Glenn Greenwald and Wired Magazine: “I see no reason to doubt Poulsen’s integrity or good faith”
Yesterday afternoon, Wired magazine Editor-in-Chief Evan Hansen lamented
It’s odd to find myself in the position of writing a defense of someone who should be held up as a model. But it is unfortunately necessary, thanks to the shameless and unjustified personal attacks he’s faced…Our critics — notably Glenn Greenwald of Salon, an outspoken WikiLeaks defender — have resorted to shocking personal attacks, based almost entirely on conjecture and riddled with errors.”
“Shameless,” “unjustified,” “personal,” “attack,” “shocking,” “personal,” conjectural, and error-riddled are the key terms there, in a piece which accuses Greenwald of mixing up a wild cake of conspiracy theory and baking it in the oven of ad hominem.
When I read the original Glenn Greenwald piece, way back in June, I agreed with it. I still do. He criticized Wired magazine’s decisions to publish only selected excerpts from the chat logs between Adrian Lamo and Bradley Manning, and that seemed basically right to me: Bradley Manning’s case is really important — something Hansen is quick to emphasize as well — and while anything that’s merely gossipy should not be publicized, it is hard to understand why anything that is of clear public interest should be held back. And actually, it turns out that Greenwald and Hansen are in agreement on this principled, that only the portions of the chat logs which are of public interest should be revealed. Where they disagree is in their assessment of what those portions are. Here, for example, is what the “shameless” and “shocking” Glenn Greenwald wrote in his original “riddled with error” article:
Wired should either publish all of the chat logs, or be far more diligent about withholding only those parts which truly pertain only to Manning’s private and personal matters and/or which would reveal national security secrets. Or they should have a respected third party review the parts they have concealed to determine if there is any justification for that. At least if one believes Lamo’s claims, there are clearly relevant parts of those chats which Wired continues to conceal.
This still seems to me to be wholly reasonable; all of Glenn Greenwald’s shocking and shameless personal attacks must have occurred in the other parts of his error riddled piece. For example, Adrian Lamo has claimed that Bradley Manning told him that he received help from Julian Assange in leaking the cables. This is important because any case the US may eventually try to raise against Julian Assange and Wikileaks will almost certainly hinge on showing that he and they did more than simply passively receive leaked data. After all, it is a protected journalistic activity for a journalist to receive leaked information; it might have been illegal for Manning to leak that data to a journalist, of course, but that has nothing to do with the legality of the journalist receiving it. This is why the Wikileaks site specifically notes that
“Like other media outlets conducting investigative journalism, we accept (but do not solicit) anonymous sources of information.”
Again, accepting and publishing a leak is legal, since (in the US) it is a form of journalism protected by the first amendment. This is why any US legal action against Wikileaks will be hard to get off the ground unless they can prove that Julian Assange or Wikileaks aided or conspired with Bradley Manning in the commission of what would be (for him) an illegal act, then they would have something to pin on him. From the NY Times:
Justice Department officials are trying to find out whether Mr. Assange encouraged or even helped the analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, to extract classified military and State Department files from a government computer system. If he did so, they believe they could charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.
This is a weird sentence, by the way, since you can’t charge someone for being a passive recipient of a leak; the grammar suggests that would be a crime, and it isn’t. But here’s where it gets interesting; it’s exactly this notion — that Assange actively aided Manning in leaking the data — which Adrian Lamo had previously admitted to the New York Times that he didn’t have, actively confirming that he has no reason to think Wikileaks helped Manning obtain the classified information:
Mr. Lamo acknowledged that he had no direct evidence that Private Manning had help. He said he based his belief on information from people who knew Private Manning, not on his contact with the soldier himself. Asked if Private Manning had ever told him of any WikiLeaks assistance, Mr. Lamo replied, “Not explicitly, no.”
And yet! In the article of two weeks ago, the NY Times quotes Lamo as saying the exact opposite, claiming that Manning told him he did and that the chat logs show it:
Among materials prosecutors are studying is an online chat log in which Private Manning is said to claim that he had been directly communicating with Mr. Assange using an encrypted Internet conferencing service as the soldier was downloading government files. Private Manning is also said to have claimed that Mr. Assange gave him access to a dedicated server for uploading some of them to WikiLeaks.
