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Thursday 7 November 2013

Telegraph’s Spy Compliance Shame

After the paper ran an uncritical piece quoting Alex Carlile, a known apologist and conduit for GCHQ, attacking the deeply subversive Guardian and warning that leaks of the material copied by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were damaging (note unconditional use of the word) “National Security”, is was obvious to anyone who needed to know that the Telegraph was shilling for the spooks.
GCHQ - getting their story into the Telegraph

So it was inevitable that when David Miranda, partner of former Guardian man Glenn Greenwald, challenged his detention – and the confiscation of possessions – at Heathrow Airport while in transit from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro, the Tel would once again provide spook-friendly copy, and once again the hack being instructed to spray his credibility up the wall is home affairs correspondent David Barrett.

The lamentable quality of his journalism in this case is so glaring, one wonders why he bothered. “Disclosures about Britain's spying capabilities based on highly classified documents stolen by Edward Snowden have caused ‘real and serious damage’ to national security, the Government has insisted” he tells, but that’s not what Oliver Robbins, from the Cabinet Office, actually said.

Here are Robbins’ words, from the same article: “The Government is extremely concerned about damaging reporting attributed to the highly classified material stolen by Edward Snowden ... There was and continues to be great concern about the potential harm which could result from the publication of the material appropriated by Mr Snowden and held by others at the time of Miranda's stop”.

And here’s another: “Lawyers for David Miranda are claiming the police and security services breached the law when they stopped him and seized nine electronic devices which contained 58,000 secret documents”. How would anyone know there were “58,000 secret documents”, given that later on we see “Police are understood to be still working to decrypt the files seized from Mr Miranda”?

Then Barrett really sells the pass in a later piece, titled “Edward Snowden leaks could help paedophiles escape police, says government”. Wait, what? What was all that about “National Security”? Here’s the claim: “Paedophiles may escape detection because highly-classified material about Britain’s surveillance capabilities have been published by the Guardian newspaper, the government has claimed”.

And what did Robbins really say? “The disclosures risked making it easier for ‘paedophiles to cover their tracks online’ ... [he] did not go into detail about how paedophiles would benefit from the Guardian’s stories about the security services”. By now, the bullshit detector is ringing long and loud. David Barrett’s copy is utterly and shamefully inadequate as journalism. But he has at least followed orders.

The spooks will be happy with their approved conduit. So that’s all right, then.


rob said...

If paedophile activity was one of the police and spooks main concerns what exactly have they been doing over the past forty years or so given the recent revelations?

I could hazard a guess but I couldn't possibly comment?

Stephen said...

Just terrorism and paedophiles? He could have brought drugs in as well, and then he'd have had a full house. Shoddy.