This is an ongoing controversy, about which I wrote previously here: investigative journalist and terror analyst Patrick Poole of PJ Media reported that a Muslim from the U.S., Saadiq Long, had been arrested in Turkey during a raid on an Islamic State cell. The kicker to the story was that Long had been a media darling and had been hailed by Glenn Greenwald and Hamas-linked CAIR for being placed on the No-Fly List supposedly for no reason, in a manifestation of “Islamophobia.” When the PJ story broke, Greenwald then contended that it was false, that there had been no terror raid, and that Long was just in Turkey looking for work. According to Greenwald, it was just another attempt by “Islamophobes” to defame a Muslim because he was a Muslim (and black, of course).
Unfortunately for Greenwald, however, David Steinberg of PJ Media blistered him with the facts, showing that Poole’s story was entirely accurate. At that point, one might have expected Greenwald to drop the matter: I would never expect a Leftist journalist to retract or admit his error, but he might at least have gone quiet and tried to minimize the damage. Instead, he has come back yet again, claiming anew that Poole and PJ Media, both of which he smears (with a tiresome lack of originality, honest thought or imagination) as “anti-Muslim,” were making false claims. And so Steinberg has come back again here, with a piece that definitively drives a stake into the heart of Greenwald’s false claims.
Don’t be surprised, however, if this undead thing, Greenwald’s false charges, once again stalks through the land, for Greenwald is clearly deeply invested in them, and that illustrates why this whole episode has much larger implications than just the question of whether or not Saadiq Long was arrested as part of an Islamic State cell. The Leftist media, of which Greenwald is a foremost exponent, is unshakably committed to the narrative that the jihad threat has been wildly exaggerated by “right-wing bigots,” and that white Christian men pose a far greater security threat, and that “Islamophobia” is a much bigger and more urgent problem than jihad terror. Saadiq Long was a poster child for those claims, and when it came to light that he had been arrested as part of an Islamic State cell, it didn’t just show up Greenwald and Hamas-linked CAIR for championing him as an innocent victim of “right-wing hate”: it challenged the entire false narrative they have been reinforcing in hundreds and hundreds of articles all over the mainstream media for years.
Here’s a prediction: Glenn Greenwald will keep on insisting that Saadiq Long was an innocent victim twice over, first of “Islamophobic” law enforcement officials who put him on the No-Fly List and then of “Islamophobic” journalists who claimed he had been arrested in a raid on an Islamic State cell, until the day he dies. He will do so with all the adamantine, never-break-character flintiness of the Leftists who ignored the mountains of evidence and insisted for decades that Alger Hiss had never been a Communist spy, but had been framed by Whittaker Chambers and Richard Nixon. He will do so because the alternative is this: he would have to admit not only that he was wrong about Saadiq Long, but that he has been wrong about “right-wing media Islamophobia” and the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat — and thus that a great deal more of his reporting has been wrong than just what he has said about Long, Poole, and PJ Media. Glenn Greenwald could conceivably come in from the cold and become a journalist who was actually committed to accuracy and responsible reporting, but I’m betting he won’t.
“Glenn Greenwald and Pierre Omidyar: Retract and Apologize for Smearing PJ Media, Misleading The Intercept’s Readers,” by David Steinberg, PJ Media, January 28, 2016:
Last November, PJ Media’s Patrick Poole broke the story that Turkey had arrested U.S. citizen Saadiq Long during a raid on an ISIS cell. Poole’s piece brought negative attention upon Glenn Greenwald — the leftist media figure known for having aided Edward Snowden — because in 2013, Greenwald, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, CAIR, and others had reported that Saadiq Long had been unjustly placed on the U.S. “No Fly” list. Greenwald claimed that “Islamophobia” was responsible.
Greenwald chose to respond to Poole’s article with a several thousand-word article making the serious accusation that PJ Media had “fabricated” the story. That there was no terror raid, that Long was simply visiting Turkey with his family to tour and to seek job opportunities, and that Long had actually been held for — of course — being on the “No Fly” list.
We reviewed Poole’s information and sourcing, and examined Greenwald’s response. We found that Poole had reported the evidence exactly as it read.
We also found that the evidence revealed Greenwald had filled his article with subtly misleading and inconsistent claims, which we could only assume were intentional. So we wrote a lengthy, detailed response to Greenwald’s article accusing us of “fabrication.” Robert Spencer, PJ Media contributor and editor of JihadWatch, wrote of our response:
[Leaves] his “fabrication” claim a smoking ruin. This is an extraordinary piece that lays bare the full extent of Greenwald’s dishonest spin and subtle concealing of the truth.
After reviewing the evidence and getting a fuller assessment of the situation, we had reason to believe the further details of Long’s arrest that confirm Poole’s original reporting and contradict Greenwald’s were likely to become public sooner or later. At such a time, Poole would be able to revisit the story and put a firm end to Greenwald’s smear of “fabrication.”
Indeed, on January 2 the Arabic-language outlet Tahrir News was able to confirm Poole’s original report: they wrote that Saadiq Long had been arrested during a raid on an ISIS cell, and that all eight people arrested were suspected of belonging to ISIS. Tahrir News added an additional, and major, detail that Poole had not reported: two of the eight were already known by Turkish authorities as ISIS operatives.