Adrian Lamo, an ex-hacker in whom Private Manning confided and who eventually turned him in, said Private Manning detailed those interactions in instant-message conversations with him. He said the special server’s purpose was to allow Private Manning’s submissions to “be bumped to the top of the queue for review.” By Mr. Lamo’s account, Private Manning bragged about this “as evidence of his status as the high-profile source for WikiLeaks.”
Wired magazine has published excerpts from logs of online chats between Mr. Lamo and Private Manning. But the sections in which Private Manning is said to detail contacts with Mr. Assange are not among them. Mr. Lamo described them from memory in an interview with The Times, but he said he could not provide the full chat transcript because the F.B.I. had taken his hard drive, on which it was saved.
So despite all his shameless and shocking personal attacks on journalism‘s living avatar and embodiment, I wholeheartedly agree with Glenn Greenwald about the inexplicability of Wired’s actions. If they haven’t done something weird like delete the chat logs at the behest of the FBI or something, then Wired can easily confirm which of the two mutually exclusive and irreconcilable things that Adrian Lamo has publicly alleged are actually true: did Manning tell Lamo that he received assistance from Assange (as Lamo told the NYT recently) or did Manning tell Lamo nothing of the sort (as Lamo said back in July). I simply can’t imagine what reason Wired could possibly have for not clearing this up. It can’t be both ways, it is of public interest, and since Lamo is out there talking up a storm, it can’t really have anything to do with protecting Manning’s privacy.
So, since because we can‘t possibly trust a shocking and shameless purveyor of conjecture and errors like Glenn Greenwald, here’s a series of some of the respectable and reasonable journalism people that I follow on twitter who have made similarly respectable and reasonable points (but not at all the kind of shameless, unjustified, shocking, conjectural, and error-riddled personal attacks of your screeching and hysterical Glenn Greenwald types):
Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at NYU, tweeted “I know @evanatwired. I respect him hugely. I don’t get why he’s not releasing the logs, redacted to meet the concerns”
Zeynep Tufekci, professor of sociology and general smarty pants, tweeted “@wired is implying that everything related to Wikileaks has been published. If they can confirm that, everyone can leave them alone.”
Dave Winer, totally impressive and reasonable technology person, tweeted “if there’s more information to be had about manning and the leaks, let’s have it.”
Adam L. Penenberg, “journalism professor and assistant director of the Business and Economic Program at New York University” tweeted “A good first step: Wired should collect all of Adrian Lamo’s published comments based on the logs and compare them to the actual chat.”
Evgeny Morozov — “contributing editor to Foreign Policy and Boston Review and a Schwartz Fellow at the New American Foundation” — wrote this in a series of tweets: “I can’t see how Wired would be able to justify not releasing specific portions of the chat referenced by Greenwald. What kind of secret injunction would apply to Wired but not to Lamo, who is talking nonstop? The point is that Lamo has already violated Manning’s privacy & honor with his statements. Wired can help restore the latter. If Wired’s argument is that in choosing b/n honoring Manning’s privacy & restoring his honor, they chose privacy, I find it hard to accept. Greenwald offered them reasonable options. Wired can confirm/deny Lamo’s (very serious) statements w/t releasing all logs.”
Terry Heaton, author of Reinventing Local Media, tweets “As one who teaches journalism ethics, Wired’s position troubles me deeply. How far we’ve fallen in the name of sources.”
Jeff Jarvis, “author of What Would Google Do?…associate professor and director of the interactive journalism program and the new business models for news project at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism” tweets: “Wired has not answered a series of factual, important questions. Simple as that.”
Looking back at Even Hansen’s piece, though, I do feel comforted that he was able to refute several tendentious claims brought by some very dangerous straw men:
“Not one single fact has been brought to light suggesting Wired.com did anything wrong in pursuit of this story.”
or this one:
The bottom line is that Wired.com did not have anything to do with Manning’s arrest.
