A Brief Reader’s Guide to Tim Shorrock’s Reporting on The Intercept and the Questions it Raises

To be published tomorrow

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I’ve never been a fan of The Intercept, even when I worked there and certainly not after I saved my own life and soul by quitting and foregoing about $1 million (estimate) during the last four years in salary, bonuses, benefits and retirement. But I don’t care much about the old dump, it’s just that readers and writers keep bringing it to my attention.

Some might say that I’m biased against The Intercept, given that I once wrote that the money wasted on it by eBay entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar represented “the greatest squandering of money and example of criminal ineptitude in the history of modern journalism.”

Point taken.

But tomorrow we will be running a multipart series on The Intercept by Tim Shorrock, who is one of the fairest and most respected journalists anywhere. And his pieces are not only damning, but, making matters worse, no one at The Intercept, from Omidyar all the way down to Jeremy Scahill, which is about as low as you can sink, would reply to him.

Shorrock’s stories raise a lot of troubling questions, which, as I just noted, no one at The Intercept is willing to answer. I’ll be writing and running pieces this week about The Intercept and here are some questions I would like answered.

—Did Omidyar set up The Intercept on behalf of U.S. intelligence, in order to entrap, expose and prosecute whistleblowers? If so, which intelligence agency or agencies?

—Did Glenn Greenwald know about that only after he was hired? Or was he a rat from the start?

—Did Greenwald know or suspect that Edward Snowden was effortlessly played by Russia? Snowden, now residing in Moscow, knows that now, that’s for sure. Whether he knew before his arrival in Moscow from Hong Kong is an open question.

—It’s sort of curious. Greenwald was Omidyar’s first hire and he (and the ghastly Laura Poitras) had pretty much exclusive access to Snowden’s treasure trove from the NSA. When I worked at The Intercept, the Snowden archive was locked in a safe. Omidyar and Greenwald long promised they would make it all available to the public but they never did, and last week, amid staff cuts that will inevitably lead to Omidyar killing the publication, The Intercept announced that the Snowden archive will be sealed off from the public for an undetermined amount of time. So in other words, does this mean that the most explosive leak in U.S. intelligence history ends up being buried alive by Omidyar and Greenwald?

—Does Greenwald have a Swiss bank account? Did he declare it to the IRS? Does it hold between $8 million and $10 million, as sources have told me? I have asked Greenwald about this on Twitter several times — and I’m about to again — but he hasn’t replied.

—Everyone now knows that Greenwald was right about RussiaGate being a hoax and fabrication designed to get rid of President Donald Trump, a vile man for certain but who has committed no crimes worthy of impeachment, as even special counselor Bobby Swan Mueller III now concedes. So what was the purpose of hiring James Risen? Simply to write about how Trump conspired with Vladimir Putin and should be impeached — at minimum — for treason, a crime punishable by execution under U.S. law?

—How much does Greenwald get paid? Poitras? Betsy Reed? Scahill, who helped put Reality Winner in prison? How about his colleague Matthew Cole, who also helped put Winner in prison and who was hired after he put John Kiriakou in prison?

—Kiriakou, if you don’t remember, was the only U.S. person to ever go to prison for CIA torture — and he went to prison because he exposed it, not participated in it, and because of a “mistake” by Cole, who then worked at ABC News. So how did Cole get hired at The Intercept after he put Kiriakou in prison, and why did Betsy Reed keep him on staff after he and Scahill sent Winner to prison as a result of an incredible slew of amateurish “mistakes”?

Think more about these questions after reading Shorrock’s stellar reporting tomorrow, and all week long as we publish more and more on these topics.

Exclusively at Washington Babylon.


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