I've now had two back-and-forths with Glenn Greenwald on Twitter, and I gotta say this guy stonewalls like Nixon. Like a politician who's hiding something and who is trying to confuse matters so that you don't know which end is up.
He asks what's the difference between the Washington Post getting a copy of the Snowden Docs and his startup getting one? Well, we know something about the Washington Post, and we don't know very much about his new venture. To a man as smart as Greenwald this must be obvious. I've seen him dodge a barrage of hard-ass questions on TV shows. His brain functions at a high-enough level that he certainly knows it's a bullshit question. And he must know what the issue is, but he'd dodging it.
He says they haven't started yet, why can't we leave them alone until they do. Well, it's not so much about his company, which I said would be interesting but not questionable if it weren't for the Snowden Docs. He says there are fourteen hires at NewCo and only two have anything to do with Snowden. But the Snowden Docs are their biggest "hire." The elephant in the room. Why doesn't Greenwald see it? (I'm sure he does.)
Finally Omidyar weighs in, saying "reporters manage and control their relationships with sensitive sources, not owners." But I don't think Greenwald is just a reporter at NewCo. My primary question has been this -- is he a principal or a mere employee. Different rules apply in either case. His role at the company is a basic question that they won't answer.
Last night I read a series of posts on an anonymous bloggers' site named Tarzie, and saw that this is an ongoing story that I'm coming to late. I never wanted to dig in this deeply. I thought of myself as a sort-of friend and ally of Greenwald and Omidyar (I am an actual friend of one of their hires, Jay Rosen). I just wanted answers to basic questions about the way the Snowden Docs are being handled, and deal with questions that would inevitably come up, from less friendly sources. At this point I'm no friend of this venture's. I think it's ill-conceived at best, and at worst, a way of Greenwald et al sacrificing the truth behind the Snowden Docs to help build their personal wealth and influence.
This is a very important point. There's a scandal revealed by the Snowden Docs. It should result in reform in the US government, really the world government, because the disease seems to infect all of them. If it doesn't happen, because the custodians of the docs were more focused on getting rich (or richer), then that's a terrible outcome and one that's as corrupt as the corruption that Snowden exposed.
They are often compared to Woodward and Bernstein, but remember what the outcome was there. Nixon resigned. A new President. A country shamed, and a long period of healing, that may not even be over yet. At least we addressed the problem. I was alive then, and was old enough to understand what was going on. The situation was untenable. Had Nixon stayed, the result would have been worse. He had to go.
In a parallel sense, if the Constitution is to mean anything as we go forward, the NSA has to get on a helicopter like Nixon did, and ride off into the sunset. And it looks less likely, and it also looks like Greenwald et al are complicit. This is not good.
I don't care one bit about their company. I care about the truth coming out and correcting the situation. If they aren't going to do it, they must get out of the way, without further delay.