The UK Independent has published secret material of the kind that could, perhaps, endanger lives and, in any case, apparently represents an irresponsible use of classified material. The Independent claims that the material comes from Snowden. But is it using clever language to conceal a leak that comes from government sources with the aim of discrediting Snowden and/or Greenwald?
Is the London Independent acting on behalf of the government, perhaps to discredit Snowden and Greenwald?
It's an odd question, to be sure, but one in response to a very odd event. The Independent is a newspaper that I have traditionally regarded as off the reservation in the very best sense of the term. That is, I have always regarded them as a left-wing newspaper refusing to be marginalized, and demanding that issues of importance to the left receive the same attention as those of interest to the rest of the corporate media.
But Glenn Greenwald has published a piece in The Guardian in which he says (to distill it down) that the Independent's Duncan Campbell, Oliver Wright, James Cusick, and Kim Sengupta have published an article which could, perhaps, endanger lives based, according to The Independent, on "documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden" but which, according to Greenwald "clearly did not come from Snowden or any of the journalists with whom he has directly worked."
For both of those statements to be true, the documents would have to have come from the government (or a contractor) based on a list of the documents that Snowden obtained but has not published. They could, for example, have been based on documents supplied from the government based on the (apparently ineffectual) audit of Snowden's actions or based on decrypts of the materials obtained from Miranda. Once in the public domain, the government could easily use them against Miranda to allege that the materials he has are being used to aid the enemies of Britain.
Greenwald quotes Snowden as saying that:
"It appears that the UK government is now seeking to create an appearance that the Guardian and Washington Post's disclosures are harmful, and they are doing so by intentionally leaking harmful information to The Independent and attributing it to others.The Independent's Oliver Wright has said,
"For the record: The Independent was not leaked or 'duped' into publishing today's front page story by the Government."He is presently receiving a torrent of well-deserved Twitter-abuse for publishing dodgy material from dodgy sources for possibly dodgy purposes. The Independent owes us proper sourcing, which it should place outside of its paywall (to be fair, it placed the original article outside the paywall).
To be clear, this story is not about any of the personalities, but about the appropriate use of classified information and the appropriate way to source leaked information. FWIW, I will stipulate that Greenwald can be an annoying, narcissistic martinet... like many other human beings, including some who post in threads at DK.
The relevant phrases from the Independent are these. They either could serve to identify the site and therefore endanger the lives of personnel or provide information about sourcing for the article:
Britain runs a secret internet-monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept and process vast quantities of emails, telephone calls and web traffic on behalf of Western intelligence agencies, The Independent has learnt.
The Independent is not revealing the precise location of the station but information on its activities was contained in the leaked documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden.
installation is regarded as particularly valuable by the British and Americans because it can access submarine cables passing through the region
Many of them came from an internal Wikipedia-style information site called GC-Wiki
The Independent understands that The Guardian agreed to the Government’s request not to publish any material contained in the Snowden documents that could damage national security.
A senior Whitehall source said: “We agreed with The Guardian that our discussions with them would remain confidential”.
It [the intercept station] is part of the surveillance and monitoring system, code-named “Tempora”, ...
Across three sites, communications – including telephone calls – are tracked both by satellite dishes and by tapping into underwater fibre-optic cables.
The Middle East station was set up under a warrant signed by the then Foreign Secretary David Miliband____
Update: Map of Submarine cables from Greg's Cable Map
Update: This is a comment I made below that I believe is important enough to promote to the body of the diary.
Proper sourcing = proper journalism (0+ / 0-)
Morgan, anonymous sourcing has one and only one proper function in journalism: to protect a source from retaliation by more powerful opponents.
This clearly does not apply to government officials vs. whistleblowers. The only retaliation the government officials have in talking about whistleblowers to fear is from voters, the courts, or Congress.
If the Independent has a genuine source inside government providing them with information about this wiretapping site, fine, they should protect that source. But who told them that the documents are among those Snowden has? That could only come from Snowden, journalists he has worked with, or the government. And, since Snowden and the journalists deny that information came from them, the Independent is probably protecting the government.
We ended up in the Iraq war because anonymous government sources were free to feed us bull---t without fear of retaliation from the voters. What the Independent is doing looks a lot like that.