Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s report revealed incidences of the FBI abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process. In a report for The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald took aim at both the FBI’s failures as well as the “massive media scandal” that he claims helped cover up the abuses covered in Horowitz’s report.
Greenwald noted the “highly dangerous trend” he believes is taking place in news outlets that are “blindly” accepting the claims of security state agents and employing them in newsrooms to “shape the news.” He notes a 2018 Politico article by Jack Shafer, which highlights that — unlike in years past — America’s top Washington spies are increasingly skipping “ordinary pursuits” in retirement and moving into the public eye.
According to Greenwald, operatives from the FBI, CIA, and NSA have always attempted to “infiltrate and shape domestic news,” but they traditionally did it covertly. Now, Greenwald says, their purported manipulation is “all out in the open.”
“It’s virtually impossible to turn on MSNBC or CNN without being bombarded with former Generals, CIA operatives, FBI agents and NSA officials who now work for those networks as commentators and, increasingly, as reporters.”
As an example of what this means for news reporting, Greenwald pointed to the finding in Horowitz’s report that the FBI’s FISA warrants to wiretap former Trump campaign official Carter Page were based on Christopher Steel’s dossier — a narrative that leading national security reporters claimed to be false prior to the report’s release. According to the report, Steele’s dossier played a “central and essential role” in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI’s decision to seek a FISA order. It also revealed that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe directed investigators toward the dossier after the DOJ could not find probable cause to put Page under surveillance.
I'm sorry to say – genuinely – that the contempt in which the media is held, as dangerous as that is, is fully deserved because of the type of behavior you're displaying now. I don't blame people for losing all faith and trust in our profession with things like this: pic.twitter.com/URbBP8HYbU
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 12, 2019
“The narrative manufactured by the security state agencies and laundered by their reliable media servants about these critical matters was a sham, a fraud, a lie,” Greenwald wrote, suggesting that both the United States media and parts of the security state have decided that “subverting” Trump’s presidency is a top priority and the means to get there are “justified because the ends are so noble.”
Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and was asked whether he believed former FBI Director James Comey was “vindicated” by the report, as Comey suggested in his op-ed in The Washington Post. In response, Horowitz said the activities outlined in his report “don’t vindicate anybody who touched this FISA,” per Breitbart.