Canadian Gov't Responds To Spying Revelations By Saying It's All A Lie And Calling Glenn Greenwald A 'Porn Spy'
from the wtf? dept
We’ve seen various government officials act in all sorts of bizarre ways after revelations of illegal spying on their own people (and foreigners), but none may be quite as bizarre as the response from the Canadian government, following the release late last night from the CBC (with help from Glenn Greenwald) that they’re spying on public WiFi connections. That report had plenty of detail, including an internal presentation from the Canadian electronic spying agency, CSEC. In the Canadian Parliament today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary, Paul Calandra, decided to respond to all of this by by insisting it’s all a lie and then flat out insulting both the CBC and Glenn Greenwald.
Mr. Speaker, last night the CBC aired a misleading report on Canada’s signals intelligence agency, Communications Security Establishment Canada. These documents were stolen by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden and sold to the CBC by Glenn Greenwald. Canada’s signals intelligence agency has been clear that the CBC story is incorrect, yet the CBC went ahead and published it anyway.
Here are the facts: Before the story aired, CSEC made clear that nothing in the stolen documents showed that Canadians’ communications were targeted, collected, or used, nor that travellers’ movements were tracked.
In addition, CSEC’s activities are regularly reviewed by an independent watchdog who has consistently found it has followed the law.
Why is furthering porn-spy Glenn Greenwald’s agenda and lining his Brazilian bank account more important than maintaining the public broadcaster’s journalistic integrity?
Okay. Where to start? First off, the whole idea that Greenwald “sold” the documents to the CBC is just ridiculous. Every so often we’ve seen others raise this kind if idiotic argument and it’s just silly. Greenwald — like any other freelance journalist — gets paid to do journalism. No one is paying him for the documents. They’re paying him to work as a journalist, which, you know, is what he does. The attempt to portray it as selling the documents is just a completely bogus smear.
Second, for all the CSEC’s denials, note that Calandra makes no effort whatsoever to explain what’s in the actual (fairly damning) document that the CBC published. Instead, he’s playing games with words — games that you should be quite used to if you’ve followed the infamous NSA dictionary. Note that he says that none of Canadians’ “communications were targeted, collected, or used.” There are a few problems with that. No one’s talking about their communications here, but rather details of their locations and the kinds of devices they were using, which is exactly what’s shown in the powerpoint presentation.
Next, the fact that the CSEC’s activities are regularly reviewed is somewhat meaningless. Was this program reviewed? By whom? What did they find? As we’ve seen in the US, the claims of independent oversight of the NSA turned out to not mean very much once people looked at the details.
And then… there’s that last paragraph. First of all, what is a “porn spy” anyway, and how is Glenn Greenwald one of them? The word makes no sense at all. When government officials are talking gibberish, it does not bode well for them. Maybe he’s trying to repeat the smear from a former US government official who bizarrely called Snowden an espionage pornographer, which made no sense, but makes at least marginally more sense than a “porn spy.” And, yes, Glenn Greenwald lives in Brazil. Saying “Brazilian bank account” makes it seem, again, as if there’s something nefarious going on here, rather than a well-known, accomplished and celebrated freelance reporter who happens to live in Brazil, doing some work for the CBC.
If this is the Harper government’s official “response” to these revelations, they’re just asking for trouble. This is so over-the-top silly and defensive, without even remotely responding to the actual issues, that it suggests that Harper has no legitimate response, knows that more is probably on the way, and has resorted to throwing out nonsensical insults at reporters.