Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Insider View of First Look- the Billionaire Omidyar’s Intercept

Peter B. Collins Presents Journalist Ken Silverstein

After 14 months at billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s media startup, First Look, Ken Silverstein bailed out, pulling the ripcord at the end of February. Admittedly disgruntled and angry, Silverstein offers a stark, insider’s perspective, describing Omidyar as a “pathetic clown” who did not interfere in the journalism because “he’s not smart enough”. Promised the resources and freedom to practice “fearless journalism”, Silverstein reveals micromanaging over bar receipts by the billionaire, and massive dysfunction that prevented his stories from being published. Taking swipes at former colleagues Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, Silverstein also slams Pando for its reporting on his departure, and gets pretty testy when asked if he should’ve researched Omidyar before he went to work for him.

*Ken Silverstein founded Counterpunch, and reported for the Los Angeles Times and Harper’s. His most recent book is The Secret World of Oil. You can read his recent article @ Politico.

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De-Manufacturing Consent- The Adversarial Billionaire, Media Consolidation & False Idols

Guillermo Jimenez Presents Mark Mondalek

On this edition of De-Manufacturing Consent: Guillermo is joined by Detroit-area writer and BFP contributing author, Mark Mondalek. We discuss Mark's latest article on BFP, titled "And an Oligarch Shall Lead Them: Omidyar, Greenwald & First Look Media’s Attack on the Future of the Press." We consider various issues throughout our conversation, including the shifting media landscape; First Look's consolidation of "independent voices"; the lack of criticism directed at Pierre Omidyar over his connections to the national security apparatus, the White House, and USAID; Edward Snowden and the "hero vs. traitor" false dichotomy; and much more.

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BFP Exclusive: And an Oligarch Shall Lead Them: Omidyar, Greenwald & First Look Media’s Attack on the Future of the Press

“Now, if you want to take the position that people should not work at organizations funded by oligarchs, or that journalism is inherently corrupted if funded by rich people with bad political views…” Glenn Greenwald

The long-term mission of the news blog The Intercept, launched in February 2014 by First Look Media—the recently developed news organization created and entirely funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to the tune of $250 million—is “to produce fearless, adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues.” However, the vital basis behind its creation really lies in its short-term mission, which is “to provide a platform to report on the documents previously provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.”

That’s because two of the website’s three founding editors—former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras—are the only two people that are known to possess the entire cache of what Snowden stole from the National Security Agency’s networks, estimated to be anywhere in the range of 58,000 to 1.7 million documents, and possibly more.

The third founding editor, war correspondent and Dirty Wars author Jeremy Scahill, is a fitting example of the types of professionals that First Look Media has actively pursued: independent-minded journalists with a history, be it perceived or real, of conducting adversarial, investigative reportage against the most powerful governmental and corporate bodies. 

This, all under the direct financial backing of Omidyar, The Intercept’s publisher, whose personal fortune is worth $8.2 billion (according to the most recent Forbes estimate).

The Deciders

In a December interview with The Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman (with whom he additionally leaked selected documents to), Snowden said that he wanted to give society “a chance to determine if it should change itself,” and that all he wanted was “for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed.”

Such an opportunity was never actually afforded to the public directly, however. This noble task was instead entrusted to only a select group of journalists. According to Greenwald, Snowden “carefully selected which documents he thought should be disclosed and concealed, then gave them to a newspaper with a team of editors and journalists and repeatedly insisted that journalistic judgments be exercised about which of those documents should be published in the public interest and which should be withheld.”

It is his “agreement” with his “source” that has become something of a faux-journalistic maxim for Greenwald to vigilantly cite ad nauseam.

As he wrote in January via his personal blog:

Anyone who demands that we "release all documents" - or even release large numbers in bulk - is demanding that we violate our agreement with our source, disregard the framework we created when he gave us the documents, jeopardize his interests in multiple ways, and subject him to far greater legal (and other) dangers. I find that demand to be unconscionable, and we will never, ever violate our agreement with him no matter how many people want us to.

Current calculations made by Cryptome read as follows:

Rate of release over 6 months, 132.8 pages per month, equals 436 months to release 58,000, or 36.3 years. Thus the period of release has decreased in the past month from 42 years.

That means that, judging by the current release rate, it will be another 36 years before the full scope of the NSA’s massive surveillance apparatus is actually revealed to the public.

To help provide context to what appears to be a dubious conflation of journalistic ethics and legalities, I sought the opinion of civil rights attorney Stanley L. Cohen, whose penchant for defending activists spans some three decades, ranging anywhere from the IRA to Hamas.

“Every time a journalist raises these arguments about—‘Oh, I’ve got agreements’ and ‘I’ve cut deals’—it is a blow against all journalists,” says Cohen, “because ultimately what protects the journalist from government over-reaching is the journalist’s privilege.

“The intent behind the journalist’s privilege is not that a journalist is going to exercise discretion to decide what he or she thinks is in the public’s best interest, but is designed to facilitate the free-flow of information from a source to an intermediary who performs the function of keeping the public in the know, the loop; informed. It doesn’t contemplate this kind of unique vetting, self-censorship, and selection process that seems to give such strength to Mr. Greenwald.”

As established in Cohen v. Cowles Media Co. (1991), the Supreme Court previously affirmed that a promise to a source does create an enforceable agreement, with the Court ruling that the First Amendment does not bar a promissory estoppel suit against the press. Additionally, the journalist’s privilege asserts that reporters have a right to protect the identity of those to whom confidentiality was promised, including also the unpublished information provided by the source—though such a privilege is still far from being averse to legal challenge.

Greenwald, a lawyer-turned-blogger-turned-journalist, operates somewhere in the middle grounds of this legal hodgepodge. 

“He’s positioned himself very nicely,” Cohen concedes. “Greenwald apparently tries to be all things to all people. The real problem is he’s not only done damage to the journalist’s privilege, he’s also violating legal privilege. He picks and chooses what is all too convenient at various crossroads.

“I think there’s also some very serious confusion floating around here, because I heard people talk about—‘Well, he’s a lawyer.’ Well, he may be a lawyer, but Snowden is not his client. Greenwald needs to decide who the fuck he is. If he’s a lawyer, let him start practicing law. If he’s an agent, let him start making movies and get on with his life. If he’s a journalist, he needs to stop deciding what is in the best interest of the public’s right to know.”

Cohen recently represented a hacktivist involved in the December 2010 Anonymous-affiliated “denial of service attack” conducted against PayPal, a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay, in response to the company’s decision to block donations to the Wikileaks website. 11 of the 14 defendants—who came to be known as the “PayPal 14”—accepted a plea deal this past December. In reference to Omidyar’s late call for leniency in the case, Cohen noted in a De-Manufacturing Consent interview with Guillermo Jimenez that “the notion that all of a sudden [Omidyar] woke up and became egalitarian because he really had concerns about people he had persecuted for two years is absolute bullshit.”

Legitimizing Billionaire Benefactors

In late February, Pando ran an article by Mark Ames revealing that Omidyar’s Omidyar Network had co-funded Ukraine revolution groups, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of several years into the same NGOs as the US government—which ultimately helped propel regime change in Ukraine.

As Pando’s Paul Carr noted: “Omidyar and First Look have made statement after statement about how they aim to be a thorn in the side of the US government, and yet in several cases Omidyar has co-invested with that same US government to shape foreign policy to suit his own worldview.”

Such a collaboration is incredibly significant (as is Carr’s more recent reportage on the high volume of White House visits that have been made by Omidyar and senior Omidyar Network officials since 2009) and further validates the prospect that compartmentalizing discourse and controlling dissent is First Look Media’s true modus operandi.

Interestingly enough, Greenwald’s lengthy, scoffing response to the Pando exposé, entitled “On the Meaning of Journalistic Independence,” proved almost more telling than the article itself.

Summoning strength through ignorance, he writes:

Despite its being publicly disclosed, I was not previously aware that the Omidyar Network donated to this Ukrainian group. That’s because, prior to creating The Intercept with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, I did not research Omidyar’s political views or donations. That’s because his political views and donations are of no special interest to me – any more than I cared about the political views of the family that owns and funds Salon (about which I know literally nothing, despite having worked there for almost 6 years), or any more than I cared about the political views of those who control the Guardian Trust.

There’s a very simple reason for that: they have no effect whatsoever on my journalism or the journalism of The Intercept. That’s because we are guaranteed full editorial freedom and journalistic independence. The Omidyar Network’s political views or activities – or those of anyone else – have no effect whatsoever on what we report, how we report it, or what we say.

Newsroom pressures between those who produce and those who pay their salaries are obviously nothing new. “The pressure is applied subtly,” explain Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols in their book, The Death and Life of American Journalism. “Successful editors and reporters tend to internalize the necessary values so no pressure is necessary. At other times, the pressures can be explicit. The effect is that the news is altered, unbeknownst to the public, in a manner it would never had been had the newsroom been independent and freestanding.”

In an article that he wrote for Salon in August 2009 on General Electric’s editorial influence over NBC and MSNBC, Greenwald even echoes those very sentiments, noting that “corporate employees don’t need to be told what their bosses want. They know without being told.”

That same year, Greenwald was a recipient of the Ithaca College’s Park Center for Independent Media’s first annual Izzy Award for special achievement in independent media. In a quote attributed to that event, he states the following:

Media outlets controlled by large corporations and all of their conflicting interests not only have proven largely ineffective at serving as an adversarial check on the government, but worse, have become mindless amplifiers of government claims. Being outside that system is now virtually a prerequisite to genuinely [critical] reporting on the actions and statements of the government.

In his acceptance speech, further pontification over his valiant views on journalistic independence and the importance of remaining distant from the political power structure: “I think that’s absolutely vital to being a real journalist,” he states. “If anything, the independence of journalism means keeping a distance from, rather than blending into—becoming an appendage of the entities of political power structure, the financial elites, that you intend to cover.”

Fast-forward to 2014, and such idealism has evidently faded quickly from Greenwald’s point-of-view.

Take this blog excerpt from January, for example:

For me, "activism" is about effects and outcomes. Successful activism means successful outcomes, and that in turn takes resources. It's very easy to maintain a perception of purity by remaining resource-starved and thus unable to really challenge large institutions in a comprehensive and sustained way. I know there are some people on the left who are so suspicious of anyone who is called "billionaire" that they think you're fully and instantly guilty by virtue of any association with such a person.

That's fine: there's no arguing against that view, though I would hope they'd apply it consistently to everyone who takes funding from very rich people or who works with media outlets and organizations funded by rich people - including their friends and other journalists and groups they admire (or even themselves).

Though repetitive in rhetoric, it is relevant to note that this is the exact same line being drawn two months later in his Pando response:

That journalistic outlets fail to hold accountable large governmental and corporate entities is a common complaint. It’s one I share. It’s possible to do great journalism in discrete, isolated cases without much funding and by working alone, but it’s virtually impossible to do sustained, broad-scale investigative journalism aimed at large and powerful entities without such funding. As I’ve learned quite well over the last eight months, you need teams of journalists, and editors, and lawyers, and experts, and travel and technology budgets, and a whole slew of other tools that require serious funding. The same is true for large-scale activism.

That funding, by definition, is going to come from people rich enough to provide it. And such people are almost certainly going to have views and activities that you find objectionable. If you want to take the position that this should never be done, that’s fine: just be sure to apply it consistently to the media outlets and groups you really like.

Not only does Greenwald now openly advocate the fusing of journalism with the same corporate-capitalist powers that he once deplored, but he even appears to be making a concerted effort to link activism into the fray as well, thereby successfully commoditizing all forms of dissent into one big pre-packaged, for-profit bundle to the masses.

Notice too the Romney-esque “billionaires-are-people” motif being casually floated, along with the notion that those who abhor the influence of billionaire benefactors on both the press and activism on a general scale are really just succumbing to their own naive, unrealistic worldview and will therefore never be able to effect policy or produce change on any significant level.

                                            * * * *

Thomas Jefferson called the free press “the only security of all,” describing the agitation that it produces as something that must be submitted to, “to keep the waters pure.”

No matter how unique or trying are the times, the raw autonomy of such a freedom should never be made available to alteration. Allowing even the smallest of amendments could easily imperil the very fabric of our democracy.

With every new step that Greenwald takes to justify his own actions, he consequently leads us that much deeper into the murky, authoritarian waters that our founding fathers feared the most.

Acceptance of the endless regurgitation of government secrets slowly served up by the teaspoon doesn’t appear to be the only concession being forced upon a public bedazzled by the spectacle.

We are being told, against all reason and better judgment, that Omidyar is somehow the two hundred and fifty million dollar exception to the rules, and that Greenwald and the select few journalists with access to the Snowden-NSA treasure-trove are thusly incorruptible and pure.

We are to ignore the blatant corporate-government collusion that plagues this entire affair and accept the defeatist standpoint that those afflicted with the disease of integrity will never be able to bring about any real, lasting change to society without the essential aid of “philanthropic” billionaires along the way.

Taking all of this into account, along with the slow crawl of NSA documents being promised to us as our eventual reward for our complete compliance to the corporate state, it is imperative that we ask ourselves: Do the ends really justify the means?

# # # #

Mark Mondalek – BFP contributing author, is a writer and editor based in Detroit.

DNI James Clapper: Mission Accomplished!

