This new Buzzfeed article on Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda is obviously intended to be supportive, but it could end up sabotaging Miranda’s own case with the British government — because in the course of trying to prove that Miranda was not a “mule,” author Natasha Vargas-Cooper actually ends up exposing another blatant series of lies by Greenwald and Miranda about Miranda’s detention at Heathrow Airport: David Miranda Is Nobody’s Errand Boy.
After I spent several weeks with Miranda and Greenwald in and around their home in the upscale, artist-friendly Rio neighborhood of Gavea over the last month, one thing has become very clear: David Miranda knew exactly what he was doing. To believe he was played as some type of dupe or mule by Greenwald not only ignores the real nature of their relationship but also assumes that there’s some safer way to transport sensitive documents across the globe. Is there any device more fail-safe and secure than the person you love the most? Does Apple make that sort of product?
Miranda knew very well that he was traveling from Rio to Berlin to see Greenwald’s reporting partner, documentarian Laura Poitras, and that he would be returning through the U.K., all the time carrying a heavily encrypted flash drive directly related to the trove of documents that former and now notorious CIA employee Edward Snowden had vacuumed from the National Security Agency and had given to Greenwald earlier in the year.
The sections I’ve set in bold text are very interesting, given these statements by Miranda and Greenwald when they were interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper shortly after the incident (the relevant section begins at 4:53):
COOPER: David, I know you — you had said that they took a laptop, memory sticks, an external hard drive, your cell phone and more. Do you know what were stored on those devices? What — were there — was there classified material?
MIRANDA: I don’t know that. I mean I was just taking the file — those materials back to Glenn. I mean, you know, Glenn, being working with a lot of stories along the years, I didn’t quite follow everything that he writes every day. I can’t follow him because I have to have a life. And I mean I can’t know everything that he’s been working with.
So back in August, Miranda and Greenwald were playing it as if Miranda were completely ignorant of what he was carrying. He “didn’t follow” everything Greenwald writes, because he had his own life. Documents? What documents?
Both of them seem to be slightly smirking in this video, like they were sharing some kind of secret joke at Anderson Cooper’s expense — and they were. Because today, Miranda’s story is radically different:
“I have been involved in every aspect of Glenn’s life, why wouldn’t I be a part of this?” Miranda asserts over lunch at a fashion mall in Rio’s São Conrado neighborhood the next afternoon. “I think what Snowden did was heroic. Glenn and Laura’s reporting is so important. It caused a serious debate about privacy and internet freedom in my country and around the world. I’m so proud to be able to play any role at all in that. I’d go to jail for that.”
“Glenn and I have talked all the time about what doing these stories would do to our lives. Since we met, I’ve pushed him and supported him,” Miranda says. He starts counting on his fingers: “I’ve helped him negotiate contracts; I make sure he gets paid what he deserves — Glenn just wants to work and sometimes will do it for cheap.” Miranda’s list continues with ascending urgency. “When Glenn publishes NSA stories in foreign countries, I help reach out to press so the stories get the most exposure. For a while we considered starting our own website to publish the NSA documents; when Glenn thought The Guardian was taking too long to publish the first NSA story, I told him he had to make them know he would go somewhere else to publish if they delayed too much.”
For someone who “doesn’t follow everything Greenwald does,” he certainly seems to follow and be actively involved in everything Greenwald does. In fact, it sounds like Miranda is Greenwald’s de facto manager.
And one more point; showing that Miranda was fully complicit in the document-smuggling scheme does nothing to refute the statement that he was a “mule.” In fact, it fully confirms that this was his role in the illicit operation.
As for the assertion that there’s no “safer way to transport sensitive documents across the globe,” well, that’s just a foolish statement. There are many ways to securely transfer encrypted files across the Internet that are much safer than sending Glenn Greenwald’s partner on a round-the-world excursion with thousands of stolen classified documents.
(h/t: Jeremy Duns.)