TwitterFacebook

Did the Justice Department Really “Bad-Mouth” Glenn Greenwald to Muslim Leaders? Uh, Nope.

More Greenwald distortions exposed
US News • Views: 24,834

At the Washington Post, Erik Wemple fact checks one of the more inflammatory claims in the latest Glenn Greenwald article about alleged NSA/FBI spying on American Muslim leaders: that the Justice Department went around to Muslim groups before the story was even written, warning them Greenwald’s article was full of errors and misrepresentations. Would you be terribly surprised to find out Greenwald’s claims are … false? You wouldn’t?

This is the paragraph in question in The Intercept’s story:

The Justice Department did not respond to repeated requests for comment on this story, or for clarification about why the five men’s email addresses appear on the list. But in the weeks before the story was published, The Intercept learned that officials from the department were reaching out to Muslim-American leaders across the country to warn them that the piece would contain errors and misrepresentations, even though it had not yet been written.

Wemple contacted Greenwald to ask for more information on this claim, and Greenwald responded:

He said that the remarks of the officials were “designed to poison our relationship with people in the Muslim community by bad-mouthing us and saying this story is inaccurate before it’s even written. They literally did it before we put pen to paper,” says Greenwald.

Wow, the US government “bad-mouthed” the Mighty Greenwald?! How dare they? The noive!

However, when Wemple reached out to Muslim-American groups and the Justice Department, he discovered that the truth was exactly opposite to the way Greenwald portrayed it. Muslim leaders had heard rumors about Greenwald’s upcoming article, and they specifically asked the Justice Department to discuss the issue.

According to these community leaders and the Justice Department, there was indeed a July 1 gathering at the main Justice building, part of a regular series of quarterly meetings convened by Justice’s civil rights division that date back more than a decade. Though the get-together preceded publication of the Greenwald-Hussain story, Muslim American community leaders had heard about the goods that The Intercept had acquired. And so it was they, and not the Justice Department, who insisted on discussing the pending story. A letter from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), in fact, specifically asked that the surveillance issue be placed on the meeting’s agenda.

Wemple posts a screenshot of the ADC’s letter to the DOJ, asking that the surveillance issue be discussed at this regular meeting. So now we know that: 1) this meeting was not an unusual occurrence, but one of a series of regularly scheduled meetings that have been going on for many years, and 2) the Muslim groups themselves asked to discuss Greenwald’s pending article at the meeting, not the other way around.

But what about the claim that Justice Department officials “bad-mouthed” Greenwald’s story and warned these Muslim groups it would contain “errors and misrepresentations?” Again, Greenwald is playing fast and loose with the truth:

According to various participants, the government officials who spoke to the Muslim-surveillance issue — primarily National Security Agency General Counsel Raj De and FBI General Counsel James Baker — walked the attendees through an explanation of the legal structure designed to protect Americans from surveillance. One of the officials reportedly counseled the group, “Just don’t make assumptions. Please think about what you read based on what the legal structure is.”

Abed A. Ayoub, the ADC’s director of legal and policy affairs, confirms that’s how things went down. At the same time, Ayoub vouched for the accuracy of the Greenwald-Hussain description of the proceedings. “What we were told was to look at the legal framework of the way the surveillance took place … the FISA courts and so forth,” says Ayoub, who insists that the “legal framework is part of the problem and we need to seriously address this.”

ADC National President Samer Khalaf says of the message from government officials: “It wasn’t that they were saying it was false. They were saying they can’t respond to a story that wasn’t out yet.” When asked about alleged warnings of errors and misrepresentations, Khalaf says that the government reps said that the article may not represent the “full scope of the program.”

Again, Greenwald’s account is shocking and inflammatory… and entirely dishonest and self-serving.

This is the case with almost every one of Greenwald’s articles; a batch of wildly incendiary accusations that fall apart and are shown to be false, distorted, or exaggerated in the following 48 hours after publication. This isn’t journalism — it’s propaganda.

You have to wonder why other journalists rarely do the job Wemple did in this case. Are they afraid of Greenwald’s slash-and-burn smear tactics against critics, or simply more interested in the clicks and pageviews they know his fear-mongering pieces will drive to their websites?

