Glenn Greenwald NSA Quote

Quote of the Day

“Just shut up. Now. Every time you say stuff like this, you make it easier to marginalize you as a messenger, and you cost yourself allies in the general cause for which you have risked so much. Answer no more questions from Mr. Greenwald or anyone else. Huddle with your legal advisers. (Actually, this is very good advice.) The United States government is not interested in murdering you. If you have proof to the contrary, please provide it, and all answers containing the names “al-Alwaki” or “Rand Paul” will be immediately disallowed by our judges.” Charlie Pierce on Snowden’s claim that he might be assassinated by the U.S. government

This has been my concern all along. Every time he makes another outrageously unsubstantiated claim, he sounds more like a paranoid Ron-Paul-meets-Alex-Jones disciple, with, admittedly, a big brain.

  • Mike Huben

    He has antagonized the most powerful nation in the world, a nation that (a) kills even American citizens with drones (b) tortures American citizens (such as Bradley Manning) (c) has a long history of playing dirty tricks with the FBI, CIA, etc. (d) will extradite him if possible and (e) has a history of kidnapping people for torture in other nations.

    This is not paranoia: the US is really out to get him. He can’t know easily just how far they will go, and that’s a great reason to be fearful.

    • i_a_c

      Off to the FEMA gulags with you.

    • Victor_the_Crab

      Alex Jones, is that you?!!

      • jasonwhat

        Yeah! Killing US citizens with drones…teenagers even? That is tinfoil hat talk. What do we steal elections, peddle false documents about nuclear programs in order to invade countries. Crazytown!

        • Bubble Genius

          How many teenagers were collateral damage in WWII? Korea? What the actual fuck. Is it just that you want NO WAR EVER and that every war ever fought for any reason was wrong and none of our beeswax?

          • jasonwhat

            Well, yes I do want NO WAR EVER. War causes horrible destruction and death and I hope we can solve conflicts peacefully, but sadly this is not always the reality.

            We are not at war with Yemen. I shed no tears for al-Awaki, but I do for what we have become. A nation of secret assassination orders and no public debate about this shift. A nation of scared children. And I do shed a tear for his 16 year old son — it is certainly not clear that he was collateral damage.

            I love Bob’s writing. It is informed and intelligent, though I don’t always agree. This is the first time I engaged in comments and I didn’t realize they were all anger and vitriol. Bummer.

          • i_a_c

            We have never publicly debated war targets. Ever. Those have been in the sole purview of the executive forever and for always.

            What we could debate is whether those war powers are necessary anymore. The president seems open to scaling back. Hopefully we can do that.

          • jasonwhat

            This isn’t about ‘war targets.” It is about American citizens. We aren’t at war with Yemen. The executive did not have the unilateral authority to kill US citizens with no trial. Why are you so eager to defend extra-judicial killing and the murder of a 16 year old US citizen?

          • Bubble Genius

            War causes horrible destruction and death, yes it does. So to minimize the destruction and death is a better thing, right? Sending hundreds of thousands to fight and most likely die, that didn’t work out so hot for us with Iraq, did it? And it sure didn’t work out well for the civilians in Iraq.

            But Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam weren’t a patch on WWII – hell, the whole war didn’t even hit Hiroshima levels of death and destruction, and that was one motherfucking hour.

            These days, instead of sending millions of people off to war, we send fewer, so fewer die. Math, it’s amazing when you use it.

            So let me be boring here with semi-recent history for a few minutes with numbers I’ve pulled from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism ( – I’m going to go with their highest estimates when there’s variance.

            Bush era drone strikes & covert ops:

            52 attacks, 599 killed, 292 of those being civilians, 123 of those being children.

            Obama era drone attacks and covert ops (their estimates for attacks outside Pakistan have summaries for the Bush numbers, and I’m too lazy to pick through each breakdown, so hell, let’s give them all to Obama):

            572 attacks, 4,596 killed, 936 of those being civilians, 115 of those being children.

            More strikes, more killed (also, more years), but fewer kids. If we’re talking percentiles, 20% of casualties under Bush were children vs. 2.5% under Obama.

            Now let’s look at the Iraq & Afghanistan Wars – Iraq military deaths taken from and civilian deaths taken from the Iraq Body Count Project – Afghanistan military info taken from and civilian death info from the UN (data only available from 2007 on, so Bush’s numbers may be a little low).