Then, as expected, last week brought further confirmation of Poole’s reporting — this time, it came in the form of a legal brief filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The DOJ brief regarding the Saadiq Long case contained plenty of evidence and details that contradicted Greenwald’s version of events, and completely eliminated Greenwald’s claim of “fabrication” since the DOJ attorneys, through their own channels, had received the exact same information about a terror raid.
For starters, here are some major points from the DOJ brief:
- The Turkish National Police had received a call on their terror tip line about the presence of an ISIS cell in the area, and then conducted a raid.
- Turkish officials could find no record that Long and his family had legally entered Turkey.
- Long was picked up in Gaziantep, which for several years now has been the prime corridor for ISIS traversal between Turkey and Syria. Don’t take our word for it on Gaziantep: numerous U.S. government and international sources, plus the New York Times, the New Yorker, and others, are responsible for that claim. In particular, the New Yorker described U.S. officials portraying a stay by a Westerner in Gaziantep — for even a few hours — as being a mortal danger. The New Yorker added that “Americans in Gaziantep have been warned that ISIS operatives are tracking the activities of Westerners.”
Recall, Greenwald claimed this Westerner, this American citizen, deliberately exposed his wife and kids to this horror for the purposes of tourism and to find new job opportunities.
The DOJ brief not only eliminated Greenwald’s charge of “fabrication,” it rendered Greenwald’s claim of a family vacation/job search — one that would have begun with his family illegally crossing into Turkey, and have ended while accompanied by two known ISIS operatives in ISIStown — absurd beyond any rational analysis.
After the release of the DOJ brief, Poole was finally able to write an article about the now-public details, putting a neat bow on the whole incident.
Note that Poole finishes the article by asking the following about Greenwald:
Will Greenwald and Hayes pretend that our original reporting has not been confirmed, that the conditions and location of his arrest don’t render Long’s tale of job-seeking and Islamophobia not credible to a rational observer?
Poole guessed Greenwald might, when presented with the opportunity to apologize, instead run with option “pretend.”
Folks, I’m here wasting yet another afternoon eliminating a Glenn Greenwald smear of PJ Media, as his latest dispatch leads us to believe that a conscious decision to “pretend” is exactly what happened.
On Monday, Greenwald posted an article titled: “U.S. Air Force Veteran, Smeared as ‘an ISIS Fighter,’ Just Returned to the U.S.”
His article makes zero mention of Poole’s analysis, as if it doesn’t exist elsewhere on the internet where readers of his article looking for further coverage might come across it and discover Greenwald glossed over virtually every detail of the story.
His article makes zero mention of the Tahrir News article, as if his readers couldn’t easily locate that, either.
He only mentions the DOJ brief — but only to link to it, and to provide carefully selected pullquotes that give the reader the impression the remaining 99% or so of the brief exonerates Long, confirms Greenwald’s reporting, and damns PJ Media.
Suppose Intercept readers actually click on that link to the DOJ brief, and read it for themselves? Or do some follow-up on Google to see if the story has spread elsewhere?
Greenwald seems to have taken that risk to his reputation.
Here’s what we can say: we obviously can’t attest to Greenwald having read the entire DOJ brief. We can’t say with any certainty that Greenwald ever read the Tahrir News article.
However, we feel very comfortable informing The Intercept’s readers that we assume Greenwald, in all likelihood, did read Poole’s article last week, was thus exposed to the arguments raised within that referenced those two sources, and then chose to ignore them, concealing them from The Intercept’s readers while he — yet again — smeared PJ Media with the serious charge of “fabrication.”
Why do we feel comfortable saying we think he probably read Poole’s article?
Because when it comes to discretion, he’s learned little from Edward Snowden.
Despite not addressing one word of Poole’s article, Greenwald’s article links to the copy of the DOJ brief posted on …
Patrick Poole’s personal Scribd account.
A link Greenwald likely would never have known existed, much less copied and used, had he not read Poole’s latest article.
As of this writing, the link is still there.
Intercept readers, we’ve emailed Ebay founder and benefactor of The Intercept, Pierre Omidyar, to ask for comment.
Does Omidyar still feel comfortable with Greenwald’s professional integrity and competence after he: smeared PJ Media for “fabricating”; reported on the DOJ brief in a manner no intellectually honest, objective reader might; neglected to mention that the site he was attacking yet again had — days earlier — responded with analysis that effectively rebutted his charges; and that his pleading ignorance of that article now would be a tough sell considering — whoops — his article links to Poole’s personal Scribd account, a link only found elsewhere on the internet within Poole’s piece?
Does Omidyar have any words of defense to offer about Greenwald regarding this incident with PJ Media, considering the millions he has invested in The Intercept puts his own reputation at risk, too?
While we wait to hear back from Omidyar:
Please read below.
We’ve prepared a detailed, extensive list for everyone — but primarily for The Intercept’s readers — of information they would have never been made aware of regarding the Saadiq Long situation and PJ Media’s actual coverage of it had their only source been The Intercept and Glenn Greenwald….
Read that detailed, extensive list here.