UPDATE at 7/12/14 12:28:55 pm by Charles Johnson

The Intercept’s editor John Cook responds to Erik Wemple’s debunking with: For the Record: Yes, the Government Really Did Trash-Talk Our FISA Story.

His evidence to back up this headline is… well, he doesn’t present any evidence. He posts several emails and text messages he sent to the Justice Department, making the same assertion Wemple debunked, but absolutely nothing to show that “the government really did trash-talk” their story. Read it for yourself. He simply doesn’t back up his claim at all.

it’s getting a bit ridiculous.

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
Take advantage of our New Year subscription special, and save 25% off the normal subscription price! For a limited time, one-year ad-free subscriptions are just $59.95. Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing now and save!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2014-12-15 2:06 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Thanos
Generous Republican Benefits
LAST week, President Obama signed a memorandum that would allow employees at federal agencies to take up to six weeks of paid parental leave, and he has made it clear that he thinks Congress should extend paid leave to ...

5 hours, 55 minutes ago
Views: 106 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Rightwingconspirator
Open Carry Rifles & Cop Watching-Most Dangerous Convergence This Week
Watkins, a bartender by day, is the coordinator for Open Carry Tarrant County, a hybrid of the cop-watching and open carry movements. The small band of gun-toting Texans warns motorists of DUI checkpoints and speed traps. They also show ...

2 days, 5 hours ago
Views: 460 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Ace-o-aces
Charles C. Johnson Is Still Looking for Investors.
3 days, 6 hours ago
Views: 587 • Comments: 7
Tweets: 7 • Rating: 8
FemNaziBitch
PEDESTAL ELITES: Why Women Supporting Rapist Friendly Judges Are the Scariest of All Americans
Why Republican women supporting rapist friendly judges are the scariest of all Americans Posted on May 20, 2014 by bonnie russell I always vote, and don't engage with those who don't. Also, my vote leans to issues, not a ...

4 days, 12 hours ago
Views: 627 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
Rocky-in-Connecticut
Sports Hero Gang Sign Shame
you know those professional athlete thugs- always flashing gang signs along with his baby mama. Fine example these two are. I expect Fox News and right wing blogs to have this as their cover story pronto. instagram.com Or maybe not. ...

5 days, 2 hours ago
Views: 450 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Skip Intro
Republican Net Neutrality Bill Would Gut FCC’s Authority Over Broadband
The party of pure evil strikes again. Net neutrality legislation unveiled by Republicans today would gut the ability of the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the broadband industry. As expected, the bill forbids the FCC from reclassifying broadband as a ...

5 days, 10 hours ago
Views: 409 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 2 • Rating: 5
The Vicious Babushka
Wingnuts Spend MLK Day Spewing Racism & Lies
The usual [wingnut]HURR HURR MLK WAS A REPUBLICAN & ALL TEH DEMOCRATS IS TEH RACIST LIKE THERE HERO ROBERT BYRD!!!! LBJ SAID TEH N WORD!!! HURR HURR[/wingnut] #tcot MLK Day

5 days, 14 hours ago
Views: 857 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 72 • Rating: 4
Michael McBacon
Praise - Marvin Gaye
I've been on a Marvin Gaye kick lately and thought I'd post this song. Enjoy.

6 days, 11 hours ago
Views: 454 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
John Vreeland
John McAfee: ‘I know who hacked Sony Pictures - and it wasn’t North Korea’
"I can guarantee they are wrong. It has to do with a group of hackers - I will not name them - who are civil libertarians and who hate the confinement the restrictions the music industry and the movie ...

6 days, 13 hours ago
Views: 772 • Comments: 3
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
Lumberhead
Shopping While Black: The Role of Race in Retail
The researchers asked the subjects a series of questions about certain behaviors they had encountered while shopping or advertisements they had noticed, and broke out the results by race. They found that across the board, non-white Americans--and especially black ...

1 week ago
Views: 657 • Comments: 8
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 4
 Frank says:

There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to a lake of fire upon hearing it.