The US Should Have Told Americans They Were Being Surveilled Right from The Start

After all the brouhaha and media sensationalism surrounding the NSA’s spy-on-all-and-everything operations the United States government has finally come out with its true stand: Mission Accomplished, Thank God It is Now Finally All Out and in the Open; Mission Accomplished!  And in all this Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper has one, one and only regret: We should have told the American public they were being surveilled right from the start. He says that if they’d just announced it publicly after 9/11 “most Americans would probably have supported it.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Clapper said:

“I probably shouldn’t say this, but I will. Had we been transparent about this from the outset right after 9/11—which is the genesis of the 215 program—and said both to the American people and to their elected representatives, we need to cover this gap, we need to make sure this never happens to us again, so here is what we are going to set up, here is how it’s going to work, and why we have to do it, and here are the safeguards… We wouldn’t have had the problem we had,” Clapper said.

“I don’t think it would be of any greater concern to most Americans than fingerprints. Well people kind of accept that because they know about it. But had we been transparent about it and say here’s one more thing we have to do as citizens for the common good, just like we have to go to airports two hours early and take our shoes off, all the other things we do for the common good, this is one more thing.”

You know what? Here is what: The Director of US Police State Intelligence Operations is absolutely right! Considering the parasitic and maggot-like US representatives in Congress, considering the partial and complicit US Federal Courts, considering the corporatist and government-driven US media, considering our lala-land’s apathetic and too-busy-to-think majority, our government’s gestapo-modeled intelligence operatives should have told the public right from the start and been done with it:

Welcome to Panopticon State USA, where we the rulers watch and listen to everything you do, everything you say, everything you write, and everything you think, everywhere.

They are right. They should have had this all out in the open right from the start, rather than resorting to complicated and costly script-writing efforts. After all, they have for decades watched Americans submit to their police state practices unquestioningly and willingly. Haven’t they?

It’s been almost two decades since our medical and personal privacy has been officially nullified and overridden by our government under The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.The HIPAA rules provide a wide variety of circumstances under which medical information can be disclosed for law enforcement-related purposes without explicitly requiring a warrant. In other words, law enforcement is entitled to your records simply by asserting that you are a suspect or the victim of a crime.

So what! So what that we are required to submit to all disclosures of our personal and health records by our doctors and hospitals?! They didn’t have to make that a secret. They just said this is our rule (call it a law), and that was that.

Same goes for our financial data. The privacy of our financial records was overridden decades ago- and this was done without resorting to any secrecy; out in the open:

In the debate over the PATRIOT Act and other broad surveillance measures, the Bank Secrecy Act should be thought of as a 30-year experiment in subverting the Fourth Amendment. The experiment has imposed tremendous costs on individual privacy and the economy (even before 9/11, the banking industry was estimating compliance costs of $10 billion a year), with few tangible results in stopping crime and even fewer in preventing terrorism.

Financial surveillance has been massively expanded during the last 30 years…The Treasury Department's BSA regulations required banks, subject to some exemptions, to file a currency transaction report on every cash transfer of $10,000 or more. In the 1990s, the department established FinCEN, which expanded the regulations to require that banks file "suspicious activity reports" on all transactions of $5,000 or more if they have "no apparent lawful purpose or are not the sort in which the particular customer would normally be expected to engage." Banks are forbidden to notify customers about the reports. "

The ownership of our health, personal and financial information has not been limited to our Federal police operators. States have been claiming and receiving their share as well. After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander!

States such as Texas say your info is our info to hold and to sell:

The state doesn’t just make money off you when you register your car; it’s also making money off your personal information. In 2012 they made $2.1 million to be exact. Here’s how it works: The Tax Collector’s office in your county helps the state out by collecting your information and your money. Once you’re in the Texas DMV database your information can be sorted by where you live or what you drive; and it’s that information that’s up for grabs.

The State of Florida DMV makes millions of dollars from legally selling personal information. And catch this: they sell everyone’s information except for police officers and judges.

According to a recent report, the Department of Motor Vehicles in Florida has been selling names, addresses and dates of birth to companies in return for a promise that they not to harass anyone. Among the firms that allegedly pay for information many consider confidential are Lexis Nexis and Shadow Soft. The only people who are exempt from the sale of their personal information are judges and police officers.

There are dozens of examples I could site of how our government has been violating our privacy, gathering our personal data, and spying on us for a long time. Not only that, the operators of our police state have been doing all this openly, and, thanks to their extended tentacles in Congress and the Courts, self-servingly legally.

This brings me back to DNI Clapper’s recent statement. The guy is right. Look at the lack of outrage by 99% of our police state inhabitants. Take notice of our maggot-colony in Congress. Check out our cohunes-less judges occupying the Courts. The government should have made this all open and transparent right after 9/11. They should have come out with it right from the start. Our police state should have declared our state a Panopticon State years ago.

A few weeks ago I preempted DNI Clapper. I wrote and published an article saying exactly that: The Entire Snowden NSA Cache Exposed Once and for All

Now we all know: NSA spies on everyone via every piece of hardware, every bit of software, every network, every ISP, every news outlet, every game, every cartoon, possibly through every poop hole. The hidden code in the Snowden-Greenwald Mockery appears to be one objective; one message: Be Afraid, people, be very Afraid. You are watched every second of every minute, and everywhere. You live in a Panopticon State, so watch out (all the time) and behave accordingly.

Well, now, finally, they are doing it. They are making it official. Maybe it took a long-cut and tedious scripted play to get there, but at least they are now there: Mission accomplished! Welcome to our Panopticon Police State!

# # # #

Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

Thank You NSA, Snowden & the Media for Showing our Super-Ness in Something!

The Entire Snowden NSA Cache Exposed Once and for All

Establishment-Made Heroes, Blind Seekers of Saviors & Suckers

Green-Light for Greenwald: Government Duplicity or Government Duality?

BFP Exclusive- Former CIA Officer & Whistleblower Frank Snepp Responds to Sibel Edmonds’ Article on Snowden-Greenwald

“The journalists’ “sugar daddies,” as you call them, will have to get in line if they want to exploit Snowden’s revelations against us.”

By Frank Snepp

Your post admirably demonstrates why "boiling" figures in the title of your blog. Your outrage burns like a cascading incendiary right through the entire piece.

You perform an invaluable service in showing how the documents-count for Snowden's boost has dramatically altered -- from Glenn Greenwald's July cite to der Spiegel of 9,000-10,000, to his claim of 20,000 to the Brazilian Senate, to the UK/David Miranda takedown count of 58,000, to the NSA quote of 1.7 million.

You also make an extremely important point in noting that the “spider-crawler” technology that Snowden apparently used to "scrape" up files at Booz Allen couldn't possibly have allowed for the kind of judicious scrutiny and selection that he originally claimed for himself. He made this claim early on, as you'll recall, when he tried to separate himself from Bradley Manning and his grab-bag approach to the military files he plundered for Wikileaks. Based on a New York Times story of February 9, the technology he and Manning used was roughly the same. So Snowden exaggerates or prevaricates in pretending he was somehow more careful and discreet than Manning (now Chelsea Manning).

As for the discrepancies you've noted in the Snowden documents-count, they dazzle the imagination with possibilities.

In a New York Times magazine piece published by Peter Maas on August 18, Greenwald is quoted as saying that Poitras had documents with her when she joined him for their flight to Hong Kong last summer. Thus she went into their meeting with Snowden after having already received some material from him.

By the time Greenwald and the Guardian’s Hugh MacAskell left Hong Kong on or about June 10, according to one of your previous BFP posts, Greenwald was ready to maintain that he had received everything Snowden had to give them.

But on June 12, Snowden made comments to the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong that indicated he still had a stash with him. So clearly, by his own perhaps unwitting acknowledgement, he had NOT given all copies to Greenwald by that point.

In his interview with the Hong Kong reporter Snowden revealed that NSA was surveilling Chinese targets on the island and the mainland. Greenwald seems to have been caught by surprise by these revelations for he later acknowledged publicly that he probably wouldn't have published these leaks himself and felt Snowden had done so to ingratiate himself with the Chinese. Greenwald's alleged aversion to exposing such operations is laughable given his later willingness to blow equally sensitive secrets. But it does appear that he realized that Snowden was off on his own track.

According to the Maas article, Poitras slipped out of Hong Kong on June 15. She may have been carrying the very documents Greenwald later claimed had been transferred to them both, or even files he had not seen. Indeed it is possible that Greenwald had none or only a portion of the Snowden stash upon his own departure from Hong Kong and meant to pick the rest up later from Poitras.

His decision to send his partner David Miranda to Germany in August to link up with Poitras and collect 58,000 documents from her strengthens the likelihood that she was, until then, the main custodian of the Snowden files, whatever their number. 

Either way, it is apparent 1) that more documents are circulating than Greenwald originally claimed; 2) that Snowden wasn't the discreet security-minded thief he originally pretended to be; and 3) that Poitras is the wild card in all the confusion. She accompanied Greenwald to Hong Kong with more documents than he had previously seen, and later, and after returning to Germany, she retained more documents that he had carried with him out of Hong Kong.

It is impossible to sort out from all this whether the 58,000 documents that Miranda was carrying when detained at Heathrow in August were part of Snowden’s original handoff in Hong Kong, were an additional dollop that Poitras had separately gotten from him, or represented everything the two journalists now describe as the Snowden file.

To further complicate things, the NSA's pilfered-documents count of 1.7 million may be a guestimate of how many files Snowden’s spider-crawler had access to, rather than a tally of what was actually stolen.

Bottom line: Greenwald and Poitras are in a position to clarify much of this, and if they were objective journalists truly committed to transparency and accountability, they would do so in a heartbeat. But they haven't.

While we're doling out journalistic responsibilities, let’s not forget Barton Gellman of the Washington Post and Hugh MacAskell of the Guardian, both of whom were part of the original Snowden daisy chain.

Gellman apparently received his own share of the Snowden files from Poitras directly or via the encrypted conferencing system that she and Snowden set up during the time he was pilfering the Booz Allen/NSA mother lode in Hawaii. She was close enough to Gellman to share a by-line with him on his own original Snowden story for the Post, and, as Greenwald revealed to Peter Maas, she was the technical mastermind behind the transfer of the Snowden files to his journalist-collaborators.

Did Gellman get copies of some, all or more of what was handed to Greenwald, Poitras and MacAskell in Hong Kong, or later? Did MacAskill get copies of all of the stuff that Greenwald and Poitras pocketed? Are his copies the ones the Guardian later shared with the New York Times? And how reflective are they of what Greenwald and Poitras now control?

One thing seems fairly certain in all this: Gellman’s package included documents he was initially led to believe were his alone to exploit. They had to do with the NSA internet surveillance program codenamed Prism. According to his and Greenwald’s published accounts, Gellman was originally given the Prism documents as a Post exclusive. When the Post balked at Snowden's prepublication demands, copies of these documents – or at least permission to report on them -- went to Greenwald. He would later file a story about Prism just moments after Gellman surfaced his own in the Post.

In a follow-up "explainer" (that didn't explain much) Gellman glossed over Poitras’ role in the Snowden leak-fest and treated Greenwald as a late arrival to the game. As Gellman told it, once the Post rebuffed Snowden’s demands, the leaker “made contact with Glenn Greenwald of the British newspaper the Guardian.”

Not so. Poitras had already brought Greenwald into her dialogue with Snowden. Once again she is the wild card.

Presumably Poitras knew all along what Gellman was up to since she shared a by-line with him on his Prism story. But she evidently kept from him her previous months-long interplay with Snowden and the Guardian reporter. Otherwise Gellman, in his explainer, wouldn't have characterized Greenwald as a Johnny-come-lately, and Greenwald wouldn't have responded as he did, announcing tartly via Twitter, “Bart Gellman’s claims about Snowden’s interactions with me - when, how and why - are all false.”

Any attempt to account for the Snowden documents, their whereabouts and number, must also contend with other imponderables.

For instance, Greenwald told the Daily Beast that some number of Snowden’s still unpublished stash have been handed over under a password arrangement to parties unknown, and will be released as payback to the powers-that-be if anything happens to the leaker. What are these Armageddon files, who’s got them, what’s their number, and why hasn’t Greenwald, the “objective” journalist, revealed all this rather than play bullyboy messenger on Snowden’s behalf?

Moreover, as Peter Maas reported in his Times magazine article, at least some information relating to NSA’s surveillance deal with Verizon – the subject of Greenwald’s first leak story – is floating out in the ether somewhere, thanks to his and Poitras’ impatience with the Guardian newspaper.

“When The Guardian didn’t move as quickly as they wanted with the first article on Verizon,” Maas wrote, “Greenwald discussed taking it elsewhere, sending an encrypted draft to a colleague at another publication.”

Who is that “colleague,” where is that draft, and was any of the supporting documentation attached? The “colleague” apparently is the kind of journalist Greenwald is, and is keeping what he knows from the public.

Finally, because of all the questions surrounding disposition of the Snowden files – who received, or shared, which files, and when – there are monumental chain-of-custody and verification problems.

Anywhere along the Snowden-Greenwald-Poitras-MacAskell-Gellman-Miranda-Guardian-New York Times transmission belt, glitches, whiteouts and blackouts could have occurred. Documents could have dropped out, fabricated ones could have been added, amendments or distortions could have been slipped in – all without Snowden being aware. Whatever his original password precautions, he collected far more documents than he could ever have read or vetted in their entirety, and he has abdicated too much control over them since then to be certain of what is now being distributed in his name. 

