There are benign leaks and harmful leaks just as there are real journalists and fake journalists.
The Toronto Star ran this article
on its front page, so obviously it must come from “real” journalists. The article says that
“U.S. intelligence agencies are scrambling to salvage their surveillance of Al Qaeda”.
That’s one hell of a leak, but how is the reporter so certain that it’s true? Quite simply because two anonymous “intelligence officials” said so and their claims were echoed by an anonymous “lawmaker”. They all had to remain anonymous, the reporter says, “because they were not authorized to speak about the intelligence matters publicly.” However the Obama administration has declared war on unauthorized leaks. It has threatened federal employees for just failing to report suspicions
about unauthorized leaks.
Is it not therefore probable that these “unauthorized” leaks were in fact fully authorized government assertions, and the use of anonymity a way to avoid scrutiny and accountability?
Might the intelligence agencies be “scrambling to salvage” illegal snooping that could not, if fully exposed, be defended by invoking “national security”?
Judging by this article, I guess real journalists don’t ask such questions or even attempt to balance their articles by quoting people who do. “Real” journalists learned nothing from the bogus claims about Iraqi WMD that anonymous officials relayed through the media. They also don’t consider how incredibly farfetched it is that Al-Qaeda has only now, years after the assassination of Bin Laden, realized how extensive the US surveillance capabilities are.
Glenn Greenwald, who reported Edward Snowden’s leaks and has recently had his standing as a journalist questioned, has often made the point that the Obama government has no problem at all with leaks that it believes flattering or helpful to itself. The Toronto Star article illustrates his point. Don’t expect these “unauthorized” leakers who were cited by the Star to get investigated and have the book thrown at them. It is only leaks that cause embarrassment that are alleged by Obama to be harmful to “national security” and that provoke his barbaric retaliation. Bradley Manning leaked embarrassing information and has therefore been tortured in broad daylight. Mimicking the world’s worst tyrants, the US denied the UN Special Rapporteur on torture a private and unmonitored meeting with Manning in prison. The brutality of Manning’s treatment is in such flagrant disregard for US and international law that an Obama administration spokesperson, PJ Crowley, resigned
In short, the Obama government violates the law and all its sanctimoniously professed values quite openly. Why would any thinking person believe that it is behaving better in secret, or take any self-serving claim it makes at face value? Read Jeremy Scahill’s “Dirty Wars” for a lengthy, gruesome and still far from exhaustive account of US criminality under Obama. Manning’s case is far from the most serious example.
All of these considerations are simply ignored by “real” journalists who faithfully serve Power. We need more “fake” journalists like Greenwald in Scahill.