Suck it, straw men! And also this:
Our position has been and remains that the logs include sensitive personal information with no bearing on WikiLeaks, and it would serve no purpose to publish them at this time. That doesn’t mean we’ll never publish them, but before taking an irrevocable action that could harm an individual’s privacy, we have to weigh that person’s privacy interest against news value and relevance.
I leave the internet to have the final word on the matter.
Update: And also, Kevin Poulsen, his own self, who tweeted me this link to the Wired’s article responding to the NY Times, and commented (at my query) “I can send you the link, I can’t make you read it.”
For those just joining in, I suggest you read Glen Greenwald’s blog describing the long and close relationships between Poulsen, Rasch, and Lamo. The fact that Rasch once prosecuted Poulsen who got 3 years and now they are “buddies” taxes my imagination. It all stinks of government entrapment and coercion. Lamo states he turned over encrypted Manning files without reading them! I am expected to swallow this big one? Oh, give me a break. They are creating PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY. With Manning in isolation, I begin to wonder if there were ever any chats as described by Lamo. Remember, “innocent until proven guilty”? Of course, Lamo would know how to create bogus logs and files.
“The fact that Rasch once prosecuted Poulsen who got 3 years and now they are “buddies” taxes my imagination”
Then stop imagining it. Since you’re to busy to read the article, here’s the relevant section:
sorry, devin, but greenwald pretty thoroughly rebutted that “rebuttal”. it’s too long to quote but all aspects of this defense were dealt with. http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/29/wired_response_1/index.html
also it seems worth noting that they called him a “law professor” initially and then when he pointed out their error in his response, they quietly changed it to “lawyer” seemingly without acknowledging the error.
To be fair, their is now a note acknowledging the “law professor” correction at the bottom of Wired’s post.
There are plenty of other Lamo statement that need confirmation / denial, but pretty much everything in that NYT excerpt with the bolding seems to come from a chat logs passage on the page linked by the NYT. It occurs on May 25, starting around 2:50 PM.
I can find no reference in the chat logs that Wired has published for this quote from Lamo in the NYT article:
And this is a curious sentence from the same NYT article:
Among materials prosecutors are studying is an online chat log in which Private Manning is said to claim that he had been directly communicating with Mr. Assange using an encrypted Internet conferencing service as the soldier was downloading government files.
Is the implication that he was chatting with Assange at the same time he was downloading the files? It doesn’t seem likely to me that the workstations he was getting the files off of would be able to simultaneously allow encrypted chat over the open internet. Or is it that he had communications with Assange in the same time period? There doesn’t seem to be any indication in the published chat logs suggesting a time frame for when the actual downloading took place relative to his contacts with wikileaks.
It is obvious that there is no chat that shows direct connection with Assange because the US would have already demanded his extradition, and the fact they haven’t shows they are still looking for an angle. So wire.com might just have been told to shut up..
“Lamo has claimed that Bradley Manning told him that he received help from Julian Assange in leaking the cables.”
The “help” Assange offered was providing the link to a secure website for submitting data, not assistance in obtaining the information. That’s equivalent to any other news reporter giving their home phone number to a confidential leaker. Not in the least bit criminal.