I am almost beginning to feel sorry for the NSA damage assessment team tasked with figuring out just what kind of havoc Snowden has wrought.

If what we do know is any predictor, neither the NSA nor any of us will ever be sure which documents Snowden stole, what their numbers are, or where they have ended up.

I do believe the jury is still out regarding one thread of your blog – your concern that the free-floating Snowden files might somehow compromise our privacy or allow the journalists’ billionaire patrons, Pierre Omidyar of eBay-PayPal or Jeff Bezos of Amazon-Washington Post, to do so.

True, the files apparently contain a great deal of information about cyber warfare and the defenses the NSA has erected, or attempted to penetrate, and this may contain enough to allow expert hackers to dig into very private stuff here, there and everywhere.

But let’s face it, what the Snowden files confirm beyond all question is that the Russians and the Chinese are already deep into this racket. To the extent that Snowden’s leaks have strengthened their hand, or weakened our firewalls against them, he will also have deepened our exposure to privacy violations by our sworn competitors and enemies. The journalists’ “sugar daddies,” as you call them, will have to get in line if they want to exploit Snowden’s revelations against us.

# # # #

*Frank Snepp is a Peabody-Award winning investigative journalist, author of two CIA memoirs, and focus of a major U.S. Supreme Court decision dealing with national security and the First Amendment. He posts on franksnepp.com.

 **To read Sibel Edmonds’ latest article on Snowden-Greenwald Click Here

The Snowden Effect: From Governmentalized to Privatized & Commoditized

How Safe is Our Information with Billionaire Corporatists & Dollar-Hungry Opportunist Individuals?

Please raise your hand if you are one of many concerned citizens when it comes to our government collecting and keeping your data without a warrant or any justification. Do you see my hand? I know I am a shorty, but it is up there; my hand. I assure you. In fact it has been there for a long time.

Now, please raise your hand if you are a citizen who is highly concerned about your data, personal and public, not only being taken and stored by our government, but also being accessed and stored by other private corporations, private individuals and their foreign lovers and contacts. Can you see my hand? I’m there- standing on my toes with my raised hand. How many other hands do you see; if any? Is yours up there?

Yes. I am livid. I am livid that our government is collecting our communications and information without any warrant or oversight. I am appalled by our government storing all our data in its massive database with zero oversight or accountability. It is frightening; truly. But let me tell you something: right now I am even more appalled and alarmed by individuals obtaining our data, commoditizing it, and handing it over to companies and individuals around the world.

Nine months ago I was one of many who thought we had a new whistleblower who had gone out on a limb to obtain a few documents in order to expose how our government has been violating our Constitution and rights with its illegal surveillance operations. Today, nine months after this individual came out publicly, sporting the title whistleblower, I am watching in horror a far more terrifying and outrageous plot unfolding before my own eyes.

When the story first broke I, among others, assumed that Edward Snowden had taken a few documents to illustrate the unconstitutional abuses and violations committed by the NSA.

Then, in July 2013, Greenwald told Der Spiegel he and Laura Poitras had each received a complete archive from Snowden which totaled 9,000-10,000 documents.

A few weeks later that same Glenn Greenwald told the Brazilian Senate that he possessed up to 20,000 documents.

Fast forward one month, and in its court statement over the temporary detention of David Miranda, the UK government said Miranda was carrying 58,000 documents which took up around 60 gigabytes of disk space.

And now, nine months later, we are told that Snowden is believed to have used web crawlers to access and obtain about 1.7 million documents.

First, the ever-changing story and document number establish Snowden and the involved so-called journalists as dishonest and liars. Oddly enough, no one in the mainstream media is calling them on the constantly changing and contradicting story line.

Second, it illustrates that there is no way these documents were obtained discreetly or with any due diligence. How could anyone suck up 1.7 million documents with a web crawler and claim that the act was performed ethically and with diligence? If the individual’s intention was to illustrate a case of clear and present unconstitutionality and criminality, why go suck up millions of documents indiscriminately? Why not care how many of those documents are on legitimate targets or investigations? Why not be wary of some of the documents containing private citizens’ private information?

Third, it shows a complete lack of responsibility for Snowden to carry with him around the world over one million indiscriminately obtained Top Secret documents. By his own admission Snowden used his own credit card and identity to travel to Hong Kong, and he remained there for almost three weeks while registered in a hotel under his own name, passport ID, and credit card number. What kind of individual would commit such an act while in possession of 1.7 million documents pertaining to Americans’ personal data, U.S. government intelligence, and even other nations’ proprietary information?

Fourth, much of the initial story was given glitzy attention based on the claim that Snowden had obtained these documents with one pure purpose: Making it all public for the public’s benefit and the people’s right to know. However, to date, after nine months into the story, the people have received less than 1% of the obtained documents. 

Now, let’s talk about the entities who have been given these documents (the entire cache):

We know that Glenn Greenwald has been given the entire cache by Snowden. He has shrewdly enriched himself with the cache: from a seven-figure book deal to a movie deal and a new cushy venture with a billionaire boss. To read more about this Click Here . As you can see, having access to documents that purportedly contain our information, other nations’ information, and much information related to many corporations, were commoditized and utilized to obtain financial and career gains.

We know that Glenn Greenwald’s Brazilian boyfriend was given access to the entire cache by Edward Snowden as well. To read more about this Click Here

We know that film-maker Laura Poitras was given the Snowden Cache. She too has been rewarded with high-sums and a billionaire-sponsored lucrative career deal for the documents.

We know that other publications such as Washington Post and Guardian have been given a large share of these documents. Speaking of the Washington Post, another billionaire seems to be getting his money’s worth in this deal as well: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

Let’s recap it so far: Billionaire corporatists such as Pierre Omidyar and Jeff Bezos have access to Edward Snowden’s 1.7 million stolen documents. Several mainstream news corporations such as Guardian and the New York Times have their nice-size cache. A few ambitious and dollar-oriented American and foreign individuals have joint ownership of Edward Snowden’s stolen documents.

So let me ask you, it was horrible and scary enough to know that the United States Government was able to obtain and store our data. Please tell me how you feel about the fact that now, along with the U.S. government, billionaire corporatists such as PayPal’s Pierre Omidyar and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and dollar-hungry opportunist individuals such as Glenn Greenwald, Brazilian David Miranda and Laura Poitras, all have our data to do with as they wish?

Please don’t write off the value of Snowden’s cache to billionaire corporatists like Pierre Omidyar. Think about what he could do with all that info. Could he have an advantage over his competitors, considering that the NSA cache contains tons of documents on many major companies? You bet. Could he use some of the stolen data to blackmail his competitors here and abroad? Surely. Could he utilize Snowden’s stolen documents to blackmail and receive favors from the U.S. government? Of course. Now, do you see how $250 million may prove to be a small price to pay for what may gain billions for him? I am sure you do.

The lack of outrage and protest against the privatization and commoditization of the Snowden Cache may in fact pave the way for the government to do the exact same thing itself; directly- without middlemen such as Snowden and sleazy hungry journalists. Let me give you a few examples:

Texas DMV Sells Personal Information to Hundreds Of Companies; Drivers Not Allowed to Opt-Out

Legal Theft: Florida DMV Makes Millions Legally Selling Personal Information

DMV Wants to Market Drivers' Records for Sale

That’s right. Let’s apply what opportunist journalists are doing here to our government. What if the government elects to sell a portion of its questionably obtained information from its citizens to major private corporations like Microsoft or PayPal or Amazon? Would you consider such an act outrageous and illegal? Okay. Then, why is it okay for a thief to obtain 1.7 million documents pertaining to our data, hand over that indiscriminately obtained data to a few greedy opportunists, and have those opportunists sell the data to mega corporations? Maybe this is what Snowden and his opportunist accomplices together with billionaire corporatist sugar daddies paved the way for: To kosher-ize privatization, commoditization and monetization of the people’s data by the government.

How is it that the majority of privacy activists are so alarmed and outraged at the idea of having our government collect and store our personal and business data, yet, these same individuals are not up-in-arms about that same data being commoditized and privatized and monetized by ruthless billionaires and greedy individuals? I don’t get it, do you? Is it a case of willful ignorance? Is it a case of blinded judgment brought on by glitzy publicity campaigns? Or is it a case of not seeing the forest for the trees? You tell me.

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Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

Thank You NSA, Snowden & the Media for Showing our Super-Ness in Something!

The Entire Snowden NSA Cache Exposed Once and for All

Part II: David Miranda’s Detainment: The Calico Kitten in Wag-The-Dog?

Part I: The Doomsday Insurance Cache That Was, and Then Never Was

Dear Mr. Snowden, It’s Time to Come Out & Take a Stand Publicly as to Your Intentions

Establishment-Made Heroes, Blind Seekers of Saviors & Suckers

Green-Light for Greenwald: Government Duplicity or Government Duality?

Greenwald-Omidyar Venture: Blurring Lines Between Being A Source & Being A Journalist

Greenwald Goes on Record: “I Don’t Doubt PayPal Cooperates with NSA!”

BFP Report- Omidyar’s PayPal Corporation Said To Be Implicated in Withheld NSA Documents

Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidder

Thank You NSA, Snowden & the Media for Showing our Super-Ness in Something!

The Most Innovative Plot Ever to Put us Back on the Map as the Super-est

I ask people to name the agency responsible for collecting all communication Intel in China, and they draw a blank. I quiz people on the Russian facility specifically in charge of communication data gathering (not the main FSB), and I draw more blanks. However, I suspect that today if you were to ask the entire adult population of the planet earth to name the intelligence facility in the United States where the entire US and world communication data is gathered you would receive a quick and accurate answer: NSA. Is this really ‘bad’ for the US image? Is this truly bad for the NSA?

Everyone agrees that this is the information age. Everyone will tell you that information is power today. It is uniformly agreed that those with the power to collect the most information are those with the most power. All true. Thus, the Super Global Power is the one with the best capability to collect the most information. And the world unanimously recognizes the United States of America as the Super-est Global Power with the most ominous agency-facility capable of collecting everyone’s every data every minute of every hour. We have the US government, Edward Snowden, and the mainstream media to thank for this.

Image is everything. It’s perception- not the real facts- that matter. Once upon a time it was the Arms Race. We went through decades of muscle flexing: who had the biggest and most powerful bombs, who had the most ominous delivery system for the biggest and most powerful bombs, who had the fastest and greatest rockets to reach the moon-Mars or hell, and who had the highest number of bases. Of course we, the Americans, aced every one of those criteria. Didn’t we? Even with the Missile Gap trickery and later revelations and all; we flexed our steroid-filled muscles everywhere. It really didn’t matter how many billions of people around the world actually hated us. We burned and murdered millions of people in Vietnam, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Laos and Cambodia. Ugly? Yes. But didn’t it establish our superiority when it came to nuclear weapons capabilities, chemical weapons mastery, and all the state-of-the-art machinery to deliver our killing agents and murder in mass? There: ugly or not, hated or not, we flexed our super-power muscles. We became known as a superpower-the only thing that mattered.

Who wouldn’t want to be perceived as the most powerful and ominous even if butt ugly? China does. Russia does. Iran does. Pakistan does… and we do. Please don’t let anyone fool you: when we talk about our world image we don’t give a damn about looking good or being perceived as good. No. It is about being the most powerful, being the most ominous when it comes to using power. Period. Think of our power footprint in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Libya. Think about our power shown through our black sites, Bagram, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Powerful, yes. Ominous yes. Good? Are you kidding me? But who cares!

As a nation so addicted to being known and perceived as a superpower, when we see ourselves in situations like this we feel devastated:

In 15 of 22 nations surveyed, the balance of opinion is that China either will replace or already has replaced the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower. This view is especially widespread in Western Europe, where at least six-in-ten people in France (72%), Spain (67%), Britain (65%) and Germany (61%) see China overtaking the U.S.

As a nation who has had the privilege of being perceived as the most ominous, when we face situations like this we are heartbroken:

For the first time in surveys dating back nearly 40 years, a majority (53%) says the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago. The share saying the U.S. is less powerful has increased 12 points since 2009 and has more than doubled – from just 20% – since 2004.

So what if we are still the world’s super-est power when it comes to WMD and related military machinery. Obviously that doesn’t count nearly as much today in the eyes of the world. Our economy has been way too screwed up to even be considered as a vehicle to establish super-ness. Thus, we have to find something that is considered real super in this age and time: the Information Age & Information Warfare Era. So bring in and pump some steroids into some information muscle, flex it big time, and make sure it is enormously publicized: Thank you NSA, Edward Snowden and the Government PR media.

Those damn Chinese may have the economy on their side, but let’s flex our steroid-filled NSA muscles and show those dudes how pathetic they are when it comes to sucking information: Snowden: US Spies On China’s Universities and Mobile Firms  I tell you, even the NSA is directly pumping up Snowden’s narrative on how we put the Chinese under our surveillance microscope: NSA fears Snowden saw details of China spying

Look at the darn Chinese scrambling to protect themselves from our mighty info sucking monster-the NSA: Can China Protect Itself from NSA Spying?

How about those awful Russians, ey? Let’s show them too: Sweden has been spying on Russian leaders for the NSA, Snowden documents show That’s right. They better watch out. We are vacuuming up all their information: NSA leak reveals: US and Britain spied on Russians and other countries Hey, mate, look how desperate they are in the face of our mighty NSA sucker-uppers: Russia’s solution to NSA spying? Typewriters!!!

