Is Glenn Greenwald Cashing In?

by lizard

Two months ago I wrote about Adversarial Journalism in the Age of the Oligarchs. At the time I was merely uncomfortable with Glenn Greenwald’s new quarter-billion dollar relationship with eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar. Greenwald was such a nicely cultivated commodity for a person with my political leanings that I was hesitant to see the utility of the whole Snowden affair for those in power.

There are some pretty serious concerns being raised about that relationship by Sibel Edmonds. It appears the billionaire benefactor may be implicated by the documents he now has a direct financial stake in controlling. This is really bad:

The 50,000-pages of documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden contain extensive documentation of PayPal Corporation’s partnership and cooperation with the National Security Agency (NSA), according to three NSA veterans. To date, no information has been released as to the extent of the working relationship and cooperation between the two entities- NSA and PayPal Corporation. What’s more, the billionaire owner of PayPal Corporation has entered into a $250 Million business partnership with two journalists-Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, a journalist duo who possess the entire cache of evidence provided by Edward Snowden. Despite earlier pledges by the journalists in question, only one percent (1%) of Snowden’s documents has been released.

Among other accusations, Greenwald is being accused of monetizing secrets. There are book deals and Hollywood movies, we are told. Sibel Edmonds muddies her own assertions with disparaging personal attacks in her post titled Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidders:

Imagine a major government whistleblower who leaks his evidence and obtained documents to the highest bidders in the mainstream media and mega corporations. Does that sound awful, disgraceful and despicable? Okay. Now, imagine a pseudo journalist who obtains over 50,000 documents from a government whistleblower, and then takes some of this information and puts it out for bid, reserves a certain portion for a lucrative book deal, and saves the rest for a mega corporation that has a record of screwing whistleblowers. How does that sound? This is what I mean by the title of this commentary: Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidders.

It’s ugly, and there’s no telling who is truly playing what angle. My gut feeling is Edmonds is more or less accurate, and Greenwald is, to some degree, compromised. Edward Snowden, who knows. Double agent, triple agent, limited hangout, blah blah blah.

A few years ago I thought an incident in Pakistan where an American by the name of Raymond Davis shot and killed two motorcyclists was a big deal. I was naive. An American President lying about the status of some intelligence asset caught up in a messy situation abroad is barely noteworthy, just fodder for some obsessed blogger to self-reference.

The reason I was naive is because lying is no big deal.  When it eventually dribbles out, no one will care. Take, for example, the 7 year imprisonment of Robert Levinson by Iran:

Revelations that the CIA made a $2.5-million cash settlement to CIA agent Robert Levinson’s family in order to forestall an embarrassing lawsuit marks the return of public claims about the CIA’s status as a rogue elephant.

When Robert Levinson was first kidnapped in Iran seven years ago, the CIA asserted that he had no ties to the agency, that he was merely a private citizen on a business trip. A leaked internal CIA paper trail showed otherwise. In 2010, the Associated Press learned that Levinson was, in fact, on a CIA mission when captured, but the AP withheld publication as efforts were made to secure his release.

Now, with news of the CIA’s $2.5-million settlement with Levinson’s family, the CIA publicly admits Robert Levinson was a CIA agent, but the agency claims he was in Iran as a rogue agent, sent by rogue analysts who had no authority to deploy him on a field operation. But these claims are difficult to evaluate.

The article that excerpt is taken from goes on to challenge the notion of agents going rogue. The historical context is interesting:

The roots of claims that the CIA is fundamentally a rogue agency can be traced back to the mid-1970s congressional investigations of CIA illegal activities–following the disclosure of the “Family Jewells Report.” Perhaps the most significant difference between the Senate’s Church Committee findings, and those of the

House’s Pike Committee, was the Church Committee’s interpretation of illegal CIA activities as being those of a rogue agency, while the Pike Committee found that the CIA was not a rogue agency pursing an unchecked covert agenda on its own, it was instead a covert arm of the Executive Branch.

At the time, I didn’t understand why America’s executive would put his credibility on the line for some op in Pakistan going bad. Maybe it was an acknowledgment of accountability.

