Watching Glenn Greenwald being interviewed on BBC Newsnight by Kirsty Wark it struck me that he's remarkably blasé about US and UK secrets leaking out to foreign intelligence services. Up to now I've given him the benefit of the doubt that he thought he was doing the right thing, but this interview made it painfully clear what an arrogant little weasel Greenwald actually is.
Wark did a pretty good job pressing him on his motivations and the implications of the leaked data, not to mention the safety of the remaining encrypted data. Greenwald asserted that he and the Guardian had protected the data with "extremely advanced methods of encryption" and he is completely sure that the data is secure. Well, that's fortunate. No danger of anyone having surreptitiously planted a keylogger in either software or hardware on the relevant Guardian computers? No danger of one of the Guardian journalists with access having been compromised by a domestic or foreign security service? Greenwald seems remarkably sure about things he can't practically know about. Perhaps he just doesn't give a crap.
Wark was curious (as am I) about Greenwald's recent contacts with Snowden and Snowden's current welfare. Greenwald claimed that Edward Snowden has protected the data has with "extreme levels of encryption", proof against cracking by the NSA and the "lesser Russian intelligence agencies". Russia being a country where math prodigies are ten a penny, I fear Greenwald may be underestimating their cryptography-fu. Asserting that Snowden didn't spend his life fighting surveillance just to go to Russia and help them surveil, Greenwald stated that the evidence we know makes it "ludicrous" to believe that the Russians or Chinese had access to Snowdon's data.
Hmm. Glenn, I suggest you Google rubber hose cryptanalysis. If I were the Russian FSB, given that they have effectively complete access to and control over Snowden, I'd be extremely tempted to "lean" on him until he gave up the keys that decrypted his stash of data. Heck, why wouldn't they? They'd be practically negligent not to do so. Nor are they likely to shout from the rooftops if they have done so; they're far more likely to exploit the data quietly and effectively while conveniently being able to blame Greenwald and co. for any leaks.
I invite you to contrast this with Greenwald's note that the UK Government "very thuggishly ran roughshod over press freedoms, running criminal investigations and detaining my partner." Detaining David Miranda for nine hours was not necessarily a good plan by the UK, but he was a foreign national and was not a journalist as far as I (and the Guardian) am aware. So Greenwald's reference to press freedom is a little disingenous. As far as "running roughshod" goes, Greenwald can only pray that he doesn't end up in the hands of the FSB... as Guardian journalist Luke Harding could tell him:
Luke Harding, the Moscow correspondent for The Guardian from to 2007 to 2011 and a fierce critic of Russia, alleges that the FSB subjected him to continual psychological harassment, with the aim of either coercing him into practicing self-censorship in his reporting, or to leave the country entirely. He says that FSB used techniques known as Zersetzung (literally "corrosion" or "undermining") which were perfected by the East German Stasi.
The Russian affairs expert Streetwise Professor has been following the Snowden saga with a critical eye for a while now, believing that he's being made to dance to Putin's tune. Most recently he noted that we have no recent statements known to come from Snowdon; even his most recent statement to the UN was read out on his behalf, there's no proof that the statement came from Snowdon himself and indeed the text suggests Greenwald and other Snowden "colleagues" had a hand in his text. If the Russians are treating Snowden well, why isn't he a regular appearance on TV or YouTube?
It must be nice to be as arrogantly cocksure as Greenwald. I bet Snowden for one would be happy to change places with him right now.