Oh, you really haven’t been rendaig me for very long have you — because you’re missing the point entirely. I’m not the least bit deluded as to what the United States does, even to the fact that we are — yes — an empire. I simply don’t particularly care. At least not about a vast swath of the issues that I can tell you allow to keep you up at night. This isn’t simply a case of not liking Greenwald because he’s a pompous ass, which he is. I was furious that Obama didn’t prosecute the Wall Street barons who gang-raped the global economy — and I was even more furious that he handed them back the keys to the kingdom. I’ve made that abundantly clear over and over again. I also would like to have seen him not be so quick to allow Bush, Cheney et al get away with what they got away with.But no, while the president should of course be scrutinized for his decisions, so far I think many of them have been pretty decent — and that includes ones that Greenwald finds reprehensible: ordering military intervention in Libya that eventually led to the death, however horrific, of Gaddafi, and the taking out of both Bin Laden and Anwar Al Aulaqi (and sorry, but I’m not working up a lot of sympathy for the last of the three, regardless of the amount of pious indignation that spews from Greenwald’s keyboard in Brazil). I dislike Greenwald because it’s ludicrous to not give this president any credit for the advancement of progressive causes and policy simply because there are a few things he’s done which you don’t happen to like; it’s likewise to ridiculous to shoot any hope for the advancement of progressive causes squarely in the foot by constantly hectoring Obama as some kind of tyrannical war criminal irrespective of political reality. In other words, demand accountability, yes, but be smart about it — and Greenwald/Hamsher etc are anything but; they’re simply whining because Obama didn’t deliver some kind of Progressitopia, which he didn’t promise to begin with.But again, it’s not about them anyway — it’s about the fact that I actually agree with many of the president’s policies. Not all of them, certainly, but quite a few. That and, yes, I understand very, very well what the alternative is — the electable alternative in this country.
Excerpt from GG’s new book:”The past decade has wiestsned the most severe crimes imaginable by political and financial elites: the construction of a worldwide torture regime, domestic spying perpetrated jointly by the government and the telecom industry without the warrants required by the criminal law, an aggressive war waged on another country that killed hundreds of thousands of people, massive financial fraud that came close to collapsing the world economy and which destroyed the economic security of tens of millions, and systematic foreclosure fraud that, by design, bombarded courts with fraudulent documents in order to seize homes without legal entitlement. These are not bad policies or mere immoral acts. They are plainly criminal, and yet due to the precepts of elite immunity which were first explicitly embraced during Ford’s pardon of Nixon none of those crimes has produced legal punishments.”Yeah nothing to see here folks. Instead we should focus on the infantile yuckiness of GG’s delivery and prima donna presence. It’s all about the messenger. Don’t look back, look forward. We are the realistic adults in the room who know what is reasonable and feasible. It’s just plain silly. Look, you and Cesca can delude yourselves that NOT critiquing our empire and what it’s unapologietic leaders do, but you can’t deny the facts. And whether you like it or not Obama is a war president that has expanded our military presence, for “good” (see bankers/corporate interests and the meager trickle down benefits to the masses, no financial prosecutions or war crimes investigations) and for ill (there will be blowback, more erosions of our civil liberties, less privacy, larger numbers of citizens incarcerated and extra judicial assassinations—what an awesome slippery slope and all under a “progressive” president). Me thinks that you should get rethink your blindingly stupid stance on the messenger and realize that it’s not America hating to cop to the fact that we are now the Empire, and not the Rebel forces our mythology likes to make us to be(see Star Wars). Have a great day!
As for Al-Aulaqi, exactly how many times can I say this? I just don’t care. It doesn’t maettr to me one bit whether you feel that I’m succumbing to the worst kind of logical fallacy and thumbing my nose at the constitutional law of which Glenn Greenwald is the standard-bearer. I’ve written about this over and over again and therefore I’m reluctant to repeat it again, and yet I will for what I hope is the last time: From every single thing that I read and saw, every independent report from every kind of global news outlet, Al-Aulaqi was in fact a threat to his countrymen and had left the country for the sole purpose of declaring war on it, and that means he forfeits his rights. Period. He doesn’t get an indictment — he gets captured or shot. I will not mourn his death the same way I will not mourn the deaths of Bin Laden or Gaddafi. I won’t lose one second of sleep over whether or not they were dealt with in a manner concordant with the laws that might otherwise apply. And before anyone accuses me of hypocrisy, please let it be known that I felt the exact same way when George W. Bush was president. I felt that much of the behavior Bush engaged in was egregious and certainly wasn’t necessary since he started a war in a country we didn’t need to be in in the first place, but I’ve always believed that there are military operations that happen during a time of war that I absolutely am not entitled to know about. And I think that it is, in fact, a ludicrous leap of logic to make the claim that because Anwar Al-Aulaqi was killed by the United States, suddenly each and every one of us has to fear a drone attack or the arrival of a presidentially approved hit squad, as Greenwald has screamed up and down and backward and forward. Incidentally, you’re obviously a really smart guy and I appreciate the comment — but please, never again under any circumstances refer to David Sirota as a journalist in the same breath as Goodman or Flanders. I may not always agree with either of the latter, but Sirota is a petulant, self-important hack who, if you deprived him of the attention he seeks so desperately by making relentlessly stupid statements at regular intervals, would probably shrivel up and die.
