‘There are things that should remain secret’: Washington Post, Guardian withhold PRISM slides

Now that Edward Snowden has come forward as the leaker of the details behind the National Security Agency’s PRISM program, people are beginning to line up in two camps; some call him a traitor, while others have declared him a hero for spilling the beans to the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald. There are other players in the mix, though, and the middle ground they’ve chosen to occupy is interesting.

Take Barton Gellman, who reported on Snowden for the Washington Post, for example. The Post, together with the Guardian, published five PowerPoint slides regarding the government’s PRISM program. However, both papers chose to withhold 36 more slides leaked to them by Snowden. That puts both papers, rather than the government, in the position of deciding what the public needs to know, and what it shouldn’t know about the government’s Internet surveillance infrastructure. Is everyone comfortable with that?

The guarantee to which Gellman refers in his tweet is Snowden’s demand that the Post publish all 41 slides within 72 hours of receipt, which the paper has not done. The Guardian also refused to publish the complete set. Why? If you saw them, you’d know, Gellman told the New York Times’ Charlie Savage.

Hang on now … how many people at the Washington Post have seen the complete set of slides? If he’s not going to tell us everything, could Gellman at least suggest a good cell phone carrier, knowing what he apparently knows?

Before anyone rushes to declare Snowden a hero, it’s worth getting a better picture of just how he shopped around the information he hoped to leak, and where it might end up next. China? WikiLeaks? That latter doesn’t seem to think the press has done its job.

  • RightFinShark


    • Clayton Grant


      • OLLPOH # UnBanHana!!!!!!!

        LoL thanks for the completion and tidying it up….

        • Clayton Grant

          I’m not tidying that up. No way!

    • OLLPOH # UnBanHana!!!!!!!


  • Surry918

    So read between the lines people:

    This is just as bad, if not WORSE than we all think. If they are choosing to withhold slides, there has to be some very very deep ‘mining’ going on here.

  • HARP2

    Let me take a guess.
    The NSA did the same thing the IRS did and that means they went after conservative groups.

    • OLLPOH # UnBanHana!!!!!!!


  • Ntr

    It’s clear they’re withholding them to protect the Obama admin. I too believe it’s about them targeting conservatives/conservative groups.

    • digitalPimple

      It could also be targeting of other countries but I have no doubt, based on the levels they went through with the IRS and EPA, that they used every tool at their disposal.

      If they refused to publish them they will get to someone who will no doubt.

  • logicrules

    If one is on a boat, and only the captain knows the destination, the distinction between “passenger” and “prisoner” depends entirely upon the trust afforded the captain.

    Which are we… prisoners, or passengers?

  • Sharon Feddersen

    the Post wouldn’t afford Bush and his administration that leeway for certain.

  • Squirrel!

    Well, Greenwald apparently has tweeted something to the effect that there will be more published in coming days. As to whether he prints it all, we will see, but sounds like there will be more to come from his end.

  • arttie

    At some level this is merely a confirmation of everything we suspected the NSA was doing.

  • Rob

    Why hasn’t Snowden decided to put all of the slides in public since the papers won’t publish?
    You’d think a guy like him would know how the internet works.

  • KansasGirl

    These journalist could only be protecting O and our elected reps.
    Talk about having some nerve, whatever happened to “truth to power”?
    I have a bad feeling how this will end.

  • Markward

    Funny, during the Bush Admin they weren’t so judicious when it came to publishing anything and everything leaked. What a coincidence!

  • http://twitter.com/bodiazrising BodiazRising

    Who are they protecting? Themselves or the POTUS?

  • Jeremy
  • Dennis the Dreamer

    I think Obama’s name on it. Wanna bet?

  • Ronin

    There are some things that should remain secret…

    Like my business

  • KayGee

    OH my goodness the aching hypocrisy! Twitchy derides Wikileaks in the same article as they play the “Truth” card to demand the other 41 slides be released. Whats was that narrative again? Oh yes: WikiLeaks is traitorous because it shamelessly jeopardizes US Nat’ Sec, but we’re totally sure these 44 PRISM slides are only going to hurt the Obama Admin, nothing more, so let’s get them out in the open!!! Are you so sure that the Guardian/WaPo IS NOT trying to stop short of pulling another Scooter Libby, and is simply “playing lapdog” as you’re so heavily implying? In fact, I wonder this: if Snowden had gone to WikiLeaks first, would this whole scoop end up being a “no-touchy” for Twitchy?

  • Right Wired

    The PowerPoint file name was appropriately titled “An Inconvenient Truth”

  • http://github.com/krewn Freelance Philosophy

    When the government has secrets the people become disconnected. What is democracy when disconnected from the demos?