Why was Glenn Greenwald using David Miranda as a mule for stolen, classified U.S. intelligence?
When I tweeted thanks to our security forces, saying Edward Snowden had stolen classified info and now we had it back, there was an outcry from lefties along these lines:
Louise Mensch doesn’t understand data. She thinks there’s only one copy. She thinks if I copy a photo I’ve stolen it. etc etc etc.
Equally, we had Alan Rusbridger trying to deflect the attention of the UK’s papers from the Guardian’s lies, smears and omissions on the Miranda mule story by diverting their attention to the smashing of Guardian computers by GCHQ. ‘We had copies of the data in New York and Rio’ he said, tweeting an obviously faked picture of a MacBook Air he said heavies had smashed that was actually the components of all sorts of different computers, leading to suspicions by normally on-side geeks that the Grauniad was faking the photo for effect with random computer parts.
Now I don’t want to do our Fourth Estate’s job for them but it looks like I’m going to have to (again) – after their supine closing of ranks just because Glenn Greenwald is a journalist, and their unwillingness to look at him, Miranda or the Guardian with a critical eye until after the damage was done.
Look, boys and girls, you hold politicians to account, hold YOUR OWN to account too. No fear no favour – stop turning a blind eye and swallowing the spin so uncritically.
Ask yourselves this damned obvious question. If the data was copied everywhere and it didn’t matter, why is Rusbridger talking about “copies in New York and Rio”?
Why is David Miranda carrying it on encrypted thumb drives?
Why is David Miranda acting as a go-between at all?
Haven’t Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenberg and the Guardian heard of Dropbox? Or P2P filesharing sites? There are a million ways to store locked data in the cloud.
He was returning to their home in Rio de Janeiro when he was stopped at Heathrow and officials confiscated electronics equipment, including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.
This Guardian quote does not say “rolls of film… written notebooks” etc. It describes only electronic storage devices for data. They could have saved David Miranda “He is my partner, he is not a journalist” ‘s ticket price and expenses by, you know, storing all that in the cloud or shipping it via FedEx.
Glenn Greenwald to the New York Times:
Ms. Poitras, in turn, gave Mr. Miranda different documents to pass to Mr. Greenwald. Those documents, which were stored on encrypted thumb drives, were confiscated by airport security, Mr. Greenwald said. All of the documents came from the trove of materials provided to the two journalists by Mr. Snowden.
But Miranda and Poitras used a human mule (if indeed we believe him, I absolutely don’t, that he didn’t know what he was carrying).
Yes, I realise I’m asking journalists to ask hard questions about another journalist and they like to keep those for people outside their club. Thank goodness for blogging and Twitter – and the smashing of big media’s gatekeeping hold on information.
Ask yourselves if Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras, are actively assisting Edward Snowden in his treacherous dissemination of classified, incredibly sensitive US and UK intelligence? From where I’m sitting, it looks like an attempt to fight charges in advance – by claiming that they are journalists and everything they do is covered by the First Amendment. Hence the New York Times putting Poitras on the cover of its magazine supplement this week and Greenwald’s repeated lies about the role of his husband and the events and aftermath of the detention to British journalists, unchallenged anywhere in the UK press, until I started tweeting about it & wrote my last blog on the topic.
They hope that claiming a journalistic role will protect them when they are stealing, storing and disseminating classified intel about not just NSA snooping but America’s intelligence programmes against China, Russia and so forth. They are, in doing so, risking countless lives. So are the Guardian newspaper. As Malcom Rifkind said countering BBC bias yesterday on the Today programme, the Guardian had no right to store that stolen intelligence or to report even on GCHQ data collection (legal, not illegal, data collection). As he said, the Guardian’s angle was the GCHQ could legally penetrate comms in a deeper way than was known – and of course the Guardian let Al Qaeda and others know that, meaning that terrorists will start protecting their communications. Some terrorists are sophisticated – others, like many extremist Islamist cells, are not. The latter have been warned off by the Guardian from ways that UK spooks were tracking them.
“Rusbridger was on weak ground” Rifkind said. “He knew he had no legal right to possess the material.” And the point about the Guardian’s immense arrogance was made extremely well in the Daily Mail by Simon Glover:
In a BBC radio interview yesterday, Mr Rusbridger claimed his newspaper had ‘held back a great deal’ of information from Snowden that might be harmful to Britain if it ever saw the light of day. Maybe it has, but some stuff has been published that was damaging.
It was because the Government feared the Guardian’s hard drives could contain unused material that might be hacked into by terrorists that it not unreasonably persuaded Mr Rusbridger to destroy them.
Indeed. On these physical hard drives a newspaper – just a newspaper, which takes on new staff all the time, where people come and go every day, including brand new employees, the Grauniad stored dangerous stolen classified intelligence. Remember Rusbridger’s tweeted “Macbook” photo that contained parts from all kinds of computers. One of two things is true about it:
1. The photo was faked by Rusbridger, and Guardian hacks assembled parts of many computers, not smashed up by GCHQ, for effect.
