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Vital hearing on U.S. spying goes unnoticed – except by Greenwald (with video) Comment on this post ↓
September 29th, 2013 by Warren Swil

American media slammed

by prize-winning journalist Hersh

Glenn Greenwald has been all over the spying story, trouncing U.S. media in The Guardian. Click image to enlarge.

TWO REPORTS IN The Guardian, the leading newspaper in the U.K., and one in The New York Times have highlighted the inadequacy of the U.S. media to play any significant role in exposing the massive government spying operation brought to light by Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald.
In fact, the reports overseas spotlight an entirely different take on the same event – a Thursday meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – than the one in the leading U.S. newspaper.
And they include a scathing attack on the American press by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh, interviewed by The Guardian. He makes a very convincing case – demonstrated superbly by the two stories about the same event.
Watch a video of the hearing below the fold and judge for yourself.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) slammed U.S. intelligence services at a Senate hearing on Thursday. Click image to enlarge.

IN HIS OPENING REMARKS at the hearing, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) was brutal in his attack on the National Security Agencies and their spying programs.
“The leadership of [the NSA] built an intelligence collection system that repeatedly deceived the American people,” Wyden said.
“Time and time again the American people were told one thing about domestic surveillance in public forums while government agencies did something else in private.”
Speaking to NSA Chief Gen. Keith Alexander, Wyden added:
“Now that these secret violations of the law have become public your agencies face terrible consequences that were not planned for.
“There’s a loss of trust in our intelligence apparatus here at home and with friendly foreign allies and that trust is going to take time to rebuild.”
The consequences are dire, Wyden said. “In my view this loss of trust undermines America’s ability to collect intelligence on real threats. The fact is this could have been avoided if the intelligence agencies had been straight with the American people.”
In its story on the hearing, Senators Push to Preserve N.S.A. Phone Surveillance The New York Times’ Charlie Savage began with:

Glenn Greenwald’s report on the hearing highlights the lap-dog role of the Senate oversight committee on intelligence. Click image to enlarge.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee appears to be moving toward swift passage of a bill that would “change but preserve” the once-secret National Security Agency program that is keeping logs of every American’s phone calls, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who leads the panel, said Thursday.
“After the existence of the program became public by leaks from the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, critics called for it to be dismantled. Ms. Feinstein said her bill would be aimed at increasing public confidence in the program, which she said she believed was lawful.”
Meanwhile, across the Pond, the report by Glenn Greenwald was headlined: Sen. Ron Wyden: NSA ‘repeatedly deceived the American people
“The Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday held a hearing ostensibly to investigate various issues raised about the NSA’s activities. What the hearing primarily achieved instead was to underscore what a farce the notion of Congressional oversight over the NSA is,” Greenwald wrote.

Gen Keith Alexander, chief of the NSA, who spoke at the hearing. Click image to enlarge.

“In particular, the current chair of the Senate Committee created in the mid-1970s to oversee the intelligence community just so happens to be one of the nation’s most steadfast and blind loyalists of and apologists for the National Security State: Dianne Feinstein (D-California).
“For years she has abused her position to shield and defend the NSA and related agencies rather than provide any meaningful oversight over it, which is a primary reason why it has grown into such an out-of-control and totally unaccountable behemoth.”
Greenwald then focuses on Wyden’s testimony and also that of Sen. Mark Warner.
“Democratic Sen. Mark Warner stated the obvious to Gen. Alexander [when he said] “a lot of Americans have lost trust in what you’re doing.”
“But of course they all spent the entire afternoon blaming Snowden and “the media” for this development rather than taking any responsibility themselves,” Greenwald wrote.
The difference between the two accounts of the same proceeding is remarkable and instructive.

BUT IT IS BROUGHT INTO sharp focus by another story published Friday by The Guardian headlined: Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the ‘pathetic’ American media
Lisa O’Carroll reports:

An interview with journalist Seymour Hersh was reported Friday in The Guardian. Click image to enlarge.

“Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix [American] journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90 percent of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.
“He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.”
The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist is reported as saying the Obama administration lies systematically, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.
“It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama],” he declares in an interview with the Guardian.
O’Carroll adds the following observation: “He isn’t even sure if the recent revelations about the depth and breadth of surveillance by the National Security Agency will have a lasting effect.
“He is certain that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “changed the whole nature of the debate” about surveillance. Hersh says he and other journalists had written about surveillance, but Snowden was significant because he provided documentary evidence – although he is skeptical about whether the revelations will change the US government’s policy.”
There are several lessons to be learned from this. The first is that two journalists covering the same event can perceive is completely differently. Whatever happened to “journalistic objectivity?” Don’t ask!
The second is that one needs to consult more than one source for the full story. While Savage did mention the Wyden comments way down in his story, his focus was entirely different from Greenwald’s.
Hirsh’s criticism of U.S. media is pointed and insightful.
Watch the video below for yourself and decide which version of the “truth” you prefer.

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