Mar 13, 2014
Would Holder Prosecute Greenwald? A Blurry Answer
Posted on Nov 17, 2013
An inquiry by Florida Congressman Alan Grayson compelled Attorney General Eric Holder to state that “any journalist who’s engaged in true journalistic activities is not going to be prosecuted by [the U.S.] Justice Department.” But as civil liberties journalist Glenn Greenwald points out, the assertion is riddled with caveats.
In an email sent to supporters, Grayson’s office wrote that it contacted Holder to learn whether Greenwald’s fears of being detained and prosecuted if he re-enters the United States are justified. Greenwald, an American citizen, lives in Brazil, and has become a major thorn in the side of the U.S. government since he began reporting on documents leaked by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden at the beginning of the summer. Shortly after the reports began, New York Congressman Peter King called for Greenwald’s prosecution.
Greenwald should not be concerned, Grayson wrote, because:
So Grayson asked:
On Friday, The Washington Post reported that Holder’s office indicated the Justice Department does not plan to pursue Greenwald. Holder is quoted as saying: “Unless information that has not come to my attention is presented to me, what I have indicated in my testimony before Congress is that any journalist who’s engaged in true journalistic activities is not going to be prosecuted by this Justice Department.”
“I certainly don’t agree with what Greenwald has done,” he continues. “In some ways, he blurs the line between advocate and journalist. But on the basis of what I know now, I’m not sure there is a basis for prosecution of Greenwald.”
That leaves open the possibility that if Greenwald returned to the U.S. he could be picked up on something Holder would claim he was not aware of at the time he answered Grayson. The Washington post quoted Greenwald’s comment on the response:
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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