June 9th, 2013
01:51 PM ET
9 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. pat

    "We will punish our enemies and reward our friends!" – Barack Hussein Obama

    Whether you believe it or not – The Banana Republic IS in Power! You should be afraid...be very afraid! Libs too!

    June 9, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Anthony in California

    Why do Republicans hate protecting America from terrorism?

    There were for it before they were against it... (Patriot Act)

    June 9, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. PJ

    So, the Republicans attack Greenwald, but protect Rosen.
    I understand the First Amendment, but since they both publicized sensitive information, obtained through leaks,
    why the difference in the two? Both put people in harm's way, and perhaps aided the enemy.
    They want investigations into leaks, but when they are done, they get all stupid about how it is done.
    You either defend all reporters, or you defend none.
    The leakers are traitors. Maybe reporters should look more into whether the information is harmful to
    our defense, or truly a need to know.

    June 9, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Diddly

    We need more Greenwalds....

    June 9, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. rs

    The Republicans have people like Bachmann on the Intelligence Committee- I would need more than this dude's word that there isn't more info out there like Greenwald says.

    June 9, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. usn-ret

    "Loose Lips Sink Ships" !!! This guy is in Hong Kong waving his American Flag and worrying about what has been going on for " five decades " ?? Am I supposed to be afraid of my lost privacy ?? Fifty years and I'm still walking the streets of a FREE Republic. Whoopee !!!

    June 9, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Gov lies to protect its power, reporters lie to protect theirs. Isnt about security. Isnt about rights. Is about fear and illusion. Without the constant fear, the illusion fades. Once the illusion fades, so does the fear....

    June 9, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. PJ

    Now we know.......

    June 9, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Dixie

    why would we possibly believe anything this administration says. There are nothing but more LIES comming out. No checks or balances and there is no way to possibly believe any of the mess they put out.

    June 9, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. swej

    How does anyone know if these programs are effective? What is the cost, how are constitutional rights being violated? We don't know since the program was secret. Apparently someone believed the government was going to far, hence the leak.

    June 9, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Amazing

    For all the comments about not trusting "this adminstration", how can you trust the media. Rep. Rogers is right in that the media is quick to publish as we have seen in recent years. (I don't like Rep. Rogers politics for the record.) But Rogers and Feinstein are right, in that we need a balance in order to keep us safe.I have no major issues with the program.

    June 9, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    When President Clinton came within seconds of taking Osama bin Ladin it was leaked that the US had tracked him through his cell phone. Bin Ladin stopped using a cell phone. If only that info had not been linked we might not now be living in a post-911 world.

    June 9, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Independent Thinker

    If this country ever has another terrorist attack, Mr Greenwald and his ilk will be screaming at the top of their lungs that we did not do enough to protect the citizens of this country. These programs have been going on for years, I suggest he needs to think about the old saying " Loose Lips can lose the war". Whether he realizes it or not we are at war, a war against terror.

    June 9, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  14. Jep

    I am more afraid of this so called whistle blower (or traitor) now that he is in HK and can't or won't return to the U.S. According to him, he's had access to high security information that may be marketable to foreign governments or others.
    I hope he is returned to the U.S. to face charges.

    June 9, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  15. ja

    the average sam bob is looking for fifteen minutes of fame and a book deal they don't give to shakes a about democracy or national security navy seal gone wild, wiki leaks is all about self gratification, the us gov't have been listening prior to 9/11, suddenly there is an awakening horseradish

    June 9, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  16. Joan

    After watching the interview with the whistleblower I came to the conclusion that he is pretty impressed with himself. He makes it sound as if he could access any information about anybody which is pretty unlikely. Guess he didn't take his oath too seriously. In a report on another media source he said he is worried for his family because he gave out classified security information. What about the families who may be harmed because he has given the terrorists a heads up about the anti-terrorism techniques.? Pretty selfish guy. We were wondering what party affiliation he has. He started to get disillusioned in 2007 which was during the last administration but chose to go public now. Why? He really doesn't sound Democratic or Republican. He sounds more like a Libertarian or some more extreme element. He thinks he is a hero but he may be delusional about that. It will be interesting to find out more about this chap.

    June 9, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  17. Dan5404

    The so-called whistleblower is nothing but a spy. He belongs in prison for a long time. He and Bradley Manning decided that they don't approve of the U.S. government keeping or obtaining secret information, so their misguided ideas have endangered military operations and in Manning's case, many lives. I am an older fairly liberal Democrat, but taking an oath to protect your country and then becoming a spy deserves major prison time. The guy in Hong Kong is not free from deportation, so he shouldn't gloat over his false "victory".

    June 9, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  18. California

    Democrats are always for it when a democrat is in the White House otherwise they're completely against it.

    June 9, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  19. California

    Democrats were against the patriot act so why are they for it now?


    June 9, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  20. California

    This makes Watergate look legal.

    June 9, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  21. Thomas

    This is the scandal of the week , bring in Issa , we need to have an investigation hearing.
    diversion , obstruct the President .

    June 10, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  22. J.V.Hodgson

    I guess a good 70 % of Americans and the rest of us don't read the long fine print of privacy policies when we decide to access a web site or Facebook or Twitter etc. etc.
    They all leave you open to profiling that other corporate can ask for. Please note if you are popup blocker how that restricts the extent of your access in some cases.
    So now we have some profiling going on by the government whose objective is to track terrorism
    the world of the Internet and world wide web means the old idea of privacy of the individual is dead
    And I haven't mentioned what real Hackers can do.

    June 10, 2013 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  23. Name Uche Agonsi

    Rogers was right. Greenwald sounded clueless on the leaks. In the quoted 1971 Pentagon leaks Greenwald contradicted his assertions by accepting that the Court's intervention saved Times. Thats how democracy works. The three Arms of Governance checking themselves. You dont take every Security issue to the public domain. In an evolving world the system has to change for better, & that includes Security. Suggestions for better acceptable change are considered if available, not when they are not. You gotta put up or shut up. What is at stake are two issues.......the limits of press freedom to security consideration in modern world, & the extent balance of privacy to desire for protection. Let the media or anyone else solve them outside existing practices.

    June 10, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  24. blue max

    why has the leaker not been arrested?

    June 10, 2013 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  25. ronvan

    First of all Top secret, secret, confidential information has become a JOKE! We are hearing about this stuff like a daily greeting to someone. IF you are not going to punish those "leaking", and I mean severly punish, then all this other stuff is a waste of time! "Collecting" or mining all this data COULD help, but at what cost? Not a computer expert here, but, wouldn't you have to "attach" certain numbers or words to sound some kind of alert? And if so isn't that the same thing that the IRS is in trouble over?

    June 10, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
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