The New Republic Takes a Close Look at the Anarchist Agenda of Snowden, Greenwald and Assange
Sean Wilentz has an excellent piece at the New Republic today, delving into the backgrounds of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange: What They Believe.
We live in the age of the leaker. Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and Julian Assange are celebrated as heroes on op-ed pages and across glossy magazine spreads.
By exposing the secrets of the government, they claim to have revealed its systematic disregard for individual freedom and privacy. Theirs are not the politics of left against right, or liberals against conservatives, or Democrats against Republicans, but of the individual against the state. To oppose them is to side with power against liberty, surveillance against freedom, tyrannical secrecy against democratic openness.
What’s astonishing about their ascent to heroism is the breadth of their support. The embrace of the antiwar left and the libertarian right was to be expected. But effusions of praise for the leakers can also be found throughout the liberal establishment. The New York Times, which has come to rely on the leakers as prize sources, is now crusading on Snowden’s behalf. Its editorial page has celebrated him for having “done his country a great service” and supports clemency for the crimes he has committed. A stellar array of liberal intellectuals and pundits, from David Bromwich and Robert Kuttner to Richard Cohen and Ezra Klein, have hailed Snowden, as have elected officials, including Senators Bernie Sanders and Ron Wyden. To criticize the leakers, as the legal journalist Jeffrey Toobin and a few other writers have done, is to invite moral condemnation. Even mild objections to their methods are dismissed as damning proof of either corruption—“principle-free, hackish, and opportunistic,” in Greenwald’s words—or outright complicity with Big Brother.
So far, the adulatory treatment the leakers have received closely mirrors their own self-presentation. But important caches of evidence have gone largely unexamined by the media. Documents are, of course, the leakers’ stock-in-trade—and they have produced quite a few documents of their own. The Internet houses a variety of their writings for message boards, blogs, and magazines. Much of this writing was produced before the leakers entertained the possibility of a global audience. They are documents in which one can glimpse their deepest beliefs and true motives. What they reveal is at odds with the flattering coverage the leakers have received, and goes beyond personal eccentricities or dubious activities in the service of noble goals. They reveal an agenda that even the leakers’ most dedicated admirers should question.
You should read the whole thing, because Sean Wilentz does a great job of exposing the bizarre and destructive nihilism at the heart of the entire Snowden endeavor.
Meanwhile, the Mighty Greenwald has been obsessively ranting and spewing insults about this article on Twitter all morning — I count at least 19 tweets from him so far. For example:
Dear Chris Hughes: maybe you can splurge for a few fact-checkers. Your cover story wasn't fact-checked & is- predictably-filled with errors.
And now I can return to blissfully once again forgetting that The New Republic exists, re-joining virtually the entire rest of the world.