US congressman calls for prosecution of journalist over NSA leak

Thomas Gaist

The Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald (

Representative Peter King of New York said late Tuesday that he supports prosecution of journalist Glenn Greenwald who published material leaked last week by Edward Snowden. The leaks exposed two secret and unconstitutional programs run by the Pentagon-based National Security Agency that collect the electronic communications of tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions more around the world.

King, a Republican, said in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper: “If they [journalists publishing leaked material] willingly knew that this was classified information, I think actions should be taken, especially on something of this magnitude.” Asked directly whether he would support punishment of journalists, King replied, “The answer is yes, to your question.”

On Wednesday, King was asked whether he thought Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, who has also been in contact with Snowden and has written on the leaks, should be prosecuted. “I’m talking about Greenwald,” King told Fox News, claiming without any foundation that the journalist was threatening to release the names of CIA agents. “The last time that was done in this country, we saw a CIA station chief murdered in Greece.” King added that the leaks released so far are “putting American lives at risk and this is clearly done to hurt Americans.”

By the perverse logic of the state, attempts to reveal to the American people the unconstitutional actions of the government amount to efforts to “hurt Americans.” While King’s remarks bear the fascistic sentiment that has become his hallmark, they are in fact entirely in line with the assault on press freedom that is being spearheaded by the Obama administration.

Obama administration initiates criminal prosecution of NSA whistleblower

Thomas Gaist

National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Joseph Snowden’s release of classified documents detailing massive government spying has provoked a chorus of threats and denunciations across the US political establishment. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a manhunt to find Snowden, who left his hotel room in Hong Kong out of concern for his safety. The Justice Department has commenced a criminal investigation into the leaks, confirmed spokeswoman Nanda Chitre over the weekend.

In material released to the British Guardian and Washington Post last week, Snowden exposed two secret programs run by the Pentagon-based NSA that collect the telephone records of virtually all Americans and intercept the electronic communications of millions of people all over the world. The revelations have provoked criticism from politicians and the press in Europe and elsewhere, where the global spying operations are seen as a threat to the national interests of US opponents and allies alike.

In the US, for the most part, the sweeping and flagrant violations of the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights have been defended by representatives of both big business parties, who have echoed the claims of President Obama and intelligence officials that the programs are needed to ferret out terrorists. In fact, the targets of these surveillance programs are not terrorists, but workers, young people, students and others deemed by the ruling class to be potential political opponents.

Rather than calls for impeachment proceedings or congressional hearings to investigate the police state surveillance architecture erected by the NSA, what has predominated are demands for retribution against Snowden.

Digital Blackwater rules

Pepe Escobar

The Panopticon was the ultimate surveillance system - a tower surrounded by cells, a pre-Orwellian example of "architecture of oppression". [It] was not originally conceived for the surveillance of a prison, but for a factory crammed with landless peasants on forced labor...

The judgment of Daniel "Pentagon Papers" Ellsberg is definitive; "There has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden's release of NSA material". And that includes the release of the Pentagon Papers themselves. Here is the 12-minute video by The Guardian where Snowden details his motives.

By now, everything swirling around the US National Security Agency (NSA) points to a black box in a black hole. The black box is the NSA headquarters itself in Fort Meade, Maryland. The black hole is an area that would include the suburbs of Virginia's Fairfax County near the CIA but mostly the intersection of the Baltimore Parkway and Maryland Route 32.

There one finds a business park a mile away from the NSA which Michael Hayden, a former NSA director (1999-2005) told Salon's Tim Shorrock is "the largest concentration of cyber power on the planet". [1] Hayden coined it "Digital Blackwater".

Here is a decent round up of key questions still not answered about the black hole. But when it comes to how a 29-year old IT wizard with little formal education has been able to access a batch of ultra-sensitive secrets of the US intelligence-national security complex, that's a no-brainer; it's all about the gung-ho privatization of spying - referred to by a mountain of euphemisms of the "contractor reliance" kind. In fact the bulk of the hardware and software used by the dizzying network of 16 US intelligence agencies is privatized.

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