Rep. Alan Grayson Asks Eric Holder If US Citizen Glenn Greenwald Will Actually Be Allowed Back Into The US Without Arrest

from the shameful-that-this-question-is-asked dept

It's horrifying enough that this question needs to be asked, but Rep. Alan Grayson, who has been one of the most vocal members of Congress in calling out the NSA's bad behavior has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, seeking assurance that if US citizen Glenn Greenwald were to come back into the US that he could do so without being arrested. Grayson notes that a variety of prominent people, both within and outside the government (but who have influence on the government) have called for Greenwald to be arrested and prosecuted.
Mr. Greenwald, a United States citizen currently living in Brazil, has been publicly attacked by Members of Congress such as Representative Peter King, who on multiple occasions has called for his arrest merely because of his reporting as a journalist on the NSA. The Chairs of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Mike Rogers, have appeared to echo this threat, as have prominent foreign-policy commentators such as Alan Dershowitz and Marc Thiessen.
He also highlights the infamous UK detention of Greenwald's partner, David Miranda. And then asks the basic question of whether or not the US government will agree that Greenwald can enter his own country without arrest for the crime of "journalism the government doesn't like."
I regard this as regrettable, because: (1) the commission of journalism is not a crime; (2) on the contrary, it is protected explicitly under the First Amendment; and (3) Mr. Greenwald's reports regarding these subjects have, in fact, informed me, other Members of Congress, and the general public of serious, pervasive violations of law and constitutional rights committed by agents of the government.

Bearing in mind that Mr. Greenwald is a citizen of the United States, please let me know: (1) whether the Department of Justice intends to bring charges against Mr. Greenwald, and (2) should Mr. Greenwald seek to enter the United States, whether the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, or any other office of the federal government intends to detain, question, arrest, or prosecute Mr. Greenwald, or to monitor or interfere in any way with his entry into or movement within the United States.
It's a sad and shameful comment on the state of the US government today that this question needs to be asked, no matter what the eventual answer is. We've strayed very very far from the ideals that this country is supposed to embrace.


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  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:32am

    Someone's not caught up with the times it seems, arresting someone would require an arrest warrant, which means a paper-trail, something government agencies these days are deathly allergic to, so I'm sure he wouldn't be 'arrested' after entering the country, though I wouldn't put high odds on him not being taken away to be 'questioned'.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 7:13am

    God, I love Grayson. The dude isn't afraid of blunt phrase.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 7:16am

    Re:

    Indeed, a liberal I love him for being so willing to call out conservative politicians on their lies, and for being one of the few tech savvy politicians.

     

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    Brazenly Anonymous, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 7:44am

    Pointless

    The answer will either be the equivalent of, "Of course not" meaning "please convince him to enter the US so we can" or it will be "we don't arrest people who don't commit crimes." In order to even have a chance to garner useful meaning out of this question, you'd need to ask whether the DOJ considered Greenwald's acts to be classifiable as terrorist. A firm rejection there would be only answer to this query that could provide any measure of protection for Greenwald.

    Of course, he'd probably still get scooped up for questioning with regards to Snowden. Greenwald is better off ignoring the answer and treating US authorities as hostile.

    Basically, this is a form of theater that, handled correctly, could help push back against abuses directed towards journalists. However, it is unlikely the DOJ will comply or even respond.

     

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  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 7:47am

    Hmm. I regard this as grandstanding. Presumes wouldn't just sent a hit squad.

    I premise my notions on the whole Snowden "leak" being a limited hangout psyop, and therefore (probably unwitting) Greenwald is actually useful tool to give that credence besides useful as "enemy of the state". This item just builds up Greenwald, even though he's actually publishing nothing at the moment. So on surface, even this serves the limited hangout.

    Greenwald stirs up controversy that lets the now many outright fascists openly call for blood, and the usual about third of the populace is with them (as sometimes evidenced here). -- IF Greenwald were actually seriously damaging the interests of the criminal corporatocracy now in DC, then it's hardly a stretch to suppose that he'd be murdered. Not difficult to do without too explicit of evidence. With some criminals in Congress openly calling for starting to bomb the entire nation of Iran without even bothering to fabricate an excuse, it's minor matter to send a hit squad after one man. That's the kind of new world order we're under.

    But Greenwald's lucrative "once in a career" new job will likely sidetrack him in a way that the public will accept without notice. And that's whether it's explicit buy-off or not. By time his book comes out next year, this NSA flap will likely have run its course, one way or another. For example, we may have a new and very hot war with Iran for distraction, providing new excuse for endless surveillance.

    In any case, the LACK of new pieces from Greenwald has removed him from play. He's supposedly been handed tons of information but is sifting it to make sure no harm comes to the agents of the surveillance state. -- As if that should be a concern when the rights of billions are violated. -- And how does Greenwald decide that, and why should he? -- At best, he's put himself in position of helping the state.

    Don't believe anything about this NSA flap until people are actually in jail for known crimes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Re:

    Technically, the detention IS arrest.

    1ar·rest
    transitive verb \ə-ˈrest\

    : to use the power of the law to take and keep (someone, such as a criminal)

    : to stop the progress or movement of (something)

    : to attract and hold the attention of (someone or something)


    If a cop attempts to pull you over and you flee, you are charged with resisting arrest even though there is no warrant. Detaining you such that you are not free to leave IS an arrest whether there is a warrant or not.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    look on the bright side. the USA isn't alone in this thinking. the UK is at least on par, if not even worse!

