Eric Holder Doesn't See Any Basis To Prosecute Glenn Greenwald… For Now

from the probably dept

It’s not a complete promise, but in an interview with the Washington Post, Attorney General Eric Holder suggested that, while he disagrees with some of what Glenn Greenwald is doing, he still thinks it’s legitimate journalism and he’s not looking to prosecute him for anything related to the Ed Snowden NSA leaks:

Holder indicated that the Justice Department is not planning to prosecute former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists who received documents from Snowden and has written a series of stories based on the leaked material. Greenwald, an American citizen who lives in Brazil, has said he is reluctant to come to the U.S. because he fears detention and possible prosecution.

“Unless information that has not come to my attention is presented to me, what I have indicated in my testimony before Congress is that any journalist who’s engaged in true journalistic activities is not going to be prosecuted by this Justice Department,” Holder said.

“I certainly don’t agree with what Greenwald has done,” Holder said. “In some ways, he blurs the line between advocate and journalist. But on the basis of what I know now, I’m not sure there is a basis for prosecution of Greenwald.”

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of freedom of the press, nor is it probably enough to make Greenwald feel comfortable. There are enough caveats in those statements that I probably wouldn’t trust it if I were Greenwald. As he noted in response to Holder’s comments, just the fact that the question is out there shows how little the US government respects press freedom these days. Furthermore, he notes that Holder’s statements are hardly reassuring as they’re “caveat-riddled oral assertions.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Holder notes that they’re still looking to inform more defendants in criminal cases if warrantless data was used to arrest and prosecute them, and that he’s still trying to get Snowden back from Russia — something that seems unlikely to happen.

Filed Under: , , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Eric Holder Doesn't See Any Basis To Prosecute Glenn Greenwald… For Now”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
out_of_the_blue says:

So expect Greenwald to be indicted any second now!

Or not, as if the limited hangout view is right, Greenwald is serving NSA’s purpose.

Hey, remember the “tons”, or just today “200,000” pages, of really juicy stuff Snowden is said to have gotten out? Where am that? For a while we had surveillance on this country or that dribbled out — I was promised dirt on Canada* six days ago! — but that, yet again, is clearly implied once the overall scale is known, and where’s any new even on that line? — Why aren’t the gatekeepers in a race with each other to push out more? Where did the competitive urge to publish first go? Why must we wait for Greenwald’s book? How did his swell deal with Bezos just drop into his lap? — Why are they even gate-keeping? Why not just dump all and let the public sort it out? How do they select material or know what might supposedly harm a gov’t agent? And why would We The People care about the latter point? — Where’s the reaction from Congress? How much is cut from NSA budget or strictures applied? Who’s been indicted for the known crimes? — AND SO ON. More I look, the more questions arise.

I hate to be suspicious — we all long for heroes who are fighting the Surveillance State — but there’s STILL nothing to this “leak” that’s new to me. — Google engineers claim they didn’t know of NSA taps, but I did!

So I gotta conclude this is:

Masnicking: daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items.


[ * We all know the Canadians are up to something! I bet they’re spying on our hockey teams and maple syrup industry!

NSA leaks on Canadian surveillance coming, Greenwald says

Last Updated: Nov 09, 2013 10:48 PM ET

roarshock44 says:

you know, when the twin towers went down, i had a hard time understanding what good that would do the terrorists beyond simple fear and probably enhanced recruiting for them. man, are we seeing what the terrorists did to us, and we are just beginning to pay. the land of the free and the home of the brave no longer exists. it’s now the land of the free watchers and the home of the brave watchers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not saying things haven’t taken a turn for the worse, but things were not all peaches and cream.

For a long time there have been people wanting to rule the world, this is nothing new, recently they have been making progress. If they were as smart as they like to claim, they would not fear that which they do not control. Money may equal speech, but power does not equal intelligence.

Anonymous Coward says:

In other words: Don’t go home, Greenwald. It’s a trap!