Even those pest-y little high-tech Japanese are getting nervous, seeing how they have lost their techie edge: Japan Must Safeguard Data from 'Superpower in Decline' Decline or not, who cares! It attaches that musical and beautiful adjective back to our nation’s name: Superpower.

Haven’t government researchers such as RAND been pounding our government for years on pumping and flexing its information gathering muscles?  Information is an instrument of national and global power. As such, control over its use, its protection, and its manipulation, are national and global security issues. Well, here we are, doing exactly that: showing our people and the entire world that we are capable of sucking every single piece of information from every person in every nation every single second of every single hour of every single day.

Thank you NSA, Edward Snowden and the government PR machine. Thank you for restoring our superpower status here at home and abroad. Thank you for showing our super-ness in something: Snooping & Surveillance of everyone everywhere all the time. Thank you for expanding and putting back the fear of government into our people’s psyche. Thank you for putting the weariness and fear of our mightiness back into the world. Thank you for plotting and executing one of the most innovative plots ever to put us back on the map as a super-est power in something; no matter how stinky or ugly. Thank you NSA, Snowden and the mainstream media. Thank you all.

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Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

The Entire Snowden NSA Cache Exposed Once and for All

Part II: David Miranda’s Detainment: The Calico Kitten in Wag-The-Dog?

Part I: The Doomsday Insurance Cache That Was, and Then Never Was

Dear Mr. Snowden, It’s Time to Come Out & Take a Stand Publicly as to Your Intentions

Establishment-Made Heroes, Blind Seekers of Saviors & Suckers

Green-Light for Greenwald: Government Duplicity or Government Duality?

Greenwald-Omidyar Venture: Blurring Lines Between Being A Source & Being A Journalist

Greenwald Goes on Record: “I Don’t Doubt PayPal Cooperates with NSA!”

BFP Report- Omidyar’s PayPal Corporation Said To Be Implicated in Withheld NSA Documents

Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidder

The Entire Snowden NSA Cache Exposed Once and for All

The Hidden Code in the Snowden-Greenwald Mockery

I just finished reading an article titled Forget Metadata … The NSA Is Spying on EVERYTHING . It is a good article, and it is true. For the last nine months we have been reading one headline after another on Edward Snowden’s documents exposing NSA from A to Z. 99% of these documents have not been published. No matter. 100% of the facts have been known for almost a decade - details not withstanding and do not matter. Do you really need headline after headline churning out some meaningless and useless information? We have it for you: All exposés, one hundred percent, and in one place. Here it is, starting with NSA spying on world leaders:

NSA spies on Germany’s Merkel. NSA spies on France’s Hollande. I tell you what: everyone who has ever worked for FBI counterintelligence and or CIA and or NSA could tell you: The United States has been spying on all world leaders and state heads for many decades. Period. Now, help yourself and add to the sensationalized headlines: NSA spies on Turkey’s Erdogan. NSA spies on Russia’s Putin. NSA spies on Bolivia’s Morales. Basically, fill in ‘NSA spies on …’ with every world leader and political figure. There. Now you have 11.5% of Snowden-Greenwald’s fluffily sensationalized documents.

Another set of sensationalized no-news news headlines deals with NSA engaging in Industrial espionage: Edward Snowden Claims NSA Engages In Industrial Espionage In New Interview

I tell you what: Snowden has exposed a practice that is as old as the Roman Empire. Industrial espionage has been utilized and performed by every empire and every government for thousands of years. To cover another 8.3% of Edward Snowden documents you can list US industrial espionage by target countries: NSA spies on China’s industry. NSA spies on Russian industry. NSA spies on … Just fill in the dots, and you now have an additional 8% of Snowden’s so-called explosive documents.

Snowden has exposed computer hardware companies on the NSA’s partners list as well:  NSA intercepts laptop deliveries to install spyware . The companies include Cisco, Dell, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, but also international companies such as Samsung andHuawei. To find out about other so-far-not-disclosed documents, go grab a list of all major computer hardware companies and list them: Apple, HP, Lenovo, … just fill in the dots, and you have it. I believe this should take care of 6.1% of so far undisclosed documents.

Snowden’s major revelations, dripping slowly, one after another, point to NSA monitoring and spying on people via social networks: NSA spies via Facebook. NSA spies on Google. Time to publicize another 14.9% of Snowden’s cache: NSA spies on Yahoo. NSA spies on Twitter. NSA spies on … Just fill in the dots by including all the major social networking sites and forums. Done.

Snowden has also exposed what we have known for a long time: NSA spies on News organizations! Wow! NSA Spied On Al Jazeera Communications . Here is a list of equally explosive news organizations NSA is spying on: New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times … Please fill in the dots with every single news organization in the U.S. and the world.

Snowden documents and leaks include NSA’s spying on international organizations such as the United Nations. Aren’t you shocked (Not)? Has anyone ever doubted the fact that the U.S. has been monitoring all major international organizations? Let me list a few: HRW, Amnesty, Committee to Protect Journalists … Please don’t wait for Snowden and his handlers to put out this old news and make millions of dollars. Just go ahead and list every single international organization. And you have it.

Lately, Snowden seems to have reached the end of his major networking and computer name dropping list. Seriously. He is now leaking NSA’s nonstop spying on game applications. I kid you not. Here it is: Angry Birds' used for NSA, British spying efforts. Other similar game and software companies will follow. I’ll save you the suspense: NSA is spying on Sesame Street software. NSA is spying on Mickey Mouse software. NSA is spying on Woody Woodpecker games and software. NSA is spying on Pink Panther applications. NSA is spying on … just fill in the dots, and you’ve got it.

What else could be made to sound juicy and outrageous? It is possible that NSA has contracts with commode manufacturers to have them install mini tracking microchips to track your pooping pattern. NSA is very interested in our bowel movements. Bowel movements can tell a lot about a person. Once they have our pooping pattern you never know how they may use it. I kid you not. Don’t write it off. Your poop matters-to the NSA.

Since 2004, through several honorable whistleblowers, the NSA’s extensive and warrantless spying has been known to us. Period. Since my grandmother’s era, not only the NSA, but also the FBI and the CIA have been monitoring world leaders, including their diplomatic figures in the U.S. and elsewhere. Since the Roman Empire nations have been engaged in Industrial-Commerce Espionage and Spying. Didn’t Katharine Gunn expose spying on the United Nations in 2003? Surely she did. No worries, Snowden wants all credit for her work. Didn’t NSA’s Russell Tice sacrifice his career to inform us of NSA’s massive illegal spying in 2004-2005? Of course, he did. But Snowden wants all the credit for that as well. Didn’t William Binney expose NSA’s warrantless spying of Americans in 2002? Aha. So what, Snowden wants to make it not so: he wants that credit as well. How about Mark Klein of AT&T exposing the corporate-NSA collusions on illegal spying in 2006? Mark, who? Snowden doesn’t know such a man exists.

Let’s go back to my first paragraph in this commentary. Now we all know: NSA spies on everyone via every piece of hardware, every bit of software, every network, every ISP, every news outlet, every game, every cartoon, possibly through every poop hole. The hidden code in the Snowden-Greenwald Mockery appears to be one objective; one message: Be Afraid, people, be very Afraid. You are watched every second of every minute, and everywhere. You live in a Panopticon State, so watch out (all the time) and behave accordingly. Oh, also, give us your money.

Okay people,  many of you have known the facts about the out-of-control US intel agencies for years. Please don’t let a Mega Charlatan make billions of dollars by suckering you into purchasing what you already have. Please don’t allow a few Mid-Level Charlatans to make millions of dollars by misleading and misdirecting you. Shoo the Lower-Level Charlatans like you’d shoo flies. Charlatans will capitalize on anything, and turn anything into a commodity (Including snake oil); only if you let them. Let’s not let them.

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Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

Part II: David Miranda’s Detainment: The Calico Kitten in Wag-The-Dog?

Part I: The Doomsday Insurance Cache That Was, and Then Never Was

Dear Mr. Snowden, It’s Time to Come Out & Take a Stand Publicly as to Your Intentions

Establishment-Made Heroes, Blind Seekers of Saviors & Suckers

Green-Light for Greenwald: Government Duplicity or Government Duality?

Greenwald-Omidyar Venture: Blurring Lines Between Being A Source & Being A Journalist

Greenwald Goes on Record: “I Don’t Doubt PayPal Cooperates with NSA!”

BFP Report- Omidyar’s PayPal Corporation Said To Be Implicated in Withheld NSA Documents

Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidder

De-Manufacturing Consent- “Spies, Lies & the Money that Binds Them”

Guillermo Jimenez Presents Douglas Valentine

On this edition of De-Manufacturing Consent: Guillermo is joined by author and CIA expert, Douglas Valentine. We discuss the NSA leaks regarding the agency's assistance in the CIA assassination program that were promised, but so far not delivered, and how the focus on tactical matters as opposed to strategic may be a diversion.

We also go over the use of "black propaganda" within the media that serves to legitimize agencies like the CIA or NSA. Does anything revealed so far by Edward Snowden challenge the national security state in a meaningful way? Does limiting the release of the documents, while reiterating that "not all spying is bad," weaken the national security state or strengthen it?

Listen to the Preview Clip Here

Listen to the full episode here (BFP Subscribers Only):

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De-Manufacturing Consent- “The PayPal 14, Pierre’s Shame & the Billionaire Independent Media”

Guillermo Jimenez Presents Stanley Cohen

On this edition of De-Manufacturing Consent: Guillermo is joined by attorney and activist, Stanley Cohen, who currently represents one of the "Anons" collectively known as the PayPal 14. We discuss who the PayPal 14 are, what they did, why they did it, and the shameful actions of eBay and Pierre Omidyar throughout the ordeal. Stanley also shares his thoughts on the new "hip Rupert Murdoch," the rise of the "billionaire independent media," the Snowden files, Greenwald "shilling for points" with the Israel lobby, and much more.

Listen to the Preview Clip Here

Listen to the full episode here (BFP Subscribers Only):

SUBSCRIBE

Part II- David Miranda’s Detainment: The Calico Kitten in Wag-The-Dog?

Dissecting Contradictions & Sensationalism in the NSA-Snowden Scandal

In August 2013 Glenn Greenwald's husband, David Miranda, was detained and questioned by authorities at London's Heathrow airport. Miranda was coming from Berlin, where he had met with Laura Poitras and was given thousands of top-secret Snowden-NSA documents. He had arrived at London’s Heathrow airport while carrying in his laptop a large cache of the highly-publicized NSA documents. He was stopped and interrogated by British authorities for nearly nine hours.

The sensational story of David Miranda’s detention became headline news for nearly two weeks. Mainstream outlets, from CNN and NBC, to the New York Times, Washington Post and NPR, allocated around the clock coverage of the story. For weeks Glenn Greenwald gave numerous interviews of the story and the victimization of his innocent husband. Outside of a handful of news publications no one delved into the facts, contradictions, serious questions, and even more serious implications contained in this sensational plot. Run a search and read the extensive mainstream media coverage of the plot, and you’ll see that every single one of them follows the exact same script and narration to the T.

Researching the history of and combining related facts and statements on Greenwald’s Miranda drama results in dozens of contradictions, unanswered questions, and never-examined implications. For the purpose of this analysis I am going to present only the most significant facts, elements and questions.

Why Me?! What’s in My Laptop?

Let us begin with why and how Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, ended up in Berlin, and then in London’s Heathrow Airport, while carrying a laptop loaded with the most secretive stolen NSA documents.

When the story first broke in the media there was a cursory explanation for Miranda’s trip: Oh, he was in Berlin for a short vacation, and while he was there he met with Laura Poitras and downloaded some of the explosive NSA documents into his laptop to take  back with him to Brazil per his husband’s request.

Miranda was on his way home to Rio after a week's vacation in Berlin, where he had visited Poitras, who'd given him some of the Snowden documents to bring back to Greenwald… Greenwald, who'd asked Miranda to bring him the materials, was outraged.

After that initial report went out as the main story line, and became the official narrative, a second version emerged; albeit, not the one publicized as the main narrative.  According to this second version, contradicting the first one, Miranda was hired as Guardian’s employee, he was paid by Guardian to go to Berlin and get the mother-load NSA cache from Laura Poitras. Guardian nonchalantly updated its initial version [All Emphasis Mine]:

While in Berlin, Miranda had visited Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on the Snowden files with Greenwald and the Guardian. The Guardian paid for Miranda's flights.

Of course, later, that version became a bit more comprehensive :

First, we learned from The New York Times that The Guardian financed Miranda’s trip to Germany and back. This means Miranda was conducting some sort of official business for the publication. Around the same time, Amnesty International referred to Miranda as “a Guardian newspaper employee.”

No matter- the main publicized narrative remained the same: The poor innocent damsel took an innocent vacation in Berlin, made a brief stop to obtain and download a few thousand top secret stolen documents, went to London carrying this loaded laptop, and lo and behold, the poor thing was stopped and harassed by British authority.

Meanwhile, David Miranda’s version of his role and knowledge began changing and evolving as well.

During the initial stage Miranda batted his eyes filled with confusion and tears, and told Guardian how he was shocked by this unexpected detention, and that he didn’t even know what kind of documents had been downloaded to his laptop. Okay, let’s hear it from his own mouth via the culprit: Guardian [All Emphasis Mine]:

“It is clear why those took me. It’s because I’m Glenn’s partner. Because I went to Berlin. Because Laura lives there. So they think I have a big connection,” he said. “But I don’t have a role. I don’t look at documents. I don’t even know if it was documents that I was carrying. It could have been for the movie that Laura is working on.”