Either Lamo’s unsubstantiated claims can be substantiated by Wired and will be, or Wired will remain charged with lack of editorial due diligence in posting the Article in the first place. They’re going to have to decide which side of the line to put their balls.
I’ve suggested this elsewhere, and I’ll say it here too, in the hope that someone picks up on the parallel:
Adrian Lamo is the Jim McDougall of “the Manning/Wikileaks affair.” The unreliable narrator, known to be impaired, who says things that cannot be true and whose absurd claims are then trumpeted by those who know they are false but “narrative-advancing.”
Kevin Poulsen wants to pretend (see above) that Wired published the one article and has no responsibility for anything done or said by its author after that (or before). And, amazingly, he’s holding the exculpatory evidence as “a private matter” while lies and innuendo are thrown at the source he is “protecting.” (This is in the Poulsenworld where he is protecting Manning, not Lamo and his increasingly tangled web of self-promoting lies. The sun there is probably a blue dwarf.)
Would I love to be wrong? Absolutely. It’s possibly that the impaired Lamo is the only one telling the truth here, a truth cut so fine it makes Bill Clinton’s accurate-in-context (since the specific definition of the phrase excluded what had been done) statement that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman” seem like a blazingly accurate Gospel Truth.
If there were a G-d, any positive reputation Wired still has would be completely destroyed. The magazine’s best hope at this point is that its leaders realize that Poulsen’s six months of stonewalling has done them no good, and they make an editorial change. Either that or they, too, can become a giveaway subscription with membership in NewsMax, where Judy Miller and Poulsen can trade war stories about their respective “journalist integrities.”
You’re funny, and also sthmart… like Glenn. Nice post, and the one about Assange too.
[…] Glenn Greenwald and Wired Magazine: “I see no reason to doubt … By zunguzungu He criticized Wired magazine’s decisions to publish only selected excerpts from the chat logs between Adrian Lamo and Bradley Manning, and that seemed basically right to me: Bradley Manning’s case is really important — something Hansen … zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/glenn-greenwald-and-wired-magazine-i-see-no-reason-to-doubt-poul… […]
“It is obvious that there is no chat that shows direct connection with Assange because the US would have already demanded his extradition, and the fact they haven’t shows they are still looking for an angle.”
There is a chat log that shows Manning talking about a direct connection with Assange, and Wired has published it:
(2:05:38 PM) Manning: i mean, im a high profile source… and i’ve developed a relationship with assange… but i dont know much more than what he tells me, which is very little
(2:05:58 PM) Manning: it took me four months to confirm that the person i was communicating was in fact assange
As for the idea that Greenwald didn’t engage in personal attacks, give me a break. Half of his original piece was dedicated to the half-baked theory (for which he has no evidence) that Poulsen somehow conspired with Lamo to set Manning up — a theory notably repeated here by the aptly named Lies101. That’s a shameless personal attack, for which Greenwald should apologize.
k. williams just lied about Greenwald claiming a conspiracy theory. no doubt, Williams has no option but to read it that way.
worse: and kind of hard to believe: think about the context of contacting somebody secretly, somebody who has set up their life so that they don’t know who you are but you can very EASILY, eventually, know who they are…if you read what Manning said about ‘establishing relationship”…that IN NO WAY means that Assange had declared his identity or asked for Mannings. but, no doubt, kwilliams, can’t come close to grasping this. Not because of stupidity, but attachment.
[…] Glenn Greenwald and Wired Magazine: “I see no reason to doubt Poulsen’s integrity or go… Yesterday afternoon, Wired magazine Editor-in-Chief Evan Hansen lamented It’s odd to find myself in the position of […] […]
Ya learn sonhmeitg new everyday. It’s true I guess!