Peter King is a Fool, But Is There A Real Case for Prosecuting Glenn Greenwald?

Last week, known "Muslim/terrorist under every bed" Congressman Peter King went on Fox News and called for the prosecution of known  racist anti-semites like Glenn Greenwald for threatening to publish classified intelligence sources and methods (including human assets). Generally, I'd let the two bigots beat each other up in a parking lot, but I must object to Mr. King. No, Congressman, Glenn Greenwald cannot be prosecuted for threatening to publish even those highly classified and important intelligence assets. The Constitution's protection for the act of publishing (freedom of the press) is absolute.

Don't get too giddy, Glenn. Peter King is a bumbling fool and an idiot for suggesting that you be prosecuted for publishing or threatening to publish something, but because he is such a bumbling fool, he did not realize a much more straight line for the long arm of the law to reach you and hall your ass to jail: conspiracy to release classified information.

Journalists, in their professional act of publishing, are absolutely protected by the First Amendment. If someone comes to them with the info and they publish it, there isn't a thing you can do to the publisher. But if the publisher conspires with their source to get that information - in other words, if they plan the stealing and divulginh on purpose and direct their sources rather than having the information dropped in their laps, that is a criminal act. And there are no First amendment protections against being prosecuted for that. This is when you go from being a journalist/publisher to a thief.

Obviously, I am not a prosecutor, or have access to intelligence investigations. I cannot say for certain if Greenwald is in fact such a conspirator. But, let's look at the specific case, the history of his employer, and see where we might end up.

There is at least one connection between Glenn Greenwald and the leaker, Edward Snowden that is not related to this story (or is it?). Greenwald and his source Edward Snowden are connected by more than their agenda to create the appearance of a 'scandal' from perfectly legal activity under a judicial order. They are connected at their bottom-feeder hips: through the Ron Paul ... err... "movement."

I have previously discussed Greenwald's connection to, and defense of, Ron Paul and libertarian crazy sauce. And today, we find out this: Mr. Snowden and Mr. Greenwald birds of the Ron Paul tar and feather. Snowden donated $500 to the latest Ron Paul presidential campaign. From Open Secrets:

I have not written much over the past couple of weeks, but I have been watching the developments - developments especially concerning the media, surveillance, and the NSA. I think it has been well said on here by others that there is no "scandal" brewing when everything the government has done is squarely within the law. Because there is no legal impropriety, no illegal activity, there is no question of corruption. Therefore, the "leaker" - try as he might - cannot possibly fit the definition of a whistleblower. Whistleblowers expose government corruption and illegal activity. Those who expose legitimate, legal, court-authorized surveillance are something entirely different: they are traitors.

We also now know that Glenn Greenwald's psychobabble in The Guardian - that thing he calls "reporting" - is meant to create fear and scare people, not to even reveal the truth. In fact, according to technology site CNET's investigative reporting based on people who are actually familiar with the PRISM program - the supposedly scary program for internet data gathering,
The legal process ... is akin to how law enforcement requests information in criminal investigations: the government delivers an order to obtain account details about someone who's specifically identified as a non-U.S. individual, with a specific finding that they're involved in an activity related to international terrorism. Both the contents of communications and metadata, such as information about who's talking to whom, can be requested.
And with respect to data gathering on the phone calls, no personally identifiable information is ever gathered without a warrant from a judge. Period.

This isn't something The Guardian or Glenn Greenwald, for that matter, couldn't have found out. In fact, they should have found this out. This is why journalistic ethics dictate that no news story can be considered an "expose" without validation from several (but at least two) sources. Glenn Greenwald did not do that. Why not? We can never know for sure, but something tells me he feared the record being set straight by others with intimate knowledge of the program, and the sensationalism of a 29-year-old hot-blooded hero telling the story of a surveillance state being lost. Something tells me that Greenwald feared that the truth would interfere with his agenda.

Which brings us back to the case about conspiracy. Why didn't Glenn Greenwald and his colleagues try to find other sources to verify what he was about to report? Why did they ignore journalistic rules to publish something that would be such an important story? Could it be because Greenwald and his source weren't exactly complete strangers at the time Greenwald came into the possession of the documents his source divulged?

In fact, that charge is something Greenwald knows a thing or two about and has already defended other "journalists" (ahem, Fox News, ahem) who may have committed a similar offense. Could it be because he knew he was doing the same thing?

But when it rains... guess who is defending and standing by Mr. Snowden? Oh yes, you guessed, it. It's Julian Assange of WikiLeaks - himself a fugitive from justice, for whom no bigger apologist exists than Mr. Greenwald. Is it too early to recall the proverb birds of a feather, flock together? Glenn Greenwald's employer, UK's The Guardian, is of course no stranger either to WikiLeaks or to going fishing for stories of criminal leaks of classified information made to look like heroic acts. They are in fact on record that The Guardian went to WikiLeaks for the information released by them. Good to know the Guardian is already openly trading that line between journalism and stealing.

The Guardian. Glenn Greenwald. Edward Snowden. Julian Assange. WikiLeaks. Hmm. Makes you think, doesn't it?

As I said at the outset, Greenwald cannot be prosecuted because he can simply claim journalistic freedom - without carrying out any of the ethical obligations of a journalist - unless the government can prove a conspiracy between Snowden and Greenwald to leak classified information. This is purely my conjecture, but perhaps that is one reason why Snowden is fleeing justice - the Paulite brothers in arm may think that Snowden will crack under pressure, and if there is a conspiracy, it will be exposed, and the government will have the evidence to prosecute Greenwald. But Glenn knows, as well as anyone, that without Snowden facing the music at home, the government cannot gather such evidence. Could it be why he and his buddy Assange are trying to arrange for asylum for Mr. Snowden?

I don't know. I don't know if Glenn Greenwald conspired with Mr. Snowden to get the story. Neither do you. But as an expert in crying wolf, I'm sure Glenn Greenwald would understand why one would wonder. (How does your own medicine feel, Glenn?).

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