enemies and in the increased casualty of the innocent to the extent it is caused by the terrorists' knowledge of our sources and methods.