In the wake of the Edward Snowden files, the attitude towards journalist Glenn Greenwald and NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden has turned into smear campaign to distract readers from what has occurred. One of the more outspoken bloggers leading this charge is Kutztown graduate Bob Cesca from The Daily Banter. Over the weekend, Cesca released an article showing the “inaccuracies” in Glenn Greenwald’s reporting, but he hasn’t gone after the other journalist who are making, and supporting, the same claims as Glenn Greenwald.
As we wrote a couple of days ago in our article “From the Isle of Denial…,” Cesca’s factual arguments relies on the tech companies denial to publicly disclose a top-secret program. To follow up on the public denials, we reported that the Washington Post, the New York Times and other news outlets weren’t toting Facebook’s or Google’s public statements. On June 9th, Barton Gellman and others from the Washington Post stated:
One top-secret document obtained by The Post described it as “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”
Intelligence community sources said that this description, although inaccurate from a technical perspective, matches the experience of analysts at the NSA. From their workstations anywhere in the world, government employees cleared for PRISM access may “task” the system and receive results from an Internet company without further interaction with the company’s staff.
So, what does Bob Cesca release for a second time? He doubles down and recycle the same arguments he made used earlier in the week and continues to make this an issue solely about Glenn Greenwald. But why hasn’t Bob Cesca decided to go after Barton Gellman, who was the origninal reporter to publish the PRISM data? After all, it was Barton Gellman who originally published the PRISM slides, and then it was followed up by Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian.
Since the leaks have been reported, Barton Gellman has been making the media rounds corroborating the same claims that Greenwald made in his reporting, which are the same claims that the those writing for The Daily Banter have been trying to debunk, relentlessly. Clearly, Cesca is trying to go after the weakest link on the chain. While Greenwald may be an outspoken “journo-activist,” Barton Gellman has had some of the more revealing intelligence stories over the past decade. As Rachel Maddow cited on her show, Barton Gellman broke stories on Bin Laden escaping to Tora Bora, the aluminum rods in Iraq – which posed no threat – but the Bush Administration claimed were WMD’s, Bush’s “continuity of government” actions and a host of other stories. While on Maddow’s program, Gellman once again backed up the claims that his PRISM story is correct. When Maddow asked Gellman about the inaccuracies in his story – which are the same inaccuracies Bob Cesca has a huge problem with, Gellman replied:
The action is problematic. You have a lot of people going around saying that ‘this is nothing different than any other kind of warrant, subpoena, it goes to a court to find probable cause, and then, only then, does the government go into the servers of Facebook, Google and Microsoft…’
…and that misses something really big, which are that there are secret opinions in the surveillance court, which means only in secret and issues opinions that are only classified that say ‘rather that having to specify a phone number, or email..you can now define the facility a search to be the entire server.
He then continues to explain the inaccuracies that have been cited.
So, my obvious questions for Bob Cesca is how come The Daily Banter is trying to make this a story about Glenn Greenwald? And how come Bob Cesca won’t go after Barton Gellman who originally broke the PRISM story. While Cesca still tries to cite articles that were released the day after the PRISM story broke, Gellman responded to the inaccuracies days after his original story broke, and has made multiple TV rounds defending the inaccuracies that – supposedly – Greenwald has been making.