Calls Glenn Greenwald “A thief selling stolen material”

Steve Watson
February 5, 2014

In a display that truly underscores why Congress has an approval rating lower than cockroaches, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) yesterday attempted to coerce the head of the FBI into an admission that investigative journalism, such as that undertaken by Edward Snowden backer Glenn Greenwald, equates to a crime under US law.

During a hearing on the NSA’s surveillance program, Rogers, head of the House Intelligence Committee, implied that London Guardian journalist Greenwald is engaged in selling leaked documents to international press organisations.

Rogers then actively encouraged FBI Director James Comey to agree with him that “fencing stolen material” is a crime.

“It would be,” Comey replied, adding a clarifying caveat that in this situation it is “complicated” owing to “First Amendment implications.”

“If you’re a newspaper reporter and you’re hawking stolen jewelry, it’s still a crime,” Comey continued, noting that categorizing a journalist selling access to information, however, would be a “harder question.”

In comments following the hearing, Rogers pulled no punches, telling Politico that “A thief selling stolen material is a thief.”

“For personal gain, he’s now selling his access to information, that’s how they’re terming it,” Rogers said, without specifically referring to Greenwald by name. Rogers also noted that “other nations’ press services” had been sold access to the information.

Glenn Greenwald hit back with comments posted on Twitter:

In further comments to Politico, Greenwald denied ever selling documents, saying that he had only been paid for freelance journalistic services in helping to facilitate news stories.

“I’m never selling documents,” Greenwald said, adding “What they’re trying to do is to remove it (freelancing) from the realm of journalism, so that they can then criminalize it.”

Rogers appears to have bought into the talking point repeatedly floated by NSA officials, such as Director Keith Alexander who has also accused journalists of “selling” leaked material.

“I think it’s wrong that that newspaper reporters have all these documents, the 50,000—whatever they have and are selling them and giving them out as if these — you know it just doesn’t make sense,” Alexander told the Defense Department’s “Armed With Science” blog back in October.

Mike Rogers has previously implied during congressional hearings that he could help put Edward Snowden on a US government targeted assassination list. He has also repeatedly suggested, without presenting any evidence at all, that Snowden is acting in cahoots with foreign powers such as Russia and China.

Rogers has also argued that the government spying on Americans is fine as long as it doesn’t get caught, a notion that he actually helped facilitate by repeatedly failing to share key oversight information on the NSA with other members of Congress.

In related news, members of the House Judiciary Committee investigating the NSA surveillance program have warned the Attorney General’s office that unless meaningful reforms are undertaken, surveillance powers under section 215 of The Patriot Act may be halted in their entirety.

“Section 215 expires in June of next year,” said Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI), adding that “Unless Section 215 is fixed… the intelligence community will end up getting nothing because I am absolutely confident that there are not the votes in this Congress to reauthorize 215.”

Sensenbrenner, who authored the original PATRIOT Act of 2001, has previously stated that the House and Senate Intelligence committees, which are supposed to operate as oversight watchdogs of government spy agencies, have become nothing more than “cheerleaders” for the NSA.


Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, and He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

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