Both The Washington Post and The New York Times thought it was big news on Thursday that leftist writer Glenn Greenwald is leaving the leftist British rag The Guardian and starting a new journalism venture with eBay moneybags Pierre Omidyar. Greenwald even claimed (sans laugh track) that the new site would not be driven by a particular political ideology, but added that “setting out to pursue adversarial, accountability journalism is a kind of ideology.”
In this month's Commentary magazine, James Kirchick spotlights Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill as exemplars of "treason chic." The best part is a display of how Greenwald bristled with outrage over the disclosure of CIA agent Valerie Plame in the Bush years, and then was outraged in favor of the outing of CIA contractor Raymond Davis in 2011:
Such figures are, instead, anti-beholden—to the United States. Examine the way, for instance, that Greenwald selectively views the disclosure of classified information, particularly the identities of undercover agents. It was not long ago that Greenwald and many of the same people now praising Snowden as a “whistleblower” were calling for the heads of those individuals they believed had revealed the name of an undercover CIA officer: Valerie Plame. “In disclosing to reporters the classified information of Plame’s CIA employment, what [former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney “Scooter”] Libby did was wrong and almost certainly illegal,” Greenwald wrote in 2005. Ironically, it was Agee’s exposés—cheered wildly at the time by left-wing critics of American foreign policy, Greenwald’s political progenitors—that led Congress to pass the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. This was the very law invoked to justify a special prosecutor’s investigation into the leaking of Plame’s identity, an investigation Greenwald lustily applauded.
Contrast Greenwald’s contempt for those who leaked the identity of Plame with his reaction to the plight of Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor who sparked a diplomatic crisis with Pakistan in 2011 after shooting two men dead in Lahore. Davis claimed the men had tried to attack him, and that he had acted in self-defense. Washington insisted that Davis was a State Department employee and thus protected by diplomatic immunity, a claim it would later have to retract after the Guardian irresponsibly revealed his true identity. Upon learning that the New York Times had initially heeded a U.S. government request not to disclose the details of Davis’s employment for fear of his safety, Greenwald sneered that the paper was “an active enabler of government propaganda.” Greenwald’s blatant inconsistency on the matter of covert identities suggests that he supports the divulgence of America’s clandestine activities when it can be used to slander his country and endanger its personnel, and opposes it only when it fits his own political agenda.
The Post article focused on leftist compliment trading:
Greenwald, in a statement to BuzzFeed.com, which broke the news about him, said: “My partnership with the Guardian has been extremely fruitful and fulfilling. I have high regard for the editors and journalists with whom I worked and am incredibly proud of what we achieved. The decision to leave was not an easy one, but I was presented with a once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity that no journalist could possibly decline.”
Guardian spokesman Gennady Kolker called Greenwald “a remarkable journalist,” adding, “Our work together over the last year has demonstrated the crucial role that responsible investigative journalism can play in holding those in power to account. . . . We wish him all the best.”