Walter Pincus, Glenn Greenwald square off

American journalists "have decided to focus their intrepid journalistic attention not on the extremist and legally dubious surveillance behavior of the US government and serial deceit by its top officials, but on those who revealed all of that to the world," Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald wrote in an email to Washington Post columnist Walter Pincus Tuesday.

A Pincus column published Monday drew connections between Greenwald and WikiLeaks, which is providing support to Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who leaked secret documents about government surveillance to Greenwald, the documentarian Laura Poitras and Barton Gellman, who's reported on Snowden's leaks for The Washington Post.

"Poitras and Greenwald are well-known free-speech activists, with many prior connections," Pincus writes, noting they were founding members of a foundation that supports "groups that engage in transparency journalism and support whistleblowers, including WikiLeaks."

He says Greenwald "wrote for the WikiLeaks Press’s blog about Poitras and WikiLeaks being targeted by U.S. government officials" and that WikiLeaks' Julian Assange "previewed the first Greenwald Guardian story based on Snowden documents" in late May, a week before Greenwald's first scoop appeared.

Greenwald says the first article Pincus references was published in Salon and that "Neither it, nor anything else I've ever written, was written 'for the WikiLeaks Press's blog.'" I wasn't able to locate such a blog, though WikiLeaks' press page suggests Greenwald as a source for journalists.

It also lists Bianca Jagger, Michael Moore and Jay Rosen and says such people "do not represent WikiLeaks; they are listed because they are knowledgeable about the topics." Greenwald has "a very strong understanding of WikiLeaks issues and [the Bradley] Manning case," the page says.

Last month, Greenwald jousted with David Gregory, who asked him on the air why he shouldn't be prosecuted.

Greenwald "is fighting the uphill battle," Politico's Dylan Byers writes.

Despite how troubling the NSA's surveillance practices are, the American people seem content to live with them. Moreover, the news cycle has moved on, dominated now by The Zimmerman trial, Egypt, et al. Finally, Greenwald doesn't seem to have any more big revelations up his sleeve.

Maybe that's not the way it should be, but that's the way it is.

In related news, the Guardian Monday released the second part of its interview with Snowden.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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