Now that Edward Snowden has left Hong Kong for Russia en route to Ecuador or Venezuela or Cuba or wherever, it’s fascinating — as well as embarrassing — to watch the coverage of him and the people who are connected with the story. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that it was like watching paparazzi waiting outside a rehab clinic for a shot at some celebrity being sprung.
The fact that there are national security issues moves it to the level of more than just the lead story on Entertainment Tonight. But to give you an idea of how this has become a story less about the national security apparatus and more about a clash of personalities, the exchange between David Gregory and Glenn Greenwald on Meet the Press yesterday pretty much wraps it up.
Greenwald was on to discuss his source’s Sunday morning flight from Hong Kong to Moscow. (It is unclear where Snowden will ultimately land, though reports have suggested he is headed to Venezuela.) At the tail end of the conversation, Gregory suddenly asked Greenwald why the government shouldn’t be going after him.
“To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” he asked.
Greenwald replied that it was “pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies,” and that there was no evidence to back up Gregory’s claim that he had “aided” Snowden.
Gregory replied that “the question of who’s a journalist may be up to a debate with regard to what you’re doing,” but added that he was merely posing a question others have asked, and not “embracing anything.”
The idea that David Gregory — or any of the Sunday morning emcees — should sit in judgment on who is and who isn’t a journalist is ludicrous. Going beyond that, I’m trying to remember if Mr. Gregory ever asked Dick Cheney or Paul Bremer or even Colin Powell if they should be charged with war crimes because of their conduct in getting us into a war?
Of course not. Not because it would be a shock that they would even think to ask, but because if they did, they’d never work in that town again. They need each other to survive.