I just read a Dylan Byers article about Jeffrey Toobin’s claim that David Miranda was acting like a “drug mule” for classified information that Greenwald had. I’m not going to go into that; Toobin is a typical government apologist. What he says in the article is more or less, “Of course I’m for freedom of the press. I’m just not in this particular case. Or this other one. Or that one over there.” I’m quite tired of these people who clog up the ranks of “journalism” without actually valuing journalism. The man is a villain like so many others in the profession.
The article got me thinking about that analogy though. As far as I understand it, what Toobin is saying is fundamentally correct: Miranda was transporting files from Laura Poitras to Glenn Greenwald. And that raises a really important point that goes entirely against Toobin and the other government apologists. Supposedly, the government wants those files so they don’t get into the wrong hands. But by stealing the files from couriers, it puts more pressure on journalists to send them electronically. That allows pretty much every spying agency in the world to get a chance to hack the files.
So instead of the slow and careful examination of the files and a standard journalistic (and safe) approach to their release, the data is much more likely to go feral. Is that what our government wants? I think that our government doesn’t particularly care. At this point, their actions are all about controlling this leak and stopping the next. Their interest in the current data is only to find out more of what people like Greenwald and Bart Gellman know. As we’ve seen throughout this process, the White House and the DHS have been spinning the news like crazy.
It is getting harder and harder to accept the claims of the government and its apologists who claim that all of this spying is for our own good. Anyone paying attention must at this point know that the government’s actions are all for its own good. And when spying on the nation is not enough, propaganda and intimidation will be used. And journalists like Jeffrey Toobin will be there to explain how right and necessary it all it.