So the outrageous story of this abused and innocent and unknowing damsel plays and plays, and plays again. For days. For weeks. On every channel and print publication.

A few months later, David Miranda’s version of his knowledge and his role in this detention episode changed dramatically. After all it is a drama. In a very lengthy interview over several days, Miranda confessed. Let’s read a few excerpts from the lengthy interview [All Emphasis Mine]:

Miranda knew very well that he was traveling from Rio to Berlin to see Greenwald’s reporting partner, documentarian Laura Poitras, and that he would be returning through the U.K., all the time carrying a heavily encrypted flash drive directly related to the trove of documents that former and now notorious CIA employee Edward Snowden had vacuumed from the National Security Agency and had given to Greenwald earlier in the year.

Miranda started making arrangements to fly to Berlin and stay with Poitras. The simplest reason, Miranda explains: “Laura doesn’t like to talk on the phone.” …

“David was going to Berlin to talk to Laura anyways,” Greenwald says, “and so he suggested that he just take the documents. Laura trusts David completely, so that became the new plan.” Because Miranda was performing a service to support articles that were to be written for The Guardian, the newspaper paid for his trip and made his travel arrangements

Now that the record establishes the real detention drama beginning as a planned and paid courier service performed knowingly by Greenwald’s husband, contrary to how the mainstream media and the couple played it out initially, we must move to the next equally important fact.

Not All Roads Go Through London

Even before the detention drama, right from the beginning, immediately after the initial Snowden-NSA story broke, Glenn Greenwald’s publicity rounds and his interviews emphasized that he and his partner had become major targets. He consistently expressed his suspicions that they were being watched and spied upon. Of course, it made sense. But here is what didn’t make any sense whatsoever: Sending your lover-husband to Germany to download thousands of top-secret stolen documents sought by all the super powers in the world, under their watchful eyes, and then carry it in a laptop around the world and international airports.

How could one claim that he is a major target, that he and his husband are being watched and spied upon, being threatened, and being robbed, yet, in the midst of all these circumstances, that same person send his lover around the globe to download the most-wanted government data and carry it through antagonistic countries’ airports?

In June 2013, Glenn Greenwald was busy giving interviews on him and his husband becoming a target, and having to take major precautions due to being watched:

Not surprisingly, since Greenwald has deepened his relationship with Snowden, he has taken extra digital security precautions, including communicating only by encrypted e-mail.

“When I was in Hong Kong, I spoke to my partner in [Rio de Janeiro] via Skype and told him I would send an electronic encrypted copy of the documents,” Greenwald noted. “I did not end up doing it. Two days later his laptop was stolen from our house and nothing else was taken. Nothing like that has happened before. I am not saying it’s connected to this, but obviously the possibility exists.”

           

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Miranda on their laptops being stolen and becoming a target as early as June 2013, when Greenwald went to Hong Kong:

“And that’s when it all started,” Miranda says in a once-upon-a-time tone. It was with this Skype conversation, the couple believe, that Miranda became a target not only of government surveillance but intimidation to suppress Greenwald’s journalism.

Another important point relevant to this insane drama scenario has to do with Greenwald’s husband’s transit airport choice: London’s Heathrow. Of all the countries in the world the two main countries most affected by Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks are: The United States and the United Kingdom.

Glenn Greenwald and his husband did not only ignore the supposed threats and surveillance. David Miranda didn’t only go to Germany, download thousands of stolen NSA documents, and bring those top secret documents back to Glenn Greenwald in Brazil. He also chose the UK’s, London’s, Heathrow airport as his long-haul transit hub.

In case you are not aware, after the United States, Snowden’s leaks targeted and affected the United Kingdom the most. How could Greenwald and Miranda not register this fact? After all, their reports from June 2013 until Miranda’s drama contained many headlines involving the UK. Let me give you a few examples:

June 17, 2013

Documents uncovered by Edward Snowden show British eavesdropping agency GCHQ repeatedly hacking into diplomats' phones, emails: report

June 22, 2013

“GCHQ is worse than US', says whistleblower Edward Snowden as he claims British spies are collecting huge amounts of data from internet and phone calls”

June 21, 2013

GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications

July 7 2013

GCHQ Surveillance: The Power of Britain's Data Vacuum

July 20, 203

On July 20 GCHQ ordered Guardian to destroy Snowden files because its servers weren't secure

In a very thought-provoking article Bob Cesca also asks the same question:

Miranda was transporting volumes of stolen classified documents between two prime movers associated with one of the biggest stories of the Summer — a story that’s embarrassed both the United States and the United Kingdom. He was being paid to do it. Anyone who expected a smooth journey through an international airport without any security issues was lying to themselves.

So why would Greenwald and Miranda pick one of the most risky and threatening airports in the world for their mission involving transporting some of the world’s most classified official documents?

Was London the only available hub to travel from Berlin-Germany to Rio-Brazil? Of course not. Just the opposite. Just run a simple query, and you’ll see that Miranda could have chosen among dozens of flights other than London’s Heathrow. He could have gotten to Brazil via transit in Madrid-Spain, or, Lisbon-Portugal, or, Paris-France, or … But no. Greenwald and his courier husband picked a British airport: London’s Heathrow.

Why Not a New Venture: The World’s Best Encryption Services!

Immediately following his husband’s Heathrow Detention Drama Greenwald began handing out his in-advance-prepared canned answer to those who questioned the sanity of having his husband travelling around the world with a laptop filled with thousands of stolen NSA documents. He parroted the following answer: No worries, because the documents were so magnificently encrypted that no one could ever decrypt them. Neither NSA nor MI6, nor MI5, nor CIA, nor any terrorists nor anyone in the world could ever access those documents. Yeah, we are that good. Period. Let’s check out one version of this canned response:

“We both now typically and automatically encrypt all documents and work we carry – not just for the NSA stories,” Greenwald said in an email to Forbes. “So everything he had – for his personal use and everything else – was heavily encrypted, and I’m not worried at all that they can break that.”

Here is another one, where Greenwald claims to have mastered the world’s most amazing encryption technique unbreakable by anyone in this world:

But he told ITV News "even the most advanced intelligence services" would find it "impossible" to access information that he and Mr. Miranda carry across the world because it is too well encrypted.

The responses from my former NSA sources were unanimous. They basically said the following:

Wow. This is phenomenal. This dude didn’t have to sell out to PayPal billionaire Omidyar. With that kind of ability, the man can set up his own shop and make billions of dollars!

Here is a more eloquent and sophisticated response to Greenwald’s claim to have come up with the world’s safest encryption mastery:

Assessments within the information security industry, however, suggest Greenwald’s confidence may be misplaced. In fact, when Conrad Constantine, a research team engineer at AlienVault, was asked what information the authorities may be able to glean from Miranda’s devices, “The short answer," he said, "is whatever they want.”

    

Let’s put this claim of being a genius aside, and let’s talk about another lie by omission that was exposed after the initial story became the official story.

Greenwald’s courier husband was not only carrying a laptop loaded with top secret stolen NSA documents that were geniusly encrypted. He was also carrying in his pocket a piece of paper that had the codes and passwords to some of these top secret NSA documents. I am not joking. If you had not heard of this before you have the mainstream media to be thankful for, since they made sure that they followed the original scripted-narrative all along.

Here is a follow up exposé on how David Miranda carried the instructions and passwords to some of the so-called encrypted top secret files in his laptop:

The government’s statement claims possession of the documents by Mr. Miranda, Mr. Greenwald and the Guardian posed a threat to national security, particularly because Mr. Miranda was carrying a password alongside a range of electronic devices on which classified documents were stored. Keeping passwords separate from the computer files or accounts to which they relate is a basic security step.

Among the unencrypted documents ... was a piece of paper that included the password for decrypting one of the encrypted files on the external hard drive recovered from the claimant… “The fact that ... the claimant was carrying on his person a handwritten piece of paper containing the password for one of the encrypted files ... is a sign of very poor information security practice.”

As always Greenwald tried to recover from the exposé with his usual fudging. According to him having the instructions, codes and passwords would not help the GCHQ in decryption of the documents. After all, didn’t we say he’d come up with the world’s greatest one and only genius encryption? However, the UK government says otherwise:

Oliver Robbins, a senior adviser for intelligence security and resilience in the Cabinet Office, said that while the memory sticks Mr. Miranda had were encrypted, the Government had been able to view 58,000 pages of highly classified documents on one of them because Mr. Miranda had passwords and basic instructions written on paper he was carrying.

Of course, according to Mr. Greenwald they are all lying, and no one should ever consider his own thick record when it comes to lying and fudging. The example below is a good one to illustrate one more time this consistent trait exhibited by Mr. Greenwald.

Greenwald: They “Denied” My Husband’s Request for an Attorney

We already talked about Greenwald making hundreds of publicity rounds, giving mainstream media interviews, and milking this bizarre-ly scripted detention drama. We have already covered the initial omission of his husband’s paid trip as a courier (aka mule) on the payroll of the Guardian. But that’s not all.

To make the theatrical performance more dramatic and heart-wrenching, Glenn Greenwald went on record dozens of times claiming that his mule husband was denied his right to an attorney while under interrogation. Let us quote him directly from one of his many mainstream interview records [All Emphasis Mine]:

“This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process,” Greenwald said. “To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ. The actions of the UK pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere.

Here is Greenwald again, even more specific in his lie:

The official - who refused to give his name but would only identify himself by his number: 203654 - said David was not allowed to have a lawyer present, nor would they allow me to talk to him.

Then, one day later, the Guardian’s story changed. So did Greenwald’s. Only after the media reported that Miranda “refused” a lawyer because he didn’t trust the UK. Here is Guardian changing its original story line again:

He was offered a lawyer and a cup of water, but he refused both because he did not trust the authorities.

A Publicity Stunt, or, the Calico Kitten in Wag-the-Dog?

Now that we have documented the contradictions and lies pertaining to David Miranda’s paid and in-advance-calculated mission trip, Greenwald and Miranda’s never-explained bizarre choice of the London Heathrow Hub, the genius encryption claim accompanied by instructions and password codes for the treasures in Miranda’s laptop, the lies on being denied an attorney, let’s examine the possible purposes for this sensationalized Heathrow Detention Drama.

I am going to go back to the lengthy interview given by David Miranda to Natasha Vargas-Cooper. According to Miranda, his stay with Laura Poitras in Berlin had other equally important business purposes. What business matters? Well, according to Miranda, during this time period, in August 2013, Greenwald and Poitras were spending time and energy securing the best and most lucrative movie and other life-rights deals [All Emphasis Mine]:

Miranda started making arrangements to fly to Berlin and stay with Poitras. The simplest reason, Miranda explains: “Laura doesn’t like to talk on the phone.” And there was plenty to talk about — primarily movie rights. Studios started courting Miranda, Greenwald, and Poitras for rights to their story since Poitras’ first images of an unshaven Snowden began to saturate the news cycle. (All signs point to a Sony-helmed production with Ed Norton perhaps playing Greenwald; Greenwald says he doesn’t care much which actor is chosen, but half-jokingly adds that only David Miranda could play David Miranda — “Who else could be so smoldering and broody?”) He planned to go Berlin to meet with Poitras and her editors to strategize on getting the best and “most serious” version of their story made into a movie, Miranda says.

Miranda flew to Berlin on Aug. 18 and did the typical club and upscale restaurant scene with Poitras and some of her friends in and around Alexanderplatz. Poitras and Miranda hashed out some details about movie rights.

Now remember, this is only two months after the Snowden-NSA story became public. Yet we have Greenwald and Poitras already busily involved in securing the best and most lucrative movie and book right deals. Could this be a strategically timed marketing and publicity stunt to drive up the price of their business, movie and book deals? Was this a marketing ploy created by Poitras-Greenwald and Miranda-who is also striving for high-sums and movie deals? Before you write-off such a logical possibility, consider it based on Miranda’s talent, goals and objectives [All Emphasis Mine]:

Miranda has the day off from a cramped school week that includes a major group project on branding and marketing for a local café. Miranda is in his final year at university, where he is majoring in communications. He would ideally like to become a marketing and communications specialist for a major media company, particularly one with a thriving video game department.

Glenn and I have talked all the time about what doing these stories would do to our lives. Since we met, I’ve pushed him and supported him,” Miranda says. He starts counting on his fingers: “I’ve helped him negotiate contracts; I make sure he gets paid what he deserves — Glenn just wants to work and sometimes will do it for cheap.

How much publicity would a well-plotted and well-acted detention drama at Heathrow Airport create? A lot. Didn’t it? How much value would it add to their movie and book rights? Tremendously, of course. Wouldn’t it? Thus, considering all the contradictions, omissions, lies, and exaggerations, could this be a publicity stunt? Highly possible.

There is also a logical possibility of even higher-level directorates and producers for this melodramatic detention story that never added up. Let us watch a short clip from another one of my favorite movies, Wag the Dog, in order to understand what I’m referring to:

Had the establishment and their script writers decided to insert a cat in their wag-the-dog script? If so, which character is David Miranda in this scripted drama? Is he the Albanian damsel running across Heathrow Airport? Or is he the Calico Kitten being held, shown-off and commoditized by the damsel (his wife-Glenn Greenwald)? I leave the answer up to you. Your call.

