June 9th, 2013
01:51 PM ET
10 years ago

Guardian’s Greenwald, Rep. Mike Rogers trade blows over leaks coverage

(CNN) - Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, GOP Rep. Mike Rogers, said Sunday the Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald "doesn't have a clue how this thing works," referring to the U.S. government's surveillance techniques approved by his committee.

"I know your reporter that you interviewed, Greenwald, says that he's got it all and now is an expert on the program. He doesn't have a clue how this thing works," Rogers said on ABC's "This Week." "Neither did the person who released just enough information to literally be dangerous."

Greenwald, along with The Washington Post this week, broke news about the extent to which the National Security Agency is using data-mining and phone record surveillance to combat terrorism.

Greenwald pushed back against Rogers' assertion on CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday.

"To the extent that politicians like Republican Mike Rogers are running around boasting that only they know but not the rest of us know about what the U.S. government is doing in terms of how it is spying on its own citizens, that to me is exactly the reason why transparency is so vital here," Greenwald, long an advocate for more transparent government, said on CNN.

"We shouldn't have a massive spying apparatus being constructed completely beyond democratic accountability, beyond the knowledge of the citizens upon whom it's spying, and done in the dark," he continued. "And that's exactly why as I journalist - I think it's so vital to shine light on what it is the government is doing."

Rogers didn't explain what he believed the Guardian columnist had incorrect in his reporting during his television appearance Sunday.

Both the White House and Congressional members have expressed concern that the information revealed in Greenwald's reporting on telephone record collection and Internet data-mining provides a roadmap to terrorists of the United States' intelligence gathering.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a statement Saturday attacking the media's "rush to publish."

"Over the last week we have seen reckless disclosures of intelligence community measures used to keep Americans safe," Clapper said. "In a rush to publish, media outlets have not given the full context - including the extent to which these programs are overseen by all three branches of government - to these effective tools."

Greenwald also attempted to discredit Clapper's statement.

"As for the statements of Clapper, what I would say is this: In every single case over the last four or five decades, whenever reporters expose the secret conduct of government officials, they use the same playbook," Greenwald said, "They try to scare Americans into believing that they should be trusted to exercise powers. And then they attack the journalists. They did that with the Pentagon Papers."

The Pentagon Papers were 7,000 pages of government documents, leaked to New York Times, that revealed what senior American leaders, including several presidents, knew about the Vietnam War. The papers, which The New York Times published in 1971, showed that the government had lied to Congress and the public about the progress of the war.

Shortly after The New York Times began publishing the papers, the U.S. government sought an injunction to cease publication. The case rose to the Supreme Court, which decided that the government was unable to qualify "prior restraint," and decided in favor of the Times.

The Obama administration indicated in a press conference Friday they would begin an investigation into the leaks that resulted in last week's disclosures of government secrets.

"We are doing an assessment of the damage that has been done to U.S. national security by the revelation of this information," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters.

"This is something that I think will be addressed in the coming days by the Justice Department of the intelligence community in consultation with the full interagency that's been affected by these very disturbing leaks of national security information."

Filed under: Intelligence • Mike Rogers • NSA
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    IMO if what you have to say compromises national security you shouldn't say it...or print it....or quote it.

    I don't want to be literally "transparent" because of some "journalist's" loose lips.
    Common sense people. Let's use it.

    June 10, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
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