2. The photo was not faked. All the parts came from computers the Guardian allowed GCHQ to smash up. That would mean they were storing this classifed stolen data on multiple computers.
So let’s assume that 2. is true although I find the Guardian less and less trustworthy on all matters to do with this story. That means they were storing stolen data that could imperil our intelligence and UK and US intelligence agents’ lives, and materially help terrorist networks and despotic regimes like China and Russia, on a bunch of office computers.
Nice one, the Guardian! Because really, no sophisticated spy agency can remotely access any of those, can it? On your PC and Macbook and MacBook Air and all the other different computers in that pic, no terrorists can send a kid in as an (unpaid) Guardian intern who could pretty easily hack your stuff? You are secure over there in King’s Place, are you, #GuardianBond? And you are holding this stuff on all kinds of different computers, increasing the likelihood of hacks with each one?
In fact the shame is that the Government and GCHQ waited to go in there and demand destruction of the drives. They should have done it right away.
And so back to the question that the UK’s media and Twitter’s Greenwald obsessives are not asking.
If the data is stored in the cloud why is King’s Place keeping it on physical hard drives? Why is Glenn Greenwald using a human courier at all?
Because Greenwald, and not Miranda, is a US citizen – and it would be a serious felony for Greenwald to transmit, mail, send in the cloud etc, stolen CIA data that risks the lives of US intelligence agencies. If Miranda is doing the transporting Greenwald can argue that he never did this. That he only received the information and did not disseminate it.
Lastly, why is it so important that our police questioned Miranda for 9 hours – after offering him that lawyer that he refused? Well, they got him to surrender his computer and social media passwords. Quite bloody right too. God willing, on that phone, that computer, those soc med accounts, they find some encryption keys, some ways to get in to the Snowden intel he was muling, and save American lives. Of course we know Snowden, the traitor, has permanently leaked that intel to the enemies of America, from his interview with the South China Morning Post and the boasting of Julian Assange:
There is no stopping the publishing process at this stage. Great care has been taken to make sure that Mr. Snowden can’t be pressured by any state to stop the publication process.
Let’s just remind ourselves of Assange’s attitude to American lives and allies like translators:
Declan Walsh, the Guardian’s Islamabad correspondent, recalls one tense evening: “We went out to a Moorish restaurant, Moro, with the two German reporters. David Leigh broached the problem again with Julian. The response floored me. ‘Well, they’re informants,’ he said. ‘So, if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.’ There was, for a moment, silence around the table. I think everyone was struck by what a callous thing that was to say.
That’s the guy Snowden has given his files to. He should rot in jail for it for the rest of his life. So why does it matter that our security forces help the Americans with the stolen Snowden data they got back from Miranda? Because it’s by no means clear the Americans yet know the extent of what he has endangered:
By cracking the code from Miranda’s copy of the Snowden data, MI5 can help our American cousins know how bad it is and protect their, and our, intelligence agents from Snowden’s filthy treachery.
Well done indeed to our Border Police. And Theresa May and David Cameron need to be strong on this and absolutely unyielding. Being a journalist entitles you to report on a story. It does NOT entitle you to own, or to traffic, stolen intelligence data that puts UK and US spy programmes and agents’ lives at risk. These are not the Pentagon Papers; we already knew that when Edward Snowden told the Chinese regime, via their state engine the South China Morning Post, about US intelligence efforts against them, and we confirmed that when he leaked everything he had to the rape-charge fugitive Julian Assange.
If UK intelligence can show US intelligence that Glenn Greenwald was passing stolen, highly classified intelligence info – trafficking in it – to and from Laura Poitras, they should prepare indictments and extradition warrants for both of them. For that goes far beyond reporting on a story, to actual espionage.
Cameron and May should remain strong – let Labour and Yvette Cooper be the ones telling the British public that Miranda should have been free to smuggle CIA data on Britain’s GCHQ around, without let or hindrance.
And the Obama administration should think long and hard before they pre-judge (as a spokesman did) whether they should seek a warrant for the New York Guardian hard drives. Yes there is the First Amendment, but the “fire in a crowded theatre” rule doesn’t apply to openly leaking US intelligence operations against foreign powers. The Obama spokesman rather feebly ran from Britain’s stronger actions saying that in the US they wouldn’t do that (get a warrant to seize computers). Well, they should bloody well try. We might have retorted that in Britain, we wouldn’t have let a twenty-something hacker with no history of service have access to our deepest intelligence computers, either, and lift intel endangering our spies and our allies’ spies with total ease. If Obama were Bush, the US media would be all over that failure.
However, as with this post, it is for bloggers to ask the questions that journalists refuse to. Thank God for the internet, eh?
PS: don’t try to seize this post. It’s stored in the cloud.