Be It Resolved State Surveillance is a Legitimate Defence of Our Freedoms?

Is this still a serious question for a public debate? Next Friday, Glenn Greenwald, blogger at The Intercept, and Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of reddit, will debate Alan Dershowitz and former CIA Director Michael Hayden on “The Surveillance State” (which seems to be no question anymore). The Munk Debates are a biannual series of debates on major policy issues run by the Aurea Foundation in Toronto, Canada.

In connection with Edward Snowden’s NSA and GCHQ leaks which had mainly been reported by Greenwald and Laura Poitras, Dershowitz has called Greenwald on CNN “a total phony. He is anti-American, he loves tyrannical regimes, and he did this because he hates America,” see here. Also on CNN, when Greenwald who was interviewed immediately before Dershowitz but had already left the studio, Dershowitz claimed that Greenwald “never met a terrorist he didn’t like.”

“He’s an ideologue. I don’t think he would have revealed this information if it had been critical of Venezuela or Cuba or the Palestinian authority. You know, he doesn’t like America, he doesn’t like Western democracy, he’s never met a terrorist he didn’t like, so he’s a very far-left ideologue that uses this to service his political agenda, not simply to reveal information in a neutral way.”

Would anybody want to debate someone who has called him/her a friend of terrorists? Harvard Law Professor Dershowitz, who has quite a reputation for ad hominem attacks and going after people has probably “challenged” former constitutional and civil rights lawyer Greenwald on the issue.

“It [reporting on Edward Snowden’s leaks] doesn’t border on criminality. It’s right in the heartland of criminality. The statute itself does punish the publication of classified material if you know that it’s classified. And so, Greenwald in my view clearly has committed a felony. And for him to take umbrage 5: ask the question. Now he is right, though, that the government doesn’t usually go after the publisher […] though they could have. […] They’ve made [regarding newspapers publishing the Pentagon Papers, or the Wikileaks case] a discretionary decision to go after the leaker but not the publisher.”

What Hayden or Ohanian can contribute in the debate is unclear. We’ll see whether the event will take even place.

27 April 2014 @ 5:15 pm.
Last modified April 27, 2014.
This entry was posted in Journalism, security, surveillance and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Be It Resolved State Surveillance is a Legitimate Defence of Our Freedoms?

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