# # # #

Sibel Edmonds’ Series on NSA-Snowden-Glenn Greenwald

Part I: The Doomsday Insurance Cache That Was, and Then Never Was

Dear Mr. Snowden, It’s Time to Come Out & Take a Stand Publicly as to Your Intentions

Establishment-Made Heroes, Blind Seekers of Saviors & Suckers

Green-Light for Greenwald: Government Duplicity or Government Duality?

Greenwald-Omidyar Venture: Blurring Lines Between Being A Source & Being A Journalist

Greenwald Goes on Record: “I Don’t Doubt PayPal Cooperates with NSA!”

BFP Report- Omidyar’s PayPal Corporation Said To Be Implicated in Withheld NSA Documents

Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidder

Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

Green-Light for Greenwald: Government Duplicity or Government Duality?

Patterns play a major role in identifying entities. We get to know people, organizations and governments based on their record and their pattern of behavior and actions. This is a fact. What happens when an entity identified by a consistent set of patterns suddenly deviates and engages in actions and behavior that completely differ from all its previous ones? We question the sudden deviation. We question the reasons behind the differentiation. Because we must. Because we have to-especially when the entity in question is our government and the current ruler of our lives.

Allow me to present you with a pattern that has been the consistent modus operandi of the United States government when it comes to real whistleblowers and exposure of the government’s criminal deeds through unauthorized disclosures and leaks.

The following summarizes our government’s record and pattern when it comes to dealing with its whistleblowers and those who challenge the government by making incriminating information public via disclosures and or releasing (leaking) documents:

Elimination of the Messengers’ Jobs and Income

Prevention of Objective Publicity and Media Coverage via Government Media Partners

Utilization of the Courts as Their Tentacles’ Extension to Place Official Gag Orders

Utilization of the Courts as Their Tentacles’ Extension for One-Sided Prosecutions

Utilization of the Courts as Their Tentacles’ Extension for Imprisonment of the Adversary

Utilization of Blackmail & Pressure to Prevent Publication of Books and or Articles

Consistent Slander and Successful Attempts to Marginalize and Defame

Based on firsthand experience, my intimate knowledge of hundreds of whistleblower cases through my organization and relationships, and a decade of research, study and observation, I could take up hundreds of pages to list and elaborate upon case after case that demonstrate the pattern as consistent when it comes to our government’s response and dealings with its whistleblowers and adversaries. This is meant to be a brief commentary not a novella, so I refrain. However, I will list a few examples to illustrate the pattern, and also to honor those who have suffered greatly as a result of our government’s consistency when it comes to its dealing with the incriminating exposure and the messengers of the truth.

After three years of confinement Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in Jail for leaking incriminating documents on government wrongdoings and criminal activities.

After a years-long investigation, John Kiriakou was charged with three counts of espionage, one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and one count of making false statements as a result of his 2007 ABC News interview in which he said the CIA was torturing prisoners and that this torture was official US government policy.

For acting out of conscience and refusing to stand by as the NSA disregarded Americans' safety and privacy, Thomas Drake was criminally prosecuted.  The government conducted an armed raid of Drake's home. The DOJ indicted Drake under the Espionage Act with improper "retention" – not disclosure – of allegedly classified information, and Drake faced decades in prison.

Shami Leibowitz, a former FBI Hebrew translator, was sentenced to 20 months in prison in 2010 after pleading guilty to leaking classified information to a reporter.

Edward Snowden has been charged by the U.S. government for leaking details of the NSA’s illegal (unconstitutional) surveillance.

NSA whistleblower Russell Tice was fired and persecuted by the government for questioning and disclosing NSA’s illegal practices.

I could go on and list dozens of more known cases where those who challenged our government with disclosing illegal activities have ended up being fired, stripped of all income, persecuted, prosecuted, and or ended up in prison. This government pattern also extends to journalists- For example, in the case of James Risen.

Another commonality we see in the cases of Manning, Assange, Kiriakou … is the struggle these truth-tellers go through to secure legal representation, a defense fund, family income for basic survival, and so much more hardship inflicted by the government and its establishment tentacles- mental, psychological, financial, emotional. Remember how the public defense fund for Wikileaks was suspended. Remember how much hardship Manning’s defense fund had to go through. Recall how Russell Tice could not secure organizational support and even an attorney to represent him.

I believe based on what has been reported by the media, this brief overview, and more than a few examples, we get a good grasp of the government’s classic pattern of behavior and actions, and which is intimately paired up with its other establishment partners such as the mainstream media and publications.

Now allow me to present a case in which the government completely deviates from its well-established and well-known pattern and record.

A whistleblower, Edward Snowden, risks everything to obtain over 50,000 pages of government documents that expose many criminal deeds committed by the government. He has to leave the country since he knows what happens to those who engage in this type of disclosure. He hands over all these documents to two self-proclaimed journalists-Greenwald and Poitras, and entrusts them with its disclosure, because that was supposedly his intention in the first place: For the public to know what its government (rulers) have been doing in secrecy and behind their backs. He goes to Russia and stays there in order to escape prosecution and imprisonment.

Our government publicly declares Edward Snowden a traitor, criminal and a thief. Our government says it doesn’t matter if these documents implicate us in outrageous criminal (unconstitutional) operations and activities. What he has done is theft: These documents belong to us, that they are highly classified and sensitive, and that the whistleblower has to be prosecuted and jailed under the Espionage Act. So yes, these are the claims our government has been making regarding Snowden’s documents, and his action to obtain and release them.

Are you with me so far? Very good. Because here is what happens next:

Once Edward Snowden gives Glenn Greenwald his entire cache, Greenwald then becomes the person who possesses the documents that the U.S. government considers stolen, highly classified. And when he starts releasing a very few pages of these documents (less than 1%), he becomes the person who not only has in his possession highly classified stolen government documents, but also is the person who is engaged in selectively releasing and publicizing some of these documents. According to the government, when Snowden engaged in these exact same acts, holding and distributing the documents, he was committing an act of treason, theft, and illegal disclosures, all prosecutable under the Espionage Act.

Please let me pause here and emphasize the fact that I oppose our government’s characterization of the documents and the whistleblower, and I view the government’s actions against whistleblowers and releasing incriminating documents as completely wrong. I have always sided with real whistleblowers, and I always will.

Now, let’s move on, and observe how, suddenly, our government changes its position, completely deviates from its consistent pattern when it comes to whistleblowing and leaking, and acts totally contrary to how it always has acted in response to its adversaries who disclose and publicize incriminating information that exposes its illegal activities and operations.

Glenn Greenwald has in his possession over 50,000 pages of highly classified government documents. The government comes out publicly and sanctions his possession of the documents it previously claimed to be stolen government properties.

Holder indicated that the Justice Department is not planning to prosecute former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald.

Glenn Greenwald continues his ‘selective’ release of a very few documents. The government takes an entirely new position that says, it is okay, and that it is not going to investigate and prosecute the person who is disseminating ‘some’ of this highly-classified and stolen material.

After stating that the Justice Department has not given up its efforts to repatriate Edward Snowden, Holder said that the department is not, however, planning to take action against Greenwald.

…He said: Unless information that has not come to my attention is presented to me, what I have indicated in my testimony before Congress is that any journalist who’s engaged in true journalistic activities is not going to be prosecuted by this Justice Department…

Now remember, this same Justice Department, Eric Holder, has been going after New York Times journalist, James Risen on a much smaller case, and for far less significant charges.

Glenn Greenwald puts some (Less than 1%) of these documents out for auction and invites book publishers to come and bid. He promises to reserve some of these highly-classified documents for the book deal offered by the highest bidder. The mainstream publishers take his invitation and start bidding on it so that they could publish some reserved and exclusive and juicy classified documents. The highest bidder offers millions of dollars and seals the exclusive deal. The government sees nothing wrong or illegal with this, and gives its consent with its silence and ‘go ahead’ nod.

Glenn Greenwald, the investigative reporter who broke the story on NSA leaker Edward Snowden and the U.S. government's secret surveillance programs, has inked a deal to write a book on the subject. According to the publisher, it will "contain new revelations exposing the extraordinary cooperation of private industry and the far-reaching consequences of the government’s program, both domestically and abroad."

His new book was acquired by Bershtel from Dan Conaway at Writers House Llc. International rights have been sold in Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway and Sweden by Devon Mazzone, a director of Subsidiary Rights at Macmillan.

Glenn Greenwald puts himself as the holder of the 50,000-page cache on another auction bid. PayPal Corporation’s Billionaire Owner, Pierre Omidyar, bids high, $250 million, in return for only one thing: Getting access and ownership of ‘some’ of these stolen and highly-classified documents.

A recent Rolling Stone profile noted that “Omidyar came to Greenwald specifically because of the Snowden leaks.” Given that those leaks deal primarily with how government agencies have accessed data from technology companies in the name of law enforcement, eBay’s eagerness to cooperate with those same agencies without so much as a subpoena is troubling.  It is notable, too, that aside from his continuing stockholding in eBay, Omidyar has jointly invested in at least one startup (Innocentive) with the CIA’s venture capital fund, In-Q-Tel.

The government gives its nod and consent to this deal as well: Basically, the government says, this billionaire and his news company are allowed to disseminate the documents we previously declared as stolen, very sensitive and highly-classified.

To make this most convoluted and outrageous story short: while the whistleblower who obtained and released the documents to two journalists had to escape the country, be threatened with death and prosecution and jail, the secondary owner of these same stolen and highly-classified documents was able to secure a $250 million joint venture with a government-connected American corporate mogul in the United States, strike multi-million dollar deals with American mainstream mega publishers and Movie Studios, charge mega bucks for exclusive interviews and information, show his face regularly on all American mainstream media outlets and pose for every single mainstream magazine …

Doesn’t this beg the question? Show me a single case of real whistleblowing and leaking involving thousands of pages of classified government documents implicating the U.S. government, where the whistleblower and or leaker and disseminator was not persecuted, prosecuted and or jailed. Point to one case where the leaker is officially rewarded with a $250 million business venture with a mega corporation who happens to be an intimate partner in the government’s surveillance operations, millions of dollars in book and movie deals, consistent mainstream media coverage and mega bucks for exclusive interviews and selective leaks.

You won’t be able to show a single other case where our government has deviated from its previous pattern of behavior and action when it comes to dealing with and punishing real whistleblowing and real leaking. Not one. Not a single one.

Then, what has caused this deviation? Has the United States government changed into a tolerant and open entity that encourages and rewards whistleblowing? Is this a case of duality, where the government is inflicted with multiple personality syndrome, and all of a sudden is showing its hidden personality no one had ever seen before? Or is it a case of government duplicity in a shenanigan created for reasons far more sinister and dark?

# # # #

Related articles in this series:

Greenwald-Omidyar Venture: Blurring Lines Between Being A Source & Being A Journalist

Greenwald Goes on Record: “I Don’t Doubt PayPal Cooperates with NSA!”

BFP Report- Omidyar’s PayPal Corporation Said To Be Implicated in Withheld NSA Documents

Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidder

Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

BFP Breaking News- Omidyar’s PayPal Corporation Said To Be Implicated in Withheld NSA Documents

The U.S. Government, An Implicated Billionaire, Fortune-Seeking Journalists &        A Public in the Dark

Update 2:
Glenn Greenwald Goes on Record: “I Don’t Doubt PayPal Cooperates with NSA!”

Update 1:
Verbatim Copy of Mr. Binney’s Statement

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.

BFP was recently contacted by a retired NSA official who claims that the documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden contain extensive documentation pertaining to NSA’s partnership with major U.S. financial institutions, including credit card companies and PayPal Corporation. The official, who requested anonymity, also alleges that a deal was made in early June, 2013 between the journalists involved in this recent NSA scandal and U.S. government officials, which was then sealed by secrecy and nondisclosure agreements by all parties involved.

Upon receiving this report BFP contacted three other high-level former NSA officials for additional information and comments.

On December 11, 2013 we contacted Mr. William Binney, a former top official at the National Security Agency (NSA), and asked him to comment on the legitimacy of the above report, and whether he had any knowledge of the partnership and cooperation between NSA and financial institutions such as PayPal. He confirmed the legitimacy of the report and added:

The NSA has had the cooperation of major financial institutions, including credit card companies, to obtain all financial transactions of these companies’ clients-international and domestic. Further, the NSA not only obtains and stores the financial data of Americans and foreigners, but it also shares them with other government agencies such as the FBI and DEA.

When asked about the apparent conflict of interest and controversy involving the new business venture between the journalists in question and PayPal’s billionaire owner Pierre Omidyar, he had the following statement:

Sunlight, transparency, is the only cure; the only way to bring about needed changes. This is why the public is entitled to have all the evidence and documents. The partnership with PayPal’s owner, thus, the new ownership of Mr. Snowden’s documents by an individual who is implicated in these documents, presents grave concerns and consequences, and a major conflict of interest for transparency, integrity and whistleblowers.

Russell Tice, a former NSA Intelligence Analyst and Capabilities Operations Officer, also confirmed the report, and stated that based on his knowledge, NSA regularly obtains financial information from major financial institutions, including credit card companies and PayPal. In January 2009, during an interview with Keith Olberman, he stated that information from credit card records and other financial transaction was being collected and stored by NSA (See the interview here).