            Casualties under Bush:

            13,092 US military deaths and 107,189 civilians estimated dead, no idea what percentage of this number is children.

            Casualties under Obama:

            1,930 US military deaths and 23,816 civilians estimated dead, again, no idea how many of those are children.

            So let’s assess this quick pull of numbers – even with the drone attacks that have increased since Bush creepy-crawled his way back to Crawford, there are way, waaaaaaay fewer people dead under Obama’s watch.

            Dead folk under Bush: 120,880

            Dead folk under Obama: 30,342

            Plus, Obama got Bin Laden, and a lot of other people the Bush Administration were allegedly looking for, and they’ve managed to do it without killing an extra hundred thousand people. Ain’t this a good thing? Or at least a *better* thing?

          • Bubble Genius

            I’ll add another fun number – gun-related deaths in the US – about 300,000 since Bush took office. If you’re worried about dead kids, I suggest you direct more effort toward gun control and eradicating poverty.

          • Victor_the_Crab

            Oh yays to that!

          • jasonwhat

            Also, I do work on a gun control campaign, but my point was not about dead kids but US overreach.

          • muselet



          • jasonwhat

            I’m not sure what this strawman has to do with anything. Is it better to not invade Iraq than to invade? Yes. What you have outlined is a false choice: either we go to war with every country where we’ve used drones and cause hundreds of thousands of deaths, or we use drones to strike. Why do we have to do either? The issue with drones an the move to robot warfare is that the cost of lethal action is lowered making it dangerously routine.

            Mike Huben made the point that the US had done all kinds of horrible things that are inconsistent with our values and constitution. None of what Mike said is untrue, and his final statement was, “He (Snowden) can’t know easily just how far they will go, and that’s a great reason to be fearful.”

            The Cesca tribalist who apparently do not allow dissent jumped in and called Mike “Alex Jones” for this and taunted, “Off to the FEMA gulags with you.” My response was that Mike isn’t so crazy. We are a nation that now has gone so far as to kill a US citizen without trial, and in a completely separate attack killed his 16 year old son. We install people in office who were not elected through courts that don’t allow us to count ballots, we torture, we spy on our own citizens and commit extrajudicial killings against them. This is FACT, not “Alex Jones'” territory. Nobody is saying invest in gold and hide in a bunker, simply that the US government has done all manner of things that should frighten us all, and I for one do not know how far they will or won’t go to punish Snowden.

            All we know is this administration has pursued more cases against whistleblowers than any other and used their powers to spy on journalists. Maybe that is fine with all of you, but not me. I guess I should go buy some gold from Glen Beck.

        • Victor_the_Crab

          You need to calm the fuck down and take a handful of pills, junior.

          • mrbrink

            I want to know how who what when where why met Wow!

            Where the fuck is Wow?! Why won’t the government listen to me?!?!

            Jefferson once said, “bring me your most strappingest, muscle-backed field hand and I’ll pay you a nickel on Tuesday, fine Sir. Not this Tuesday, mind you, as my crops have not been properly cultivated because it’s so difficult to find good help these days, but perhaps the next. I’ll send my fastest, most trustworthy slave, James, to ensure freshness and good moral standing.”

            But he also said some other things:

            …laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.

            How dare laws and institutions change with the times?

            Let the world know that America has nothing to guard and protect against. We have nothing to lose and nothing to gain by responding to the changing of the times. Here is our ass, world. Fuck it hard.

          • jasonwhat

            Thanks Victor the Crab. Solid fucking argument.

          • Victor_the_Crab

            My pleasure, jasonduh! Anything to assist the mentally handicapped. :D

          • jasonwhat

            Mentally handicapped indeed, I thought the comment section of this blog would emulate the thoughtful analysis of Bob and Ashby’s posts. My first time commenting and I learn it is right up there with YouTube commentors. Oh, naive me.

          • Victor_the_Crab

            It is, jasonduh!. It’s just that we have zero tolerance to numbnuts like you who act like the extreme left version of Fox Nation. So do get the fuck over yourself, snowflake.

          • jasonwhat

            So make an argument. Use your words. Have I said something that is untrue? We didn’t use drone strikes to kill two American citizens with no trial? That makes me “extreme left” and not worthy of basic civility from you? What is your argument exactly? Or am I the fool falling for a troll who doesn’t even know or care what I or @mike_huben:disqus wrote?

    • PaulyJane

      He did what he did with full knowledge of the possible consequences. It was his choice to run off to China of all places. I hope he finds true happiness in a country that is known for abusing the liberty and freedom of its citizens.

