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Mike Rogers Tries To Make The Case That Glenn Greenwald Should Be Prosecuted For 'Selling Stolen Material'

from the is-he-insane? dept

Rep. Mike Rogers apparently just can't help but spin wild and ridiculous conspiracy theories. Fresh off his latest attempt to argue that Ed Snowden is a Russian spy -- an argument debunked by just about everyone, including his Senatorial counterpart Dianne Feinstein -- it appears he's now decided to pick up the ridiculously insane thread kicked off (purposefully) last week by Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, hinting that journalists who reported on Ed Snowden are somehow "accomplices" who can be prosecuted.

During a House Intelligence Committee in which many members (from both parties) angrily criticized the intelligence community, Rogers continued to do everything possible to defend them, including pushing the bogus argument that Glenn Greenwald "sold stolen goods" in questions to FBI director James Comey:

REP. ROGERS: You -- there have been discussions about selling of access to this material to both newspaper outlets and other places. Mr. Comey, to the best of your knowledge, is fencing stolen material -- is that a crime?

DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY: Yes, it is.

REP. ROGERS: And would be selling the access of classified material that is stolen from the United States government -- would that be a crime?

DIR. COMEY: It would be. It’s an issue that can be complicated if it involves a news-gathering and news promulgation function, but in general, fencing or selling stolen property is a crime.

REP. ROGERS: So if I’m a newspaper reporter for -- fill in the blank -- and I sell stolen material, is that legal because I’m a newspaper reporter?

DIR. COMEY: Right, if you’re a newspaper report and you’re hocking stolen jewelry, it’s still a crime.

REP. ROGERS: And if I’m hocking stolen classified material that I’m not legally in possession of for personal gain and profit, is that not a crime?

DIR. COMEY: I think that’s a harder question because it involves a news-gathering functions -- could have First Amendment implications. It’s something that probably would be better answered by the Department of Justice.

REP. ROGERS: So entering into a commercial enterprise to sell stolen material is acceptable to a legitimate news organization?

DIR. COMEY: I’m not sure I’m able to answer that question in the abstract.

REP. ROGERS: It’s something we ought to think about, is it not?

DIR. COMEY: Certainly.

REP. ROGERS: And so if there are accomplices in purveying stolen information, shouldn’t we be concerned about that?

DIR. COMEY: We should be concerned about all the facts surrounding the theft of classified information and its promulgation.

REP. ROGERS: Hmm. And interesting that over the -- again, the Munich Conference, where we had individuals tell us that in fact there are individuals who are saying to be in possession of this information who are eager to sell this information to other news organizations, would that be a legitimate exercise on behalf of a reporter?

DIR. COMEY: That’s a question -- now you’re getting from the general to the particular. I don’t want to talk about the case in particular because it’s an active investigation of ours.

REP. ROGERS: It’s an active investigation for accomplices brokering in stolen information?

DIR. COMEY: We are looking at the totality of the circumstances around the theft and promulgation.

Glenn Greenwald is not named, but that's clearly who they are targeting. A few folks have brought up the ridiculous charges of him "selling" the Snowden leaks to news organizations, but that's clearly bullshit. Greenwald has been doing freelance journalism work for a while. Publications pay him in the same way they pay any freelancer. He's not selling any documents at all -- and in fact has shared many of the documents with multiple publications for their own reporting activities.

It's pretty clear that Rogers is continuing his desperate, despicable and downright McCarthy-like arguments in an attempt to create chilling effects and to protect his friends in the intelligence community. You'd think that someone who is supposed to uphold the Constitution would respect the freedom of the press, but Rogers seems to be actively trying to stifle it -- just like his staff did to me last year, when they lied about me and told reporters that they could sue me for defamation.

Rogers has shown time and time again that he's little more than a lumbering bully who will do pretty much anything to protect his friends in the intelligence community, even if that means trampling all over the Constitution. Rogers can push these claims as much as he wants. I think it's unlikely that the DOJ would go anywhere near charging a reporter with "selling stolen goods" in a case like this, because they know that argument would almost certainly fail. That means the only reason Rogers is doing this is to try to scare off people with bluster and threats. Thankfully, most of the people that's targeted at actually understand the law and the Constitution, and take such threats as clear suggestions that they're on the right track. It all makes you wonder, just what does Mike Rogers want to keep hidden so badly?

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  1. identicon
    Glen, 4 Feb 2014 @ 11:29am

    It seems when Rep Peter King ups the crazy with his interviews, Rep Rogers feels the need to match him.

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