On December 10, 2013, in an exclusive interview with BFP, Mr. Tice expanded upon the NSA-Financial Institutions collusion:

For NSA, information from financial institutions such as PayPal is equally if not more valuable and sought after than that obtained from social media and other software companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google.” He added, “I wouldn’t doubt the existence of evidence and documents implicating corporations such as PayPal within the large cache obtained by Edward Snowden. The partnership and data collection arrangements have existed for many years.”

When asked about his opinion on Glenn Greenwald’s new $250 Million venture partnership with PayPal Corporation’s billionaire owner Pierre Omidyar, multi-million dollar book and movie deals, and recent unexplained immunity from the U.S. government, he stated the following:

“I would be outraged and highly vocal if I were in Edward Snowden’s shoes. For a journalist whom I had placed my trust in to go and withhold documents meant for the public?! For the journalist to make fortune and fame based on my sacrifices and disclosure?! Forming a lucrative business partnership with entities who have direct conflicts of interest?! No. That wouldn’t have been acceptable.”

Despite our submitted requests for confirmation, denial or comments, PayPal has refrained from responding to this report and contained allegations.

Other whistleblowers from the intelligence community have also expressed grave concerns over the serious implications of the recent venture partnership between journalist Glenn Greenwald and PayPal owner Pierre Omidyar. Indeed, the journalists in question have decided to hold back the release of the remaining 99% of the whistleblower’s documents, and have been inconsistent and vague as to when and how much they intend to release further documents. Their decision to withhold the majority of the documents appears to coincide with their new $250 million business venture with PayPal’s Omidyar, and recent mega-bucks book and movie deals.

Crytome.Org’s John Young, whom we sought comments from for this news story, considers the claims by these former NSA insiders valid and legitimate:

Government access to financial transactions has always been top priority for all government agencies, worldwide. Nothing is more important to governments than where the money is, especially money for taxation required to avoid death-stake in the heart of governments. So it is consistent that NSA (and other spies) have access to all on- and off-line financial services providers. As you know, financial services are required to cooperate with their governments, perhaps second only to defense industries, perhaps first due to the need to track worldwide arms sales. Control of arms means control of wealth, and nothing is more appreciated by the few wealthy to offload arms cost to millions of taxpayers.

We asked Mr. Young how he viewed the implications of the same billionaire who is allegedly implicated in these documents, buying out the involved reporters (both of them) and getting ownership of the whistleblower’s leaked documents:

Billionaires are as obliged as financial services to cooperate with governments in order to protect their wealth and to guard against excessive taxation, expropriation, confiscation, prosecution, stigmatization and exclusion from government contracts. Cooperation with governments is essential for wealth accumulation, the greater the wealth the greater the cooperation… Whistleblowing on the whistleblowing industry is overdue, but that will take courage and ingenuity to avoid appearing to have been taken over by those expecting to avoid full disclosure.

Here is what WikiLeaks had to say about Pierre Omidyar and his PayPal Corporation’s war on whistleblowers:

"How can you take something seriously when the person behind this platform went along with the financial boycott against WikiLeaks?" Harrison was referring to the decision in December 2010 by PayPal, which is owned by eBay, to suspend WikiLeaks' donation account and freeze its assets after pressure from the US government. The company's boycott, combined with similar action taken by Visa and Mastercard, left WikiLeaks facing a funding crisis.

"His excuse is probably that there is nothing he could have done at the time," Harrison continued. "Well, he is on the board of directors. He can't shake off responsibility that easily. He didn't even comment on it. He could have said something like: 'we were forced to do this, but I am against it'."

Whistleblower William Russell, who served with the NSA, U.S. Secret Service, and as an officer and transport pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps, had the following reaction to this exploitive PayPal-Journalist-Government collusion:

I completely agree with these whistleblowers. This is a major conflict of interest and highly convoluted. Omidyar has billions at stake if the details of his cooperation with government is ever exposed. So this guy pays $250 million and buys out the 2 journalists who have the entire cache?! Simply outrageous!"

Sibel Edmonds, the founder and director of National Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) which represents over 150 government national security whistleblowers, states:

We have been told that these journalists have had over one hundred meetings with U.S. government officials in order to clear what “could be” or “could not be” released. That’s a fact, and it is highly disturbing. On one hand they say the government considers these documents and revelations highly classified and stolen property. Yet, we see a mainstream publisher offering millions of dollars to the journalist, and getting a ‘go ahead’ from the US government to publish it. We see a billionaire corporate man, never known for being pro civil liberties or Human Rights, and someone who is implicated in these illegal government activities paying off the journalists and getting ownership of the NSA documents. We see a government sanctioned Hollywood mega-million movie deal. We see lies, inconsistencies, contradictions, censorship, voluntary withholding, exploitation of a whistleblower … This smoke and mirrors filled fakery stinks to high heaven!

As stated by Guardian’s Rusbridger, who recently gave evidence to the British parliamentary committee about stories based on Snowden’s NSA leaks: Greenwald and the Guardian had consulted with government officials and intelligence agencies – including the FBI, GCHQ, the White House and the Cabinet Office – on more than 100 occasions before the publication of stories.

The enormous conflict of interest and ethical impropriety of PayPal owner Omidyar’s business venture with Glenn Greenwald, the journalist in possession of the documents, is not limited to PayPal being directly implicated in documents exposing NSA’s illegal activities and operations. There are other equally disturbing and outrageous facts that put in question the integrity of the journalists, including their sudden enormous gains, wealth, fame, and the apparent government’s consent.

There is documented evidence illustrating Pierre Omidyar’s historical attitude and position on publishers, reporters and whistleblowers who publicize incriminating government documents. Here is one, coming directly from billionaire Omidyar:

That’s right. The above twit was typed by Omidyar’s own fingers on July 16, 2009.

But please don’t be mistaken. Pierre Omidyar doesn’t only talk the talk. No sir, the man actually walks his talk. Slightly over a year after Omidyar made the above statement he engaged in the following action:

NEW YORK: US-based online payment service PayPal has decided to block financial transfers to WikiLeaks after governments around the world initiated legal action against the whistleblower website.

"PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity," PayPal said in statement released late Friday.

Wikileaks was not the only whistleblower entity to fall victim to PayPal’s war on government whistleblowers’. In 2011, two years after freezing Wikileaks’ account, Omidyar’s PayPal cut off the account for Bradley Manning Support:

Glyn Moody now points us to the news that PayPal has also decided to cut off the group "Courage to Resist," which was handling funds for Bradley Manning's defense effort. PayPal admits there's no legal basis for this. Apparently, the company just doesn't believe that some people should be allowed a fair trial.

The report also notes that they've had a PayPal account in good standing since 2006, with no problems at all. It's only once they were taking funds for Bradley Manning that PayPal shut them down. This is somewhat horrifying, frankly, and raises serious questions about PayPal as a business worth trusting.

Then, yet another recent example of violations inflicted by PayPal, this time upon Mailpile. Mailpile attempted to create a webmail client that is built with both security and usability in mind to counter government’s intrusions into hosted webmail accounts:

PayPal, for reasons known only to PayPal, has decided to freeze their funds and won't let Mailpile access the money that people donated PayPal is demanding an insane level of detail into Mailpile's personal finances and businessEven worse, it seems that the folks at PayPal recognize that it holds power over Mailpile, and seems almost to be lording that power over them

The history of the billionaire’s stand and actions, when it comes to liberties, whistleblowers and freedom of the press, seems to be limited to: opposing, fighting and quashing government whistleblowers at every chance. Simply put, Mr. Omidyar has been consistently maintaining his stand as a billionaire who is pro-government, anti-government whistleblowers, and against transparency.

Omidyar’s pro government and anti-whistleblowers philosophy and principles are shared equally when it comes to his partners and close associates. Here is Mr. Omidyar’s PayPal Partner and close friend- Max Levchin, who says that the NSA isn’t being evil, and that the agency’s violation is for our own good and protection from terrorists:

The NSA is designed to protect us from terrorism, so even if it oversteps its bounds, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin says we shouldn’t hate it. That’s diametrically opposed to the sentiment of many in the tech industry, including Michael Arrington who thinks the NSA’s spying doesn’t stop terrorism — it is terrorism.

“I think it’s ridiculous for a citizen of a country that view his government’s duty to protect me, protect all of us from evil, from harm, from terrorists, from foreign powers meaning ill — to classify a body of government that is designed to figure out what might hit us next and prevent it, throwing them into an evil bucket is just thoughtless.”

Let’s watch Pierre Omidyar’s PayPal partner and close friend in action, shall we?

PayPal Co-Founder Defends NSA Surveillance

This interview was conducted in the summer of 2013. This was right in the midst of the Edward Snowden and NSA Scandal. This is what Pierre Omidyar and his closest friend and PayPal partner believed then. And this is what they believe now. There has been no change either in Omidyar’s or his partner’s position and belief since. There has been zero indication of either of them seeing the light called civil liberties.

PayPal co-founder Max Levchin is not the only PayPal man who is pro-NSA illegal surveillance and corporate-government partnerships in targeting the population at large. Here are other PayPal Men and former partners who have been directly linked to government spying and surveillance operations, and of course, the CIA:

Palantir Technologies, a Silicon Valley firm, is, according to the tipster, providing the technology that enables the mass-surveillance NSA project known as PRISM.

Palantir (which, at time of writing, had not responded to requests for comment) was founded in 2004 by, among others, venture capitalist Peter Thiel and CEO Alex Karp. It's a sort of second-party data intelligence company--it's not a public company, but it was founded with early investment from the CIA and is heavily used by the military and the White House. Karp is an ex-PayPal guy, and leveraged his expertise in security he gained at PayPal (which was constantly fighting off hackers) into his new venture.

Here is more on this CIA Company and its originators, all from PayPal’s early days:

Palantir’s advisors include Condoleezza Rice and former CIA director George Tenet, who says in an interview that “I wish we had a tool of its power” before 9/11. General David Petraeus, the most recent former CIA chief, describes Palantir to FORBES as “a better mousetrap when a better mousetrap was needed” …

We must not forget PayPal’s position and its actual business goals. PayPal is an international e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. It operates in 190 markets and manages more than 232 million accounts, more than 100 million of them active. PayPal allows customers to send, receive, and hold funds in 26 currencies worldwide. It is subject to the US economic sanction list and subject to other rules and interventions required by US laws or the government. All that, and the fact that PayPal has always been a valuable asset and partner of the U.S. government, even when it comes to operations directed against the people’s rights and privacy.

Remember, NSA wants access to our data. All data. Based on the latest revelations we already know that:

“Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft — they all get together with the NSA and provide the NSA with direct access to the backends to all of the systems you use to communicate, to store your data, to put things in the cloud, and even just to send birthday wishes and keep a record of your life. And they give the NSA direct access that they don’t need to oversee, so they can’t be held liable for it.”

So far, Greenwald and the rest of the mainstream media have been emphasizing a handful of company names valuable to the NSA as great sources of data gathering on individuals - companies and organizations such as Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo and Microsoft. Now think about it, if NSA is that interested in garbage personal details we post on Facebook, how interested would it be in a far more telling database such as PayPal, where it can get all our expenditures, money transfers, payments and donations?

Prior to Snowden revelations we had NSA’s easy access to and control of telecommunication companies such as AT&T and Verizon. Recently, based on less than 1% of Snowden’s documents we became aware of NSA’s incestuous partnership with social media and software companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple.

We still don’t have access to 99% of Snowden’s NSA documents and revelations. Obviously the 50,000+ page documentations includes many other companies and organizations, including those in possession of the public’s financial transaction data. We are talking credit card companies and other related financial institutions. More importantly, we are talking about one of the world’s largest online money transfer entities, PayPal Corporation.

Thus, we all should be alarmed when we see that those implicated in the whistleblower’s documented evidence are now forming a multi-million dollar business venture with those in possession of that evidence.  We all must question the unexplained changes in the U.S. government’s position on the ownership and publication of these documents. We must all be wary when we see how readily mainstream publishers and Hollywood studios are signing up to publicize these documents and the case with some unexplained immunity. We have to ask ourselves: what has changed? What gives? Only a few months ago there was all this talks about apprehension, jailing, hanging and droning of all parties involved. Only a few months ago the parties involved put on a magnificent show on how they were threatened, endangered, and were going to be persecuted and prosecuted. Then, suddenly, something changed. Something gave. Was it a secret deal struck between the government and the involved parties establishing immunity and support in return for something much more cynical and dark? Was it the involved parties using the cache as a blackmailing tool to secure a $250 million payoff?  Was it a solemn oath to withhold and never release the ‘real’ deal in return for a glamorous life with Hollywood studio deals and multi-million dollar book contracts? 

Which one is it? We have no way of knowing, since lips seem to have been sealed, and the release of the ‘real’ documents has been vaguely put on hold for years to come. On the other hand, thanks to some ‘real’ whistleblowers out there, we are getting some information putting this smoke and mirrors filled stage into perspective. Even if so far we have gotten to see only the tip of this convoluted and corrupted iceberg.

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Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post, the Founder & Director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

William Binney Spent almost 40 years at the NSA but resigned after Sept. 11 over concerns about growing domestic surveillance. He spent time as director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group and was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network.

Russell Tice is a Former NSA Intelligence Analyst & Capabilities Operations Officer Specializing in Offensive Information Warfare (O-IW). In 2005 Tice helped spark a national controversy over claims that the NSA and the DIA were engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional wiretaps on US citizens, and later admitted that he was one of the sources that were used in the NY Times’ reporting on the wiretap activity in 2005.