  • Robert Speed

    The size of his brain is an open question.

  • sherifffruitfly

    um… he really IS a paranoidronpaulmeetsalexjones disciple. durr.

  • jasonwhat

    Totally agreed! I’m so sick of this guy’s whack-job claims like that the government is capturing the contents of our phone calls, emails and texts without a warrant.

    What’s next, a crazy claim the US and UK hacked the Blackberry phones of all the delegations at an international summit, stole login credentials of delegates and had analysts around the clock in a room with a giant monitor watching and reporting on all communications?

    Perhaps if some former NSA officials come forward and inform us that staff did try all the proper channels and that whistleblowing was the only option — then I’ll give Snowden a tiny bit of credit. Like any reasonable people will ever stand up for this nut!

    • i_a_c

      That CNET story was debunked. Fail.

      • blackdaug

        Not just debunked…retracted “plug pulled”
        Second article: We spy on foreign leaders in other countries…what a revelation!
        Third article: Old NSA whistleblowers re-reveal plan we already knew about…

        God they aren’t even bothering to read the retractions anymore.

        • IrishGrrrl

          God they aren’t even bothering to read the retractions anymore.

          Yeah and they’re hoping other rubes on the Internet won’t either.

        • jasonwhat

          On video Nadler said, “We heard precisely that didn’t need a warrant.” Now he put out a statement walking that back — that is not “debunked.” He has not explained the discrepancy. I certainly don’t consider the DNI statement debunking.

          Third article — Old NSA whistleblowers are not crazies as you all claim is the case with Snowden and of course Bob has a long running Greenwald hatred.

          I just wish we could have the honest debate about how far we want to go down the path of a permanent eavesdropping state instead of the personal attacks that always dominate what should be a meaningful discussion.

          • i_a_c

            The whole CNET article was based on Nadler’s statement and not a whole lot else. He apparently was mistaken and took it back.

          • jasonwhat

            I agree with Bob that CNET’s initial headline was unacceptable. Though every click-bait news headline is these days (HuffPo anyone?), but that is no excuse.

            I don’t agree with Bob that Nadler was unclear. It is a pretty strong statement, but the question that gets at the veracity of Snowden’s claims is not: Do they require a warrant to follow the metadata and ultimately eavesdrop or gather text messages? It is, do the analysts have the technical access to spy on citizens without a warrant.

            On the one hand, we have a legal question — is it legal without a warrant. On the other we have Snowden’s claim — that an analyst CAN intercept communications. The truth in both cases is vital. This all comes down to trust ultimately. There are those who are happy to keep all this in closed door hearings and trust Feinstein and Franken that it is all necessary and constitutional. And there are those of us who think this issue deserves sunlight — that they are too big a change of course for our country to leave to oversight committees. I count myself, Wyden and possibly Snowden in the latter. That said, I won’t resort to calling those who disagree with me “nuts” or “crazy” or Stasi-loving jackbooted thugs.

          • i_a_c

            “Ability” versus “authority” is an important distinction I think–and it seems clear to me from my reading that no analyst has “authority” to wiretap someone’s call at random. It’s possible that they could have the “ability” but honestly I’m not too concerned about that. If they are doing auditing, and a couple sources say that they are, that’s good enough for me.

        • D_C_Wilson

          What? We spy on Russia and China??

          When did that happen?!!?!111??!

  • blackdaug

    “Every time he makes another outrageously unsubstantiated claim, he sounds more like a paranoid Ron-Paul-meets-Alex-Jones disciple, with, admittedly, a big brain.”
    ….because ..thats what he is?

    I mean, the grandiose claims are one thing (..can tap into any phone… including the president’s if he has an email address??) …the paranoid claims (…even if this administration murders!! me…)
    ….but “The Truth will come out!”….and the “democracy cannot function without the informed consent of the governed” stuff….might as well be Glenn Beck!

    I don’t know what his real motivations are (at this point, I really just think he is flat out delusional), but judged solely by the words coming out of his mouth, I don’t really care anymore.
    It has become apparent that if he appears for his next interview, naked with day glo body paint and a bozo wig spouting Thomas Henry…there are still going to be people defending him.
    I think the next question asked of Greenwald should be: Why are you exploiting this person’s mental problems for your own career gain?

  • Bubble Genius

    Seriously –

    (also a seriously underrated Soderbergh movie)