It’s been days now without a breaking news NSA story. That just feels as if something’s wrong. So I thought to myself, yesterday evening. Did I miss something? Next I went to check out The Intercept, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s much-awaited news site, two weeks after its launch. “Fearless, adversarial journalism” is what I expected.
An epic rant on the United Kingdom is what I found. Glenn Greenwald appeared to be disappointed that a lower British court had upheld the legality of David Miranda’s detention last year, his partner. Here’s the punchline:
Grown adults who have been elected or appointed to nothing run around with a straight face insisting that they be called “Lord” and “Baroness” and other grandiose hereditary titles of the landed gentry. They bow and curtsey to a “Queen”, who lives in a “palace”, and they call her sons “Prince”.
Granted, that’s rather amusing. Reading The Intercept was far more fun than expected. Especially for somebody who didn’t grow up in this “adolescent medieval fantasy game,” as Greenwald calls London. This was like Hello! Magazine, without the irony. Just fearless, adversarial journalism.
But that raises an actually interesting question: what happened to the newsworthy, high quality journalism on intelligence matters? Sorry, did I write ‘high quality’?
Last December Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian, told the HASC that only 1 percent of all of the Snowden material has been published. Strange, then, that The Intercept didn’t find a more exciting story for its opening salvo on 10 February. That story was on the NSA’s role in targeting for drone strikes, on how metadata may be used for targeted killings. That in itself wasn’t new. It contained a few new tidbits, yes. But no Quantum Insert story, no Prism or Co-traveler. And nothing that exciting since.
Except Trevor Paglen’s pictures of American office buildings at night. Not adversarial and fearless. But they look good. And thanks for placing them in the public domain without restrictions.