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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/18/16

WashPost Makes History: First Paper to Call for Prosecution of Its Own Source (After Accepting Pulitzer)

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THREE OF THE four media outlets that received and published large numbers of secret NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden -- The Guardian, the New York Times, and The Intercept -- have called for the U.S. government to allow the NSA whistleblower to return to the U.S. with no charges. That's the normal course for a news organization, which owes its sources duties of protection, and which -- by virtue of accepting the source's materials and then publishing them -- implicitly declares the source's information to be in the public interest.

But not the Washington Post . In the face of a growing ACLU and Amnesty-led campaign to secure a pardon for Snowden, timed to this weekend's release of the Oliver Stone biopic "Snowden," the Post editorial page today not only argued in opposition to a pardon, but explicitly demanded that Snowden -- the paper's own source -- stand trial on espionage charges or, as a "second-best solution," "accept[] a measure of criminal responsibility for his excesses and the U.S. government offers a measure of leniency."


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In doing so, the Washington Post has achieved an ignominious feat in U.S. media history: the first-ever paper to explicitly editorialize for the criminal prosecution of its own source -- one on whose back the paper won and eagerly accepted a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. But even more staggering than this act of journalistic treachery against the paper's own source are the claims made to justify it.

The Post editors concede that one -- and only one -- of the programs that Snowden enabled to be revealed was justifiably exposed -- namely, the domestic metadata program, because it "was a stretch, if not an outright violation, of federal surveillance law, and posed risks to privacy." Regarding the "corrective legislation" that followed its exposure, the Post acknowledges: "We owe these necessary reforms to Mr. Snowden." But that metadata program wasn't revealed by the Post, but rather by The Guardian.

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[Subscribe to Glenn Greenwald] Glenn Greenwald is a journalist,former constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times bestselling books on politics and law. His most recent book, "No Place to Hide," is about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. His forthcoming book, to be published in April, 2021, is about Brazilian history and current politics, with a focus on his experience in reporting a series of expose's in 2019 and 2020 which exposed high-level corruption by powerful officials in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which subsequently attempted to prosecute him for that reporting.

Foreign Policy magazine named Greenwald one of the top 100 Global Thinkers for 2013. He was the debut winner, along with "Democracy Now's" Amy Goodman, of the Park Center I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2008, and also received the 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work breaking the story of the abusive (more...)
 

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