On Sunday’s “Meet the Press” on NBC, moderator David Gregory asked The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald whether or not he should be charged with a crime for his involvement with Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old who has been charged with espionage after he revealed the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance sweeps.
“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?” Gregory asked.
Greenwald seemed to take umbrage with Gregory’s question, since it dealt with journalists, confidential sources and potential for criminal prosecution — and also came at a time when Associated Press and Fox News journalists have been investigated by the federal government, sending a chilling effect through U.S. investigative journalism.
“I think it’s pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies,” Greenwald said. “The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence — the idea I’ve aided and abetted him in any way. The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the emails and records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory you just embraced — being a co-conspirator in felonies for working with sources. If you want to embrace that theory, it means every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources [and] receives classified information is a criminal. And it’s precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States. It’s why the New Yorker’s Jean Mayer said investigative reporting has come to a ‘standstill,’ her word, as a result of the theories you just referenced.”
Gregory reacted to Greenwald’s reply by questioning whether or not what Greenwald was engaging in was journalism and that he was only asking a question.
“Well, the question of who’s a journalist may be up to a debate with regard to what you are doing and of course anybody who was watching this understands what I was doing,” Gregory said. “And that question has been raised by lawmakers, as well. I’m not embracing anything. But obviously, I take your point.”