     

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    kitsune361, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    Except if there was a warrant for his arrest or indictment it would likely be under seal.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 7:57am

    The US government is not quite behaving as an absolute monarchy, Alan Grayson was not arrested for asking the question.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    Not for nothing, but if the question needs to be asked, then he likely already knows that the answer is "yes, he'll be arrested/harassed/questioned/detained" or whatever other word they'll use to deny him his rights.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 8:19am

    Re: Hmm. I regard this as grandstanding. Presumes wouldn't just sent a hit squad.

    I applaud you for making a semi-coherent point without resorting to ad-hominem or going terribly off-topic.

    Though I disagree with the premise. The NSA leaks are stirring up too much trouble for the US to be worth whatever gains can be extracted from them.

    Allies are angry and deals are already being cancelled. These leaks will have a strong impact in the economy of the US in the long term because the economy of the US is strongly reliant on Intellectual Property - Intellectual Property which people will be increasingly weary of. It will also be incredibly hard to gain worldwide support for another war.

    Whatever short term gains such a PsyOp could have don't justify the long term damage it has caused. I am inclined to believe, based on the evidence, that Occam's Razor is in effect here: the simplest explanation is the correct one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 8:25am

    Iron Eagle.

     

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    Bobbins (profile), Nov 8th, 2013 @ 8:26am

    It's evident they have shat all over the Constitution and by extension federal law.

    Through these programmes they have all of your personal information and they just need to interpret it in such a way as to create a criminal, so technically Greenwald may not be arrested for the Snowden leaks but arrested nonetheless.

    What was once innocent until proven guilty is now innocent until an inconvenience.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    Re: Hmm. I regard this as grandstanding. Presumes wouldn't just sent a hit squad.

    1. Murdering Greenwald would be one of the BIGGEST mistakes they could make. They are steadily losing their battle to desperately try to spin all of this such that public will once again support them in their efforts. Killing Greenwald would only hasten that decline as many more people would spring into his place.

    2. It is likely this is going to take some time as the abuses by the NSA are VAST, have run unchecked for decades, and they are firmly entrenched with considerable power and force behind them. This is not a battle that can be won quickly, so the idea that "this NSA flap will likely have run its course" any time soon is highly unlikely.

    3. What separates Greenwald (and the other journalists reporting on this) from their counterparts in government (and thus gives them credibility over their counterparts) is that they don't have a "ends justify the means" mentality which is EXACTLY why it is still a concern even "when the rights of billions are violated." It is always easier to fight from the high ground.

    4. I seriously suspect that Greenwald's new venture had less to do with money and more to do with being free to pursue the stories he wanted to in the way he wanted to pursue him without being subject to other means of control. Just look at the calls in the UK being made to reign in the journalists over these matters. Writing for the Guardian he has less ability to control over the matter should the management decide to acquiesce.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 8:47am

    Re:

    You're making that mistake of assuming that the US Government is an honest entity. It's a sensible mistake to make, but it's still a mistake.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    I wouldn't trust Eric Holder's reply. Mr. Holder is a proven pathological liar. An example of his lying nature would be when he said he didn't order wiretaps on AP reporters. Later documents proved that he did indeed authorize and sign for such wiretaps, on said reporters.

    The man's a liar with zero credibility, like most in government. You cannot take him at his word.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re:

    Had you followed the 2010 election for the US House of Representatives 10th District in Florida, it is quite doubtful Mr. Grayson would have enjoyed your admiration. Even "Liberalites" were troubled by his dishonest manipulation of Mr. Webster's (the eventual winner) personal character and legislative record.

     

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    beltorak (profile), Nov 8th, 2013 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Hmm. I regard this as grandstanding. Presumes wouldn't just sent a hit squad.

    I disagree with your reasoning a bit; specifically

    > Whatever short term gains such a PsyOp could have don't justify the long term damage it has caused.

    The government doesn't always act it its best long-term interests. This danger can be exacerbated by secretive organizations enacting plans because they do not have the benefit of reasoned discourse among all relevant stakeholders, nor access to some of the most apt philosophical arguments (for or against) and strategic sociopolitical thinking. Or, in short, closeted committees conduce circlejerky conceptions.

     

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  19.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Nov 8th, 2013 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re:

    yeah, well, yea-h-h-h...
    but he is also in the amen chorus for israel-no-matter-what church, to mix metaphors and religions in one fell swoop...

    i give him credit for daring to rock the boat some, as long as zionist issues aren't at stake...

     

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  20.  
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    Digitari, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 4:49pm

    Over Snowden, No....

    We have the NDAA, we'll just call him an "Enemy of the State"

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 9th, 2013 @ 7:27am

    Barely a start

    We've strayed very very far from the ideals that this country is supposed to embrace.
    In some respects, this is not the worst part of the problem. The "straying" happened long ago, the problem is that it's only now that people are starting to notice how far from civilisation the path has taken them. Worse still is that the noticing is not yet enough to make any realistic effort to head back towards somewhere a little more civilised or even to stop the direction of straying.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:19am

    Greenwald was writing for a British newspaper. The Guardian, as a British newspaper, is NOT SUBJECT to U.S. laws. Now, there are those of TPTB in Britain that are looking at a possible prosecution there, but the United States has NO jurisdiction over a BRITISH newspaper.

     

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