William H. Russell served nine years with the U.S. Secret Service as a Computer Systems Analyst, and nine years with NSA, working with and supervising NSA contractors for the installation and testing of computer systems. Mr. Russell also served four years as officer and transport pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1957, and is a Graduate of McPherson College, Kansas in Business Administration.

John Young is the founder and publisher of Crytome.Org, the digital library that functions as a repository for information about freedom of speech, cryptography, spying, and surveillance. According to its mission statement, "Cryptome welcomes documents for publication that are prohibited by governments worldwide, in particular material on freedom of expression, privacy, cryptology, dual-use technologies, national security, intelligence, and secret governance—open, secret and classified documents—but not limited to those."

Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidders

The NSA Whistleblowing Case: Something is Awfully Rotten in the State of …?

nullImagine 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.

For the past twelve years I have been known as one of the most notorious government whistleblowers, even given the title of The Most Classified Person in the History of the United States by a civil liberties organization. I am the founder and director of a whistleblower organization that includes over 150 national security whistleblowers. I have known and represented over 150 national security whistleblowing cases in Congress and the media. And let me tell you this, I have never seen a case that even comes close to this bizarrely unethical and despicable case.

A government whistleblower obtains over 50,000 pages of documents that implicate the government in severely illegal and unconstitutional practices. This whistleblower risks everything, including fleeing the country, in order to leak these documents and let the public know how its government has been breaking the nation’s laws and violating their rights. So he goes to another country and then entrusts all this evidence to a few reporters and wanna-be journalists. Why does he do that? He does it so that these reporters will present all this information to the public: not only those in the United States, but everyone all over the world. Think about it. Why else would someone risk everything, including his own life, to obtain and leak such documents? Are you thinking? Because what would be the point to all this, to taking all these risks, if 99% of these documents remain secret and hidden from the public? Ludicrous, right?

Now, here is what happens next: The whistleblower hands over these documents, and goes through a surreal escape journey. So surreal that even Hollywood could not have matched it. Of the handful of reporters who were entrusted with 50,000 documents, a few do nothing. By that I mean absolutely nothing. A couple from this entrusted group does a little bit more. They meet with a few mainstream media outlets, they spend many hours around the table with their mega companies’ mega attorneys and U.S. government mega representatives (the same government that is implicated in these documents). Then what happens? Here is what happens:

During the six-month period since they received the documents and the whistleblower’s story broke, the supposed-journalists released 1% (One Percent) of these documents:

Out of reported 50,000 pages (or files, not clear which), about 514 pages (>1%) have been released over 5 months beginning June 5, 2013. At this rate, 100 pages per month, it will take 42 years for full release. Snowden will be 72 years old, his reporters hoarding secrets all dead.

That’s right. A whistleblower breaks the law to obtain 50,000 documents, he flees the country to escape prosecution and jail time, he hands over these 50,000 pages to a handful of individuals in return for their promise to present these documents to the public, six months pass, and the public gets 1% of these documents. But please, wait. This is not all. Far more interesting and troubling things happen meanwhile.

The main wanna-be reporter begins his relentless pursuit of high dollars in return for … for what? In return for exclusive interviews where he would discuss some of this material. In return for a very lucrative book deal where he would expose a few extra pages of these 50,000-page documents. In return for a partnership with and extremely high salary from a Mega Corporation (think 1%) where he would … hmmmm, well, it is not very clear: maybe in return for sitting on and never releasing some of these documents, or, releasing a few select pages?

That’s right. The culprit is able to use his role in the whistleblower case, and his de facto ownership of the whistleblower’s 50,000-page evidence, to gain huge sums of money, fame, a mega corporate position, book and movie deals … yet, making sure that the public would never see more than a few percent of the incriminating evidence.

Of course, secondhand checkbook profiteers tend to be very savvy, able to blow smoke, muddy water, and obscure their real deeds and true personhoods. This particular one is famous for spending years as an ambulance-chasing style attorney, where all he had to do was to write dozens of pages to make cases that were never cases, or make real cases appear as if they never were.

Sensible people always advise against using personal background information to expose other non-personal cases of subjects. I agree with these sensible people. I think it is disgraceful to bring in irrelevant personal information to make a case on a non-personal issue. However, sometimes personal information becomes part of the picture and very relevant. Allow me to provide you with an example in our case. What if the personal facts paint a figure that does anything and everything for money and fame? What if a checkbook leaker (or a checkbook censorship agent) is the type of person who has engaged in the following:

· Has represented corrupt mega banks and financial institutions as an attorney to make mega bucks, yet claims to be a Marxist Leninist Socialist who supports the Occupy movement.

· Has left short-lived civil liberties activities to set up an exploitive pornography business with names such as Hairy Studs and Hairy Jock… All for money and profit.

· Has been known as an individual who has always used anything and everything to bring frivolous lawsuits (many of them) to get rich quick.

· Has been representing himself as a Marxist-Socialist, Liberal and Libertarian, simultaneously, and based on circumstances, never having to reconcile the discrepancies between those positions and his partnership with corporate billionaires, his luxurious lifestyle, putting on a Marxist front, representing himself as a Libertarian … and the list goes on. Which one is he? Really?

You see, when you add these qualities and personal history to the fact that a whistleblower and 50,000-pages of documents are being used to make mega money and mega fame, while simultaneously the public at large is being kept in the dark and 99% of these documents are censored, what do you get?

A few days ago the checkbook wanna-be journalist released a very long argument in defense of his indefensible actions and practices. I am going to address a couple of those, but I want you to keep in mind that the argument is coming from a person known as an ambulance-chaser attorney and litigious money grabber, thus is brilliant at obscuring facts and realities with mud and distortions.

Consider how a partnership with a mega billionaire corporate man is being characterized and fudged here:

It has the backing and is being built by someone whom I am absolutely convinced is dedicated to this model of independent, adversarial journalism.

This is not the first time this supposed pro-whistleblowers and civil liberties oriented wanna-be journalist has described his new Billionaire owner. The new owner has been characterized by him several times as a solid owner with a solid track record on whistleblowers issues, First Amendment, Freedom of the Press, etc.

We have been searching and researching the new owner’s record. There is not much to be found to qualify this man as someone with a good record on the significant areas mentioned above. None … except:

Paypal suspended online payments to WikiLeaks in December of 2010 after, its managers said, they read a letter by the State Department indicating WikiLeaks was breaking American laws. In retaliation, a group of Anonymous hacktivists brought down the payment site with DDoS attacks two days later. The hacktivists who were apprehended, known as the PayPal 14, were in court today and accepted plea bargains in order to avoid felony charges.

Omidyar has been 'the director and Chairman of the Board since eBay's incorporation in May 1996,' and noted that "eBay owns PayPal.”

In our next BFP Roundtable video session I will talk more about this, and other eye-brow raising items in Omidyar’s record, including his connections and associations with Iranian lobby groups for “Regime Change” in Iran. But for now, let’s shoot down this muddying counter-argument presented by someone with true expertise in muddying and fudging facts as an ambulance-chaser litigious attorney who has gotten away in life by threatening everyone he could with a lawsuit and libel suits.

Now back to lies, contradictions and then muddying it all a la the litigious attorney. For the last few months, whenever pressured about the 99% unreleased documents, the answers have been swinging between two or three more years to we are done with releasing. You see, this was not the case initially, not during the first couple of months prior to signing deals with mega corporate new sugar daddies and mega publishers for the book deals. Here is the triple-talking, mud-making and fudge-creating wanna-be journalist on June 26, 2013, the month the public saga began:

When they met, Snowden supplied Greenwald with a “volume of documents so great that I haven’t actually gone through them all.” Snowden was meticulous — Greenwald described the files as beautifully organized, “almost to a scary degree.” Stories based on the leaked documents will continue for another few months, Greenwald said, but not, he hopes, beyond that. “I get bored with myself,” he said. “If I’m still working on these stories a year from now, I’ll probably be in an asylum somewhere.”

So what happened since the greasy checkbook reporter made those statements? Please don’t tell me that at that point he was not aware how deep things went or how thick those documents were. Because he knew exactly how deep and how thick, and that they were all meticulously and beautifully organized: Meaning the whistleblower had done all the work for the reporters in advance. This was not a thick pile of hodgepodge documents - they were already analyzed, organized, categorized, sub-categorized, and sub-sub-categorized.  As for what happened since June 26, 2013? A lot.

A new very lucrative book deal was struck. He is being very secretive and tight-lipped on how many millions of dollars he received from this US mega publisher, however, he had to deal a whistleblower’s document to secure this deal:

According to the publisher, it will "contain new revelations exposing the extraordinary cooperation of private industry and the far-reaching consequences of the government’s program, both domestically and abroad."

So there - one reason why a checkbook wanna-be journalist is not providing the public with the information they have the right to know. How is that for integrity?

Further, no one is asking the crucial question: With the mega publishing corporations’ record, how is it that they are willing to publish classified government documents? Do you know what these same publishers said about my own book? Here is what they said:

“without the approval by the FBI-DOJ prepublication review board we will not publish your book. The government will come after us.”

So, isn’t it amazing that an American mega publisher, a mainstream American publisher, is giving millions to publish a book that will reveal US government classified material? I can tell you from experience and with one hundred percent certainty: the publisher has the government’s consent. How does that bear with the claims that this checkbook reporter is under arrest and even death threats by the U.S. government? Let me tell you something: it does not. What it tells you is this: A Dog & Pony Show put on by the U.S. government and its agents.

The checkbook wanna-be reporter is also securing a million dollar movie deal with Hollywood.

You had to know this was coming. There's a bidding war heating up between Hollywood studios over the rights to bring Glenn Greenwald's forthcoming tell-all book about the Edward Snowden affair to the big screen.

Well, as we all know, the CIA blesses these movie deals with mainstream Hollywood. Don’t we? Without the handlers’ blessing no such deal could have been made. When the pretender shows up at the Oscar Gala, ask yourself this: Weren’t they supposed to arrest and maybe even drone the hell out of this guy? So what happened, dude?

The exact same questions should be posed for a new mega corporate sugar daddy tucking checkbook journalists under his wing in return for…? Your guess is definitely as good as mine. The billionaire who stomped upon a whistleblower’s account with his PayPal Corporation has suddenly found a heart? I didn’t think so either 😉

In her first interview since leaving Moscow for Berlin last month, Harrison told German news weekly Stern: "How can you take something seriously when the person behind this platform went along with the financial boycott against WikiLeaks?" Harrison was referring to the decision in December 2010 by PayPal, which is owned by eBay, to suspend WikiLeaks' donation account and freeze its assets after pressure from the US government. The company's boycott, combined with similar action taken by Visa and Mastercard, left WikiLeaks facing a funding crisis.

"His excuse is probably that there is nothing he could have done at the time," Harrison continued. "Well, he is on the board of directors. He can't shake off responsibility that easily. He didn't even comment on it. He could have said something like: 'we were forced to do this, but I am against it'."

In our coming BFP Roundtable we will have first-hand accounts from reporters who have witnessed how our checkbook journalist has been asking for money in return for interviews and documents.

I started this commentary by introducing my credentials as a whistleblower and someone who has known and represented many government whistleblowers from the intelligence and law enforcement agencies- hundreds of whistleblowers, honorable people such as NSA’s Russ Tice, DEA’s Sandalio Gonzalez and FBI’s John Cole. In this case of a checkbook wanna-be journalist and a whistleblower, I have nothing but many questions when it comes to the whistleblower in question. I do consider the selfless act of releasing this incriminating information on our government’s illegality heroic; however, I have numerous unanswered questions for the whistleblower in question:

Did he give his full consent to the mainstream and checkbook reporters so that they could sit on 99% of these documents if they chose to?

Is he perfectly okay with this disgraceful and opportunist person using these documents to secure millions of dollars in book and movie deals?

Does he consider the censorship of 99% of his documents justified and okay? If so, what kind of image does he hope to maintain when the leaking is selective and based on bidding in dollars?

Does he have an arrangement where he gets a cut from the opportunist’s mega millions obtained via documents he entrusted him with? If so, wouldn’t that make him tainted and a culprit in this?

Why is he in Russia (in exile), when the checkbook opportunist is in the belly of the beast making deals in millions of dollars, and is about to head a $250 Million news corporation set up by his billionaire sugar daddy?

And finally, a bit crudely,

What the fu.. is wrong with this picture?! Because as a whistleblower and an expert on whistleblowers I see thousands of wrong things with this picture!

Please do not get me wrong here. I have no questions but answers when it comes to the checkbook opportunist in question. I have known about him for years, long before this NSA episode. What I don’t have is an answer when it comes to the NSA whistleblower in question. I have been sitting on the fence on this one. Unlike my own whistleblower members, I do not know this guy. I don’t. I have never corresponded with him, and he has never reached out to me or my organization. I keep going from silently cheering and supporting him, to doubting what he is all about. I have never seen a case like this. I don’t think anyone has. However, in light of the case of our checkbook journalist, Mainstream Publishers’ mega million book deals, Mainstream Hollywood’s mega studio deals, Mainstream Media backing and showcasing, and Mega Corporation’s mega millions getting involved … and in all this, zero retaliation or interference from our mega government known for being ruthless on whistleblowers, I just don’t get this case.

My experienced gut says something is awfully rotten in the state of … this NSA whistleblower-Checkbook Opportunist Drama Set. I get half of the rotten state, but am still wondering about the other half.

 

# # # #

Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.