Greenwald goads NSA over ‘staged leaks’

April 2, 2014 in News by The Manimal

Source: RT

Reeling from the leak of classified data, NSA officials have anticipated future leaks by sometimes announcing them to the media preemptively, a minimization tactic according to one of the journalists still holding the intel agency’s documents.

Glenn Greenwald, formerly of The Guardian and now of First Look  Media, penned a column Monday criticizing both US National  Security Agency brass and what he sees as complicit reporters for  their role in repeating unverified claims about the intelligence  agency.

The outspoken columnist ripped outgoing NSA Director General  Keith Alexander, who will be replaced at the top of the agency  soon, for trying to prey on the public’s emotions.

Alexander, for example, recently told Fox News’ Bret Baier that former NSA  whistleblower Edward Snowden knowingly put American lives at risk  by making secret documents available to the press. Alexander said  that was his “greatest concern” before being asked if the  documents that still have yet to be published are dangerous.

Yes, especially to our military operations and those who are  serving overseas…I think this will haunt him for the rest of his  life,” Alexander said of Snowden. “Here’s a young guy  who made some huge mistakes.”

Greenwald said that such public comments from an official who,  until the leaks were published last year rarely spoke to the  media, should be interpreted as a kind of warning.

The NSA engages in this fear-mongering not only publicly but  also privately,” he wrote Monday. “As part of its  efforts to persuade news organizations not to publish newsworthy  stories from Snowden materials, its representatives constantly  say the same thing: If you publish what we’re doing, it will  endanger lives, including NSA personnel, by making people angry  about what we’re doing in their countries and want to attack  us.”

Yet the NSA seems to change its stance when the agency is trying  to gain something for its own benefit. Greenwald cited a Los Angeles Times interview with John “Chris”   Inglis (until only recently the most powerful civilian in the  NSA) in which he revealed that the NSA is now “able to collect,  sort, and make available every Iraqi email, text message and  phone-location signal in real time.”

That revelation came just over a week after the Washington Post gave readers some insight  into the NSA’s MYSTIC program, an until-now secret project giving  intelligence analysts “comprehensive metadata access and  content” across entire countries. That Barton Gellman report  went on to say the NSA “has built a surveillance system  capable of recording ‘100 percent’ of a foreign country’s  telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review  conversations as long as a month after they take place.”

The notion that Chris Inglis is not the subject of an  investigation for revealing classified information, according to  Greenwald, is evidence of a deep-seated contradiction.

What is so extraordinary is that the NSA – at exactly the  same time it is telling news organizations that disclosing its  collect-it-all activities will endanger its personnel – runs to  its favorite LA Times reporters and does exactly that, for no  reason other than to make itself look good and to justify these  activities,” he wrote.

This demonstrates how brazenly the NSA manipulates and  exploits the consultation process in which media outlets are  forced (mostly by legal considerations) to engage prior to  publication of Top Secret documents: They’ll claim with no  evidence that a story they don’t want published will ‘endanger  lives,’ but then go and disclose something even more sensitive if  they think doing so will score them a propaganda coup.