The Intercept's "New Snowden" Is Not the Newsworthy Detail

A new, disturbing, and vitally important report from The Intercept has revealed documents proving that more than 40 percent of the U.S.'s Terrorist Screening Database, or 280,000 people, had "no recognized terrorist group affiliation." This is news. The fact that it came from a mysterious "New Snowden" is not. Right?

Like a golden retriever staring intently at his master's finger, which admittedly maybe smells of bacon, instead of retrieving the ball that finger points to, a cute but frustrating preponderance of American reporters have focused on the juicy speculative fragrance of a Hot New Whistleblower rather than face, contextualize, or report this new scandal. (Is this new leaker a boyish young man? Does he have a lithe dancer as his girlfriend too?) A representative, but not exhaustive sampling:

  • The Verge "US officials say someone else is leaking documents in the wake of Snowden"
  • Vanity Fair "There's a "New Snowden" Leaking National Security Information"
  • Breitbart "Snowden 2.0? Another Mole Disclosing US Government Secrets"
  • Business Insider "Glenn Greenwald Won't Say Whether He Has A New Snowden"
  • Bloomberg View "Snowden Copycat Is No Surprise" (Cool. Thanks!)
  • New York magazine "The U.S. Government Has a New Edward Snowden on Its Hands"
  • The New York Post "Another national security leaker may be spilling government secrets"
  • Politico "New leaker exposing national security docs"
  • CNN "Does Snowden's celebrity breed copycats?" (!!!)
  • The Atlantic Wire "U.S. Officials Say There's a Second Snowden Leaking Security Documents"
  • Newsweek "The US Government Has Another Leaker After Snowden"
  • Time "New Post-Snowden Leaks Reveal Secret Details of US Terrorist Watch List"
  • The Hill "A second leaker in addition to Snowden?"
  • The Daily Caller (heh) "Government Officials Suspect New Intelligence Leaker Revealing US Secrets"
  • The Daily Beast "Government: There's a New Snowden"
  • Mediaite "US Officials: There's A New Person Leaking Classified Documents"

Only two publications currently seem to have ran with the actual news in the story, National Journal and The Hindu.

You know how, sometimes, when you have something important to do, you sometimes start deleting promotional emails from your inbox instead? Or do something semi-productive like clean the fridge, or drive all the way to the Michaels to pick up some puffy paint and blank sweatshirts for a gift you have been meaning to make for your mom or grandmom?

This is sort of like America's vaunted Fourth Estate doing just that.

Now, imagine that the important thing that you are ignoring by driving an hour to the Michaels is that your baby is dying of fucking pneumonia.

Speaking about the evidence found by The Intercept, Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project said, "We're getting into Minority Report territory when being friends with the wrong person can mean the government puts you in a database and adds DMV photos, iris scans, and face recognition technology to track you secretly and without your knowledge."

That sounds pretty dangerous and important to know, yes? As a voting citizen in an ostensible democracy?

"The fact that this information can be shared with agencies from the CIA to the NYPD, which are not known for protecting civil liberties, brings us closer to an invasive and rights-violating government surveillance society at home and abroad," Shamsi added.

Please go read this important new article at the Intercept.

[Snowden playing card gif via flipswitchMANDERING]

To contact the author, email matthew.phelan@gawker.com, pgp public key.