Transcript: Interview With Glenn Greenwald on "System Update"
On the efforts to squeeze out independent platforms like Rumble and Substack
The clip above, from a recent discussion with old friend Glenn Greenwald, is an excerpt. For a full, high-quality video of the interview transcribed below, please click this link, to Glenn’s System Update on Rumble.
It’s been ten years since Glenn, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman, and Ewen MacAskill publicized the revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The NSA using 9/11 as a pretext to collect phone data of ordinary citizens seemed outrageous, and release of the news was recognized as a great public service by everyone from the Pulitzer Commitee to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, but there were ominous signs. Congressman Peter King said, “No American should give Glenn Greenwald an award for anything.” Andrew Ross Sorkin said he’d “almost arrest” Glenn, Paul Farhi of the Washington Post wondered if Glenn had become “something other than a reporter,” and David Gregory asked on Meet the Press why he shouldn’t be “charged with a crime.” Neal Patrick Harris scored nervous yuks at the Oscars by saying Snowden couldn’t be here “for some treason,” and a cascade of intelligence officials, from Jim Clapper to Matthew Olsen to new Obama “National Counterintelligence Executive” William Evanina soon piled on to similarly question the decision to reward such reporting. “Instead of getting carried away with the concept of leakers as heroes,” Evanina said, “we need to get back to the basics of what it means to be loyal.”
Evanina won out, and the brilliant decision to repackage the War on Terror as a progressive conceit has since allowed the intellectual set to fully wrap arms around the FBI, CIA, and NSA, and dismiss critics as disloyal, Putin-adjacent Trumpists. The publisher of the Snowden pieces, The Guardian, has been transformed into an open security state organ, publishing ludicrous propaganda like Luke Harding’s never-corrected “bombshell” that Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange. Glenn moved to Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, where I too briefly joined up, but Omidyar not only stopped sponsoring confrontation with the intelligence community, he became one of the biggest funders of the spy world’s current propaganda obsession, “anti-disinformation.”
Glenn moved to Rumble. Now, instead of Peter King and former House intel chief Mike Rogers (who called Glenn a “thief” in the Snowden days), he shares, with those of us at Substack, antagonists like Amy Klobuchar and NewsGuard (which called Rumble “hoax central”). Some of us even under torture probably couldn’t pull off “what it means to be loyal,” which is why five years from now, Glenn and I will be doing podcast hits from opposite ends of the same ice floe, with new members of congress calling for its sinking. The obvious gallows humor subtext to this discussion has something to do with that. From 9/11 to Snowden to the Twitter Files to now, it’s all been the same story. Thanks to Glenn for staying the course through all those years, and to System Update:
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