Glenn Greenwald: I mean, I talked to people in the Justice Department. I've never talked to either President Obama or Attorney General Holder but, you know, I think for a while, there was a desire on the part of the Justice Department, including Holder, to investigate Bush crimes, to be more aggressive about Wall Street investigations and there was pressure, quite openly, and publicly placed on them from the White House not to do so. Rahm Emanuel went on ABC News and said the desire of the President is they asked Holder not to investigate, and Robert Gibbs said the same thing from the podium of White House when he was the Press Secretary. And so, there was clear pressure of all privately and publicly exerted by the White House on the Justice Department to refrain from engaging in these kinds of Investigations.
Rob Kall: Now, you've talked about how they use this idea of looking forward and justice and criminal prosecution is all about looking backward. Could you talk a little bit about that?
Glenn Greenwald: Well, the cliche that has been invented to justify shielding Bush criminals from accountabilities is that we should look forward and not backward and as you said, the whole idea is preposterous because all crime is by definition are committed in the past, not the future. There is no such thing as a crime committed in the future, and you know, if itwere the case that we were to decide that we wanted to be a lenient society and adopt this mentality of look forward not backwards, you know, you could argue it but at least it would be legitimate if it were applied across the board.
So, if you are somebody who, you know, rob the bank and you get caught by the Police and the Police come arrest you and you say, "Look, officer. You know, you got me. I did what you claimed I did," but you know, that was in the past , that was three months ago. Why go digging in the past? Isn't it more important to look in the future? If you got away with the crimes you committed based on the plea, then I think that, you know, you can have all, you know, now under your community but at least to rule of law would be equally applied, But of course, of course, this whole idea of look forward not backward applies only to political and financial elites. Ordinary Americans can't avail themselves of this kind of defense.
At the same time, the Obama Administration has been very aggressive of that during things like investigating and prosecuting Whistle Blowers who, back in 2002-2003 disclosed high level law-breaking and criminality and so, they are very willing to look backward and prosecute when it suits them.
Rob Kall: Opednews, the site I publish is very involved with the whistle Blower community. We're the go-to place for their articles? And the Whistle Blowers, say that the Obama Administration is worse than all the previous presidents combined when it comes to the way they treat whistle blowers. How does that jibe with your book and what you have to say?
Glenn Greenwald: Well "
Rob Kall: I mean, if your book in your episode.
Glenn Greenwald: Well, it is just fascinating that the Obama Administration has been so aggressively protecting high-level criminals and yet they've been punishing those who expose criminality. So, if you work for example at the NSA warrantless eavesdropping scandal, what is amazing there is that not a single one of the people responsible for spying an American about Lauren for then how accountable or punished anyway. The only person to be punished in anyway from that episode is someone named Thomas Tam. He was a mid-level Justice Department lawyer who found out that the Bush administration was flying without the warrants of cry bygone when they pick up the phone and call their [inaudible 0:18:54] the New York Times to tell him that this was taking place. The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting that, but the Bush and Obama DOJ assembled the Grand Jury and issued subpoenas and aimed at investigating not the law-breaking but who disclosed the law-breaking, Thomas Tam lost his job and he could not really even afford lawyers and ended up in bankruptcy trying to defend himself from these investigations, so that's very - a sort of a personification of how this two tiered system of justice works. The law-breakers at the highest level of government were shielded while the whistleblower was prosecuted.
Rob Kall: When this happens again and again, are precedents set? Is this something that once it happens, it kind of gets embellished into the law?
Glenn Greenwald: Sure. I mean, everything with the law is a precedent, so you know, if something happens and the certain outcome takes place, the next time that same thing happened, people will point to that outcome as a - as how the law functions and justify doing it again.
So, you know, absolutely that's what happened with the Ford pardon of Nixon. All the people believed that it was important to protect Richard Nixon as this one-time aberration and that set a precedent, that whenever political leaders break the law and disharmony would result from prosecution, it is better that they just simply protect them, pardon them, shield them and move on. And that became a precedent and every time that we've done that since, with Iran contra, now with the Bush crimes, with Wall street criminals-- and that creates more precedents normalizing this idea that elites should be shielded by the rule of law.
Rob Kall: Yuck. So, what about corporate personhood? It is almost like these elites are getting the same kind of treatment as corporations. It is like an overlap 'cause corporations get specie treatment, too.
Glenn Greenwald: Well, I mean, corporation requires a really nothing more than a reflection of typically wealthy individuals who are their share holders. And so the law has been exploited lots of different ways to make sure that the interest of elites are protected.
Now, I'm not somebody who believes that this issue is so clear-cut. If you look at, for example, at the ACLU or labor unions and the like, most people think that they should have some constitutional protection that the government should not be able to see the, I think, account-to-be COU without due process that it shouldn't be able to invade their offices without a Search Warrant. That it shouldn't be able to punish the unions for their first enrollment free speech. So, we do believe that entities are protected under the Constitution and in ways that the Constitution describes as being the rights of persons. But I think it is really more of a systemic problem that the courts are basically very pre-disposed to deciding in favor of corporations even when they get caught breaking the law and I think that is really the problem.
Rob Kall: Okay. This is getting worse and worse? How much worse could it get? What are ways that it could get even worse than it is now?