The “true journalistic” stuff is more legal speak that probably gives him space later to say that what Greenwald did wasn’t “truly journalistic”, so he can arrest him then. Just like Feinstein tried to pass a law that said only certain journalists are “true journalists”, and only they deserve the protection of the Constitution.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

fixed that for ya, eric...

Guerrilla indicated that the 99% are not planning to tar-and-feather current administrators, like Eric Holder, one of the Defenders of the Constitution (sic) who received marching orders from banksters and has written a series of secret laws based on fascist authoritarianism. Holder, an American traitor who skulks in Washintoon, has said he is reluctant to show his face because he fears truth, justice and the American way.

?Unless secret information that has not come to my attention is leaked to me, what I have indicated in my testimony before the world is that any politician who?s engaged in true traitorous activities is not going to be strung up by the 99%,? Guerrilla said.

?I certainly don?t agree with what Empire has done,? Guerrilla said. ?In some ways, he blurs the line between human and psychopath. But on the basis of what I know now, I?m sure there is a basis for stringing up Holder.?


Ezekial says:

OF course he doesnnt. Eric Holder hasnt seen fit to prosecute ANYONE yet unless they are a conservative. He hasnt prosecuted the black panthers that blocked the polls in philadelphia, he hasnt prosecuted anyone in fast and furious, Benghazi,the IRS for targting certain people, the NSA for their hacking into journalists emails etc…

Justice In Name Only says:

Resign, Holder!!

Under Holder, it’s the Department of Injustice. No justice for Aaron Swartz. No justice for Kim Dotcom. Stephen Heymann and Carmen Ortiz still employed by Holder despite White House petitions to fire them both & despite Aaron Swartz’s blood still dripping from their hands. Don’t even get me started on Joe “MPAA” Biden and Barack “NSA” Obama… yikes!!

David says:

Re: Resign, Holder!!

Not to mention: no justice for Eric Holder, no justice for Keith Alexander, no justice for James Clapper.

Remember: all of those were on record for perjury before congress, Holder himself multiple times.

They should be serving time in jail for that alone, not to mention leading organized crime syndicates using blackmail and extortion for getting financed by the general public without accountability, responsible for a huge part of the moral and financial collapse of the U.S.A.

Christenson says:

A Two-Faced Administration

Holder works for Obama…
a man who said the president needed to be more transparent…
until he became president, then the opposite happened…CIA renditions, drone strikes, Bin Laden assassinated, Guantanamo still open.

Holder can say whatever he wants…and those words are incredibly weak, too….but his actions and those of his approving boss speak much more loudly. Stay away, Glenn!

Glenn, if he wasn’t going to arrest you, he would be talking about the hero you are. He would be apologizing for wanting to extradite Ed Snownden, delaying Miranda.

dcfusor (profile) says:


While AG’s are not all that impressive at what they claim to do, most of them have at least pretended better.

That’s the big difference between now and when I was growing up – they no longer even try to hide how corrupt and incompetent they are.

Check out his “too big to jail” statement re the bankers – this guy’s list is quite long – makes most of the other corrupt AG’s look like pikers. And oh, “Free Jon Corzine”, you know, the guy who made 1.2 billion bucks go poof (with help from Jamie Dimon at JPM) and walked…no one ever even gave a thought to prosecuting someone who was a governor and a campaign bundler for the big zer-O.

Yes, Corzine stole $1.2 bil from account holders at his brokerage firm (largely farmers), admitted it…and is enjoying drinks on his island somewhere…too big to jail?

Knows where the bodies are buried, is more like it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Curious to know what kind of comments might pass muster with Mike. Is Holder supposed to say that Greenwald can’t possibly be prosecuted for anything? What would happen if new information were to come to light showing that Greenwald did something (that we all agree is) criminal? I don’t think that’s likely, but what is an AG supposed to say?

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yes, but when you can only say that you probably won’t prosecute someone who is actually doing their job correctly, which is fairly bad all by itself, but that you actually even have to say it at all – that says a lot of unpleasant things about the U$$A. Couple that with the ‘illegal’ detention of said journalist’s partener at the incredibly likely behest of the U$ Government, and a very disturbing picture starts to build.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...