At the end of the day, who really has time for all this? Who cares if the CIA has become a paramilitary arm of the Executive? Who cares if Glenn Greenwald is, at best, an opportunist cashing in on Snowden’s proof we live in a creepy 1984 police state?


  1. Craig Moore

    Greed and corruption are like a cancer that doesn’t care what the ideology and politics of its host are. Cancer in people only thrives where it has a nourishing environment and a receptive host.

    Today in the UK, the Brits are finding out about “noble cause corruption” financed on the backs of the people. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2523726/Web-green-politicians-tycoons-power-brokers-help-benefit-billions-raised-bills.html#ixzz2nV84KSiQ

    Greenwald et al. are people first and afflicted with human weakness. They are not gods. Everything with a grain of salt.

    • lizard19

      Sibel Edmonds’ site is called Boiling Frogs Post, taken from the notion that you can boil a frog without it realizing its being cooked as long as the increase in temperature is gradual.

      it’s possible the evil bastards running our security state think they have us at the point where disclosure aids their efforts to control us.

  2. Greenwald, Scahill, etc., part of the plot? Sound like Alex Jones/Infowars ravings. I’d like to see some evidence to support the speculation.

    • lizard19

      if you are familiar with Sibel Edmonds, then you know she is nothing like Alex Jones. read her posts, if you haven’t already, then tell me her concerns aren’t valid.

      • I think she’s gone way overboard with her criticisms.

        All three journalists are a model of integrity: Scahill, Greenwald and Poitras. They have caught holy hell from our government and others for their tenacity and courage.

        The notion that Omidyar would spend a quarter of a billion bucks to keep the already fugitive cat in the bag (the revelations of succumbing to the government threats about Wikipedia and contacts, shared by many other Internet media and businesses), and would pick three of the toughest journalists to do the hiding, after the horse is long out of the barn, seems like a paranoid delusion to me.

        I have a great deal of respect for Edmunds, but nobody’s perfect. She listed a long series of questions that she demanded that Snowden answer. If I were him and wanted to spend a moment doing so, I’d tell her to kiss my ass.

        I’ve left a note essentially to that effect on her blog.

  3. If Snowden didn’t do what he did none of us would know and the government would be unchecked in their ability to tap into whatever they want, spreading the right to privacy so thin I think it would break.

    How much security do we need, and how much freedom are we willing to give up to get it? You can be 100% secure, but you’ll have no freedom. Read some stories on those guys that live in a supermax 23 hours a day. You can have 0% security which I guess means you’re living in the woods in winter with damn close to nothing.

    Is that guy stuck in Iran since 2006 making us anymore secure? Jeez, that was a rogue operation, probably run out of some room like Jason Bourne 4. I don’t know, it only takes a quick stroll through an airport to see how afraid Americans are.

    Or aren’t they, but the government just wants them to feel afraid? After all, insecurity, or at least a false sense of it, breeds in people a feeling that they need to be protected.

    A common saying in China was “mei banfa,” nothing can be done.

  4. I agree, 100%!

    Happy New Year!

  1. 1 Chris Hedges in Missoula | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] of the Q&A, but a friend told me Hedges talked about being good friends with Greenwald, someone I’ve grown suspicious of because of the kind of corrupting cash that can transform even the most stalwart critic of the US […]

  2. 2 A Tale of Two Departures | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] faction is a billionaire bankrolling “adversarial journalism” is something I was immediately weary of regarding First Look Media and The […]

  3. 3 We Keep Writing… | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] goes to an Intercept piece by Glenn Greenwald. On December 15th, 2013, I wrote a post titled Is Glenn Greenwald Cashing In? I went looking for that post after reading Pando Daily’s latest report on how a […]




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Angry vet 88 on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Washing Ton on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Angry vet 88 on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Angry vet 88 on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Breakdown Assistance on A visit from a Montana Na…
    Even more ICYMI camp… on The Montana Republican Party B…
    Jon Tester’s G… on Senator Tester Backs Wall Stre…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,640,473 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,734 other followers

  • December 2013
    S M T W T F S
    « Nov   Jan »
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • Categories


%d bloggers like this: