Wow, Greenwald is Dishonest

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As I mentioned in a recent post, Glenn Greenwald, sworn sword of Edward Snowden, was being dishonest when he said it was wrong for people to criticize Snowden for claiming "I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email." Snowden had no such authority, and people saying he was wrong were correct. He may have had capability, but not authority.

In a new article, Greenwald cites that quote, and then writes:

US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden's assertion: "He's lying. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do." ... But XKeyscore provides the technological capability, if not the legal authority, to target even US persons for extensive electronic surveillance without a warrant provided that some identifying information, such as their email or IP address, is known to the analyst.

There's just one problem: when Greenwald quoted Snowden, he left out the words "certainly had the authority to," which were at the heart of many of the criticisms of that statement. Greenwald's rendering is: "I, sitting at my desk," said Snowden, could "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email".

But many of the politicians and intelligence officials explicitly said that the program was not a problem because Snowden and anyone else did not have any such authority. So Greenwald excises the part where Snowden says he had the authority, actually changing the common understanding of what Snowden said by making it a statement of capability rather than of legal authority, and then criticizes people as liars for saying Snowden was wrong, while at the same time admitting Snowden's words (if not his meaning) was wrong.

Again: I am not defending the NSA or politicians here who lie about the program. But Greenwald does his liege lord no favors by dishonestly misrepresenting his words in order to make criticisms against